As I look back on my gymnastics career, I realize that I gained much more than just trophies and ribbons. For a long time, gymnastics was my life. I lived and breathed gymnastics on a daily basis, and I wouldn’t change any of it if I had the chance.
As an adult looking back on my adolescent and teenage gymnastics years, I realize I learned much more from gymnastics than just how to land a back handspring on the beam. Truth be told, there are ten life lessons I learned from gymnastics. I will share each of them with you below.
Respect is a deep admiration for someone or something. In gymnastics, respect is bred into you from the moment you walk on the gym floor. I admired my coaches, the older athletes, my teammates, the judges, and even the moms and dads that filled the bleachers during practices and competitions.
As an adult, I understand respect. Better yet, I know who deserves my respect and who or what doesn’t.
Anyone that has ever taken a gymnastics class will tell you that discipline is a pre-requisite of gymnastics. Without incredible self-control, a gymnast will not make it in this sport.
Even as a toddler in gymnastics, you learn discipline. You learn to wait your turn, to listen when being spoken to, and you realize that without proper control, you won’t become the athlete, or person you want to be.
Some people are blessed with incredible balance, and others truly have to work at it. Without gymnastics, I would have never concentrated on improving my balance. In my adult life, the balancing skills I learned on the beam and at the gym have improved my agility.
In gymnastics, I learned how to balance more than just my body. I also learned how to balance family, friends, school, and other interests. Balancing my life as an adult is easier because I learned how to do it as a child.
Consistency is important in life and in gymnastics. The best gymnasts are consistently at practice. These dedicated athletes also put in consistent work to maintain their bodies and their routines.
The same goes for adult employees. The best employees put in great work every time and always show up. These individuals know the only way to get better and move up is to work continuously on themselves.
Gymnastics isn’t easy! Without determination, gymnasts wouldn’t be able to go on to greater skills. Through determination a round-off, back handspring turns into a back tuck, and a front hip circle turns into a kip.
The lessons I learned in the gym allowed me to be a better person as an adult. I know through hard work and determination, I will get to where I want to be just like I did in the gym.
Many people outside the world of gymnastics think it’s primarily an individual sport. While that is true in some aspects, teamwork is still an incredibly important part of the game.
Some of my teammates from my childhood are still some of my best friends today. These ladies supported me when I was afraid to try a difficult dismount off the beam when I was 10 and are still there for me today. In gymnastics, your teammates are your best friends and your competition at times.
Being in gymnastics made me responsible for myself at a very young age. I handled putting in the work at the gym. If I didn’t, I didn’t excel. I was also responsible for getting my school work done, so I could go to gymnastics and responsible for how I behaved with my teammates and my coaches.
Learning to handle myself at a young age helped me become a responsible teenager and an even better adult.
Ripped hands and sprained ankles are common occurrences in gymnastics. No one would gladly go to the gym knowing and accepting these injuries could occur with a dedication to the sport.
My dedication to gymnastics expanded over an enormous chunk of my life and learning to be dedicated to something made me a more decisive adult.
In a world where a fast food chain is on every corner, and healthy food is more expensive than junk food, it’s easy for kids to lose sight of their diet. As a child, gymnastics forced me to make healthy food choices.
No matter how much I wanted to eat a cupcake before gymnastics practice, I didn’t. It wasn’t that I really didn’t want it, but I knew if I did, I would have heartburn and risk puking after tumbling practice.
Instead, I made great food choices (with the help of my parents). Not only did these good food choices help me maintain my weight and build muscle, but also encouraged me to maintain a healthy diet as an adult.
Lastly, my favorite life lesson from gymnastics is integrity. When I hit the floor, I knew I was going to put on a good routine. I had put in the work, never cheated, and was proud of how far I came.
Whether I landed on the podium or not was up to the judges, but I always knew I put in the work to get there. I also learned how to lose and be happy for my teammates, even when they beat me.
Did you learn an important life lesson from gymnastics? Feel free to share in the comments below.Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo