If you think gymnastics is only suitable for professional athletes and not for children, you are probably wrong. Kids can benefit significantly by practising gymnastics whether they make it to the big league or not. Organised sports offer children an excellent opportunity for physical, mental, and social development and gymnastics is one such artistic sport that can help your child in many ways.
What is Gymnastics?
Gymnastics is an all-encompassing exercise program that incorporates strength, speed, power, coordination, flexibility, and balance. It is a demanding sport that requires immense perseverance and skills. Although it is advisable to start early, many children start in their teens and continue through college. The disciplinary influence of gymnastics extends beyond the gym and into the lifestyle of children.
Benefits of Gymnastics for Children
There are plenty of benefits to this sport and for parents wondering if gymnastics is good for my child; here is a list that will tell you the benefits of gymnastics for children:
1. Gymnastics stimulates congnitive growth
The left side of the brain is responsible for analytical thinking, whilst the right side is for creativity and visualisation. To put it simply, your left brain would be the scientist and your right brain, the artist! In gymnastics, both sides of the brain are engaged. When toddlers are exposed to activities in gymnastics, the whole brain is exercised, encouraging rounded thinking.
2. Lays Down a Foundation for Athletics
The rigorous training of gymnastics focuses on all aspects of sports from physical to psychological. It builds strength and flexibility on the physical levels and contributes to mental toughness which is a must-have in athletics.
3. Builds Excellent Coordination of Mind and Body
The benefits of gymnastics for preschoolers are that it helps build robust spatial awareness. Unlike non-gymnasts, children who are into gymnastics aren’t as startled by a sudden imbalance in any activity they are involved in. They are also able to apply these acquired reflexes during difficult situations in everyday life.
4. Develops Sportsmanship
Although gymnastics is an individual sport, it involves a group learning environment. It develops sportsmanship and positive relationship in children as they cheer for their peers and learn about healthy competition. It also helps them hone their social skills by interacting with adults and other children who are at different levels of proficiency.
5. Instils an understanding of discipline
Discipline is everything in gymnastics. Children will have to put work into physical movements every week or every day to perform certain feats. In this process, they learn the importance of focus, dedication, and hard work.
6. Builds Confidence
The sense of accomplishment gained from mastering physical feats goes a long way in building confidence and a sense of self-esteem in children. As they advance, they learn to tackle more significant challenges methodically and achieve their goals. Children also learn to face their fears and talk openly about it to the coach to find a way to overcome it.
7. Helps Them Set Goals
Athletic ability cannot be built overnight; it requires dedicated efforts to fine-tune the mind and the body. This means learning to set goals and working continuously to achieve them. In the process, children learn how to manage stress and stay calm under pressure.
8. Gymnastics is Fun
All kids naturally love activities that involve swinging, tumbling, jumps, flips, and momentary free-fall. Not many activities are this exhilarating and children are drawn to it. Regular classes also keep their spirits high by releasing endorphins or the happy chemicals in their brains. Gymnastics for an autistic child is a great way to get these children out to play and socialise.
9. Increases social awareness and benefits
Gymnastics classes encourages participation from all within the class, and whilst focusing on the individual, allows children to be surrounded by other children. This is important in creating a social environment which is fun, new and challenging for all. Encouraging social interactions which are well monitored from the onset is crucial to social behaviour and inclusivity as children get older.
When Should a Child Start Gymnastics?
There are no hard and fast rules with regards to the right age to start gymnastics. Even gyms do not have rigid age limits. Some have classes for children as young as 18 months, and some start from 8 or 12 years. Join Now
Are There any Drawbacks or Cons of Gymnastics?
Although gymnastics is highly beneficial, like all demanding sports, it comes with its drawbacks. Some of the cons of this sport include:
Gymnastics due to the nature of the physical routines involved has the highest rate of injuries among all the sports played by kids.
2. Affects them Emotionally
High expectation from parents, coaches, or peer pressure can take an emotional toll on children when they are unable to reach the advanced motor skills needed even before they are ready for it. When they are not able to live up to their expectation, they could feel frustrated and left behind.
3. Change of Goals
When high-level sports become a way of life, children miss out on a healthy childhood which involves many other aspects. Paediatricians say that children who are into high-level sports have less childhood-oriented goals and more adult goals which can interfere with their personalities.
Signing your child up for gymnastics is one of the greatest gifts of love that you could give them! Our hearts FLIP for gymnastics!