YWCA New Britain

5 Reasons to Register for Gymnastics Class Today

By Rebecca Mirando

IMG_2289Growing up, my parents signed me up for a few sports before settling on gymnastics. Gymnastics was a lot of work, however looking back now the reward is a great deal more. The skills and abilities learned from gymnastics at a young age will not only benefit your child now, but are also beneficial and useful as an adult. I believe that sports and/or physical activity are an important learning tool that can be transferred to every day life.

Here are five reasons you should sign your child up for gymnastics classes today:

Self-confidence: In gymnastics, skills are learned in progression. Like building blocks, one skill builds on another.  Athletes start with basic skills and then, once mastered, increase difficulty based on their individual abilities. By using this philosophy, children gain confidence as they progress and accomplish new and harder skills. There are many new and challenging skills and experiences an athlete faces in this sport. Gymnastics allows the child to develop their own strategies, with the help of their instructor, to overcome their fears and try new things, thus helping them to build confidence in their own abilities. This increased self-confidence will transfer to all other aspects of the child’s life.

Strength and Flexibility: In gymnastics, body weight is the most common way to increase total body strength. Every muscle group is used on a daily basis in this sport; whether the athletes are holding themselves up on the bar or trying to perform a handstand. Gymnastics is also a great way to increase flexibility. Gymnasts stretch every practice and are known for their enhanced flexibility. Not only are both strength and flexibility helpful when playing other sports, they are also important to everyday life. Whether you are kicking a soccer ball or walking down the street, muscular strength is needed in order perform both tasks. An increased amount of flexibility is also a great way to reduce the risk of injury.

Social Skills: At each level of gymnastics athletes learn different social skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. From a young age, athletes learn tasks such as standing in line, waiting their turn, listening to the instructor, working together, and being respectful towards others.

Better Long-Term Exercise Habits: The American Heart Association recommends children get 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Gymnastics is an outlet that can help children get to the recommended amount of exercise that many kids today do not reach. It is also important to realize that there is a moderate-to-strong correlation between physical activity as a child and physical activity as an adult. This means that a child who is active tends to become a more active adult.

Motor Skills & Coordination: Gymnastics helps develop a sense of body awareness and coordination. The sport provides kids with the skills to interact with their environment in ways that other children cannot. While rolling, flipping, or hanging on the bars, these athletes learn to understand their body movements and how to manipulate their bodies into the proper positions. Walking on the balance beam requires concentration and the ability to stay tight and place each foot in front of the other without falling. This single task incorporates almost every part of the body.

So there you have it!  Five reasons why you should register your child for gymnastics today!