Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Is Gymnastics Right for Your Child?

Have you ever wondered if gymnastics is the right sport for your child? With some children competing and training for high level competitions as early as age six or seven, it can become a very intense part of a child’s life. However, most kids who take part in gymnastics reap the benefits of improved coordination, physical health and self-confidence without infringing on other important parts of childhood.

Active Benefits

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes kids benefit from the increased activity and social outlets provided by organized sports. Gymnastics can help youngsters develop in a broad spectrum of areas including strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, speed and discipline. A good gymnastics program can help your little one develop physically while staving off the specters of childhood obesity and other health issues that can accompany an inactive lifestyle. Benefits of childhood exercise programs can last into adulthood by encouraging a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease throughout life.

Does Your Youngster Love to Race and Tumble?

Kids who just naturally seem to enjoy jumping, racing and tumbling may take to gymnastics right away. It gives them the chance to do what they love while experiencing the joy and increased confidence that comes from perfecting new skills and “tricks”. Learning new physical skills helps youngsters develop both muscles and brains in a healthy way and increases self-esteem.

Social Time

Does your child like to socialize? Because gymnastics lessons are usually run in groups, they provide a healthy social outlet for kids. They learn to work as a group and to listen to their instructor and classmates. Kids who take part in gymnastics may also sleep better and show a better ability to handle any physical or emotional challenges in their lives. Being in this type of class improves skills such as listening, taking turns and respecting others while still allowing kids to have fun, become more independent and make new friends.

When Can a Child Start Gymnastics?

Kids can start gymnastics around three or four, when they have the necessary motor skills and balance and are old enough to listen and follow instructions. Younger children’s classes are usually relaxed and informal, with kids romping around a bar, ball pit, trampoline, tunnels and balance beam, often to the tune of lively music. Always be sure your child has a qualified instructor.

Improved Safety Equipment

When performed in the controlled environment of a gymnastics gym, the sport is safer than when attempted in the back yard. Gymnastics gyms have soft areas for landing and today’s equipment has been re-designed to make it safer for gymnasts. Overall gymnastics injuries have dropped 25% between 1990 and 2005, mostly due to improved safety measures including redesign of the horse and thicker safety mats. Training safety equipment includes full overhead spotting belts, bungee systems and ramped up foam pit technology, and kids practicing gymnastics with a certified instructors learn how to perform each maneuver in the safest possible way.

High-Level Kid Sport Issues

Like all high-level sports, when gymnastics competing becomes the center of a child’s life, he or she may miss out on a normal childhood. Training and competing take precedence over other activities and can even harm academic work. No sport or hobby should “be” a child’s life, just a part of a normal, balanced routine. Kids should have time for family, friends, school and other hobbies and activities.
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