Let your child check out the amazing sport of gymnastics at camp this summer. Many of today’s summer camps feature well-organized gymnastics programs, geared to every child from novices to rising stars. This fun yet disciplined sport not only boosts strength and coordination, but can improve confidence, teamwork skills and self-esteem. As every kid who loves to run, race and jump will tell you, gymnastics is also loads of fun, and summer camp’s easy-going, supportive atmosphere is the perfect place to take on those first somersaults.
Like so many youth sports, gymnastics promotes important lifelong healthy habits. Getting out there and running, jumping and tumbling is so much fun, youngsters won’t even realize they’re setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy living. Whether they remain in gymnastics programs as they grow up, or branch out to other sports or physical activities, kids learn the joy of movement on the mat, the horse and the balance beam. These youngsters are not only less likely to become obese, but they are generally happier, healthier and perform better in school. Learning different movements and combining them into routines leads to increased agility, flexibility and body control. Kids who take part in active sports like gymnastics are even found to sleep better!
Coordination and Strength
Young gymnastics build up a superior range of motor and coordination skills, learning to use different parts of the body in various ways. These strengths and skills also translate well to other sports and to overall physical well-being. Improved muscle strength, confidence and power promote lean, toned muscles, excellent balance and improved posture. The weight-bearing component of gymnastics means it also helps build strong, healthy bones, reducing the risk of bone loss conditions like osteoporosis later in life.
Super Safe and Super Fun
Gymnastics is the perfect activity for kids who love to run and tumble. Performing “tricks” in the gymnastics gym has been found safer than attempting similar stunts in the backyard. With soft landing areas, full overhead spotting belts, bungee systems and foam pit technology, kids who take part in gymnastics with certified instructors learn each move in the safest way possible. Improved safety designs are credited with the 25 percent drop in gymnastics injuries between 1990 and 2005.
Gymnastics, like most other group sports, is a great way to get to know other kids with a similar interest, fostering friendships and increasing independence. Gymnastics can be a complex sport and kids need to learn how to listen, take turns and respect others. Although the sport is largely based on individual performance, classes both at summer camp and at home are run in groups, giving youngsters valuable social time and helping hone skills like patience and cooperation. They are also more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle, make wise eating choices and meet the American Heart Association’s recommendation that children engage in about an hour of physical activity every day.
Self-Confidence and Discipline
Learning gymnastics takes a lot of discipline and determination and children learn fairly quickly that perseverance and hard work pay off. Whether learning the right way to do a forward roll or finally mastering a tough math concept, perseverance is a quality that will serve kids well all their lives. Safety issues require that gymnastics programs follow strict rules of conduct and learning to follow these rules reinforces the importance of safety and respect toward others.