gymnasticsgirlsWhat is it about Old Man Winter that tends to drive our kids indoors and turn them into couch potatoes? Falling temperatures and shorter daylight hours may be the culprit, but some of the best sports don’t require warm outdoor conditions.
Gymnastics offers some of the greatest lessons in life and fitness, and luckily for frost phobic kiddoes it takes place indoors. One hundred and two Americans have earned an Olympic medal in the sport, making the USA second in the world for overall Olympic medal count to date.
Here to share his thoughts on why 5,273,000 Americans annually hop, spring and jump their way through gymnastics routines is Colorado based Mike Smith, operator of one of the Nation’s 4,000 clubs in the USA.
So how exactly does a child benefit from taking part in club level gymnastics?
1. Builds self-confidence: Through having to try things over and over again to obtain mastery, a kid develops the need to set goals and then by reaching them self confidence in their abilities grows.
2. Builds self-discipline: Through having to follow directions and repeat drills to obtain skills, kids learn that they need to keep trying.
3. Builds strong bodies: Gymnastics is a very demanding sport as you are always trying to defy gravity. And, you use every muscle in the body (including facial muscles through lots of smiling!) especially the core of the body. Thus, after time spent in gymnastics kids are better able to handle the rigors of other sports.
4. Builds strong minds: Balance requires coordination of both sides of the body and there is research to show that because of this, gymnastics helps kids to develop more connections between the two sides of the brain. Therefore, gymnasts are generally better at academic subjects and have an easier time switching between the artistic and analytical sides of the brain.
5. Builds interpersonal relationships: While gymnasts perform individual events, it is still a team sport! Gymnasts are encouraged to help and support each other from the youngest participants to the oldest. Since many of them participate for many years lasting friendships are formed.

For more information take a peek at www.usagymn.org or for more statistical information on long term academic benefits; www.futureofgymnastics.org

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