Perhaps you are a parent who sees the young age that most kids start training in the sport of gymnastics and are wondering to yourself what will happen if your kid decides that they want to do a different sport when they get older. Or, maybe you already have another sport in mind that simply does not have classes that start at as young of an age as gymnastics does.
Either way, gymnastics is an amazing sport with tons of benefits that can help you for the rest of your life. Even if you are an adult who is more interested in a different sport already, you will find that some, if not most, of these benefits will apply to you.
1. Gymnastics Helps With You Mentally
Believe it or not, gymnastics is a great way to work on your attention span. This is because it requires a lot of focus, especially as you take your floor maneuvers and put them on the balance beam. This focus that you have to have when doing those things helps to gradually increase your ability to focus in much the same way that a regular exercise will help to increase the abilities of any other muscle that you have.
Another thing is that having to work through the mental process of how to do a certain difficult maneuver is something that forces your brain to work in much the same way as solving a puzzle which also uses your mind. As with any other sort of puzzle, the more you practice it the easier they become to solve.
Having to solve these mental puzzles in gymnastics is great practice for solving the mental puzzles that you will need to solve in other sports. For example, picture yourself on the football field and your goal is to get the football to one of your team members past the members of the competing team. Though you may have had a plan for this, if that plan has somehow gone wrong then coming up with a solution as quickly as possible could mean the difference between winning and losing the game.
2. Gymnastics Helps You To Be Disciplined
Discipline is one of the key factors in gymnastics and it comes in a variety of forms in this sport. One of these forms is that fact that new things are rarely if ever done right the first time you do them. While it is entirely possibly to kick a soccer ball into the net the first time you ever try it, doing a perfect cartwheel on the very first try without ever having done it before is practically impossible.
This is a very good thing though, since it teaches your subconscious that errors at first are perfectly natural, and even to be expected. In turn, you learn that if you want to be able to do something that you have to take the time you need in order to work at it. This involves doing gymnastics drills where you do the same movements over and over again.
While doing these drills can get to the point where they feel very boring and tedious after a while, doing them anyway will help give you the mental discipline that you need in order to make yourself do the drills that you will need to do in whatever other sport you choose to do.
Gymnastics also helps you to be disciplined in the area of self control, not only in making yourself do the drills and things that you know that you need to do, but also in helping teach you to live healthier with what you eat. This is something that it is important to develop with any sport that you choose to do.
3. Gymnastics Improves Your Coordination And Balance
Coordination is one of the most important parts of gymnastics, and it is also something that is used in virtually every other sport. Perhaps the balance beam is the gymnastics event that calls for the most amount of coordination since one false step that is ever so slightly off to the side can result in you falling off of the beam.
In addition to coordination, gymnastics also has a number of benefits when it comes to helping you learn to have a very good sense of balance. One of the key features of gymnastics is that gymnast learn is to not react with the “startle response” when they come to be off-balanced for any reason.
The startle response is what happens when you feel yourself to be off-balanced and you tense up and jerk yourself in some way in an effort to regain your balance. Oftentimes this is the worst thing that you can do, however, and can result in you still falling – though perhaps in a different way than you otherwise would have.
As a gymnast, on the other hand, you quickly learn not to do this, especially on the balance beam, as you learn ways in which to right your balance. The way that you do this is through constantly having to be right on the border of balanced and imbalanced. This gives you a really good sense of balance as you learn better how it works in your body and therefore learn better how to fix it if your balance is off.
This balance can be very useful almost any other sport, even ones like soccer for which you need to be able to balance yourself well as you kick the ball. For the same reason it is also needed to have coordination for every ball you hit or move you make in any other sport.
4. Gymnastics Helps You To Be Stronger And More Flexible
There is no doubt when it comes to the question of if gymnasts are flexible or not, however fewer people think of gymnasts as also being quite strong. If you pause for even a moment to consider it though, you will doubtless see that it takes a lot of strength in order to be able to lift yourself up into a vertical position on the bars.
While the bars take a lot of upper-body strength, the leaps and jumps that you have to do take a lot of lower-body strength. This strength can be useful in any number of ways in virtually any other sport that there is. This can include hitting that baseball harder or throwing it further, having more muscles needed for swimming faster, or even kicking that football harder.
Not only does this help to make your muscles stronger, but gymnastics also helps your bones to be somewhat stronger as well. Having strong bones is an asset to any other sport that you might choose to do, if for no other reason than the fact that stronger bones will be harder to break. This means that you will be far less likely to have to miss participating in any practices or to take any time off due to breaking anything.
The flexibility that you learn in gymnastics is undeniable, between the split leaps and the backbends it can sometimes seem like a gymnast’s body is made out of rubber. While this flexibility is perhaps less useful to other sports than the strength is, there are still plenty of things that make this flexibility useful as well, if for no other reason than because flexible muscles and joints will be harder for you to pull or tear, which is something that can be a danger in almost any sport.
5. Gymnastics Skills Can Be Used Elsewhere
Many of the skills and maneuvers that are learned in gymnastics are virtually the same as the skills that you learn in a few other sports. This means that you not only are getting to take advantage of the other benefits of learning gymnastics, but you are also essentially getting a huge head start in what you need to learn for other sports. While you might not need to know how to do the splits in order to play soccer, there are actually parts of gymnastics that can be a big help even to this sport.
For example, one of the things that you do learn how to do in gymnastics is how to make your kicks as powerful as you can. This is to help you gain momentum in order for you to be able to kick your feet up into the air to do various flips, and you have to be precise with these kicks in order to land correctly. Even though you will not be doing flips out on the soccer field, it is plain to see that being able to kick hard and precisely can be a huge help in this sport.
And that is not even mentioning the other sports that are very similar to gymnastics. Ballet for one example is very close to the gymnastics floor routine, and in fact many gymnasts also train in ballet in order to add more grace to their floor routine. Some of the moves that are used for both are the splits and the split leaps just to name a couple of them.
Competitive cheerleading is perhaps even more closely related to gymnastics to ballet is, and includes many of the flips as well as the leaps in the routines that are done. In fact, being able to do combination flips is actually a large part of competitive cheerleading and is something that is also really important in gymnastics as well.
Another sport that you might not have thought of as being quite similar is that of diving. All of those different dismounts from both the balance beam and the bars can be easily translated and done off of the end of a diving board, giving you a huge head start in a number of different ways in this sport.
And, really, those are just a few examples and are only the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many different ways that gymnastics skills can be used elsewhere. Perhaps you may or may not have noticed those swinging bars that are high in the circus tent, but the next time you see what gymnasts do on the bars maybe you can draw a few comparisons.
6. Gymnastics Help You To Have Good Social Interactions
Being on a sports team can be a lot of hard work, the problem is that not everyone is naturally outgoing or vocal. On a sports team, this can potentially lead to all kinds of problems if you were to fail to communicate properly with your team members during a game. Gymnastics however is a great way to help you learn to communicate better and to be more social.
Gymnastics will do this my putting you in a group that in some ways is like a team, and it will also make it so that you have to communicate with at least your coach if you need help with doing a certain maneuver. Having to do this is a great exercise in being vocal for shy personalities.
If you are thinking of gymnastics as a sport for your kid, then a gymnastics class is a great way that they can learn how to be social. This can teach them when it is okay to talk to their fellow gymnasts and when they have to be quiet and listen to what the teacher is saying, which is something that is the same for any sport.
On the other hand, even if you are an adult taking gymnastics classes can still be great for you socially. Being social is something that you need to have in almost any sport – team sports in particular. It not only helps with things like team spirit, but it also helps you be able to work together better as a team if you know more about each other. The only way that you will learn more about your team, however, is by socializing with them!
Finally, having an interest in something besides your other sport can also really help you with finding things to talk about. Oftentimes people who put all of their energy into one sport can find it hard to come up with other topics that are not in some way related to that one thing, and so also doing gymnastics can make you more interesting to have a conversation with.
7. Gymnastics Can Help You Get Used To Competing
Everyone knows that competing in almost any area can be a stressful, nerve-racking thing to have to go through. There is unfortunately very little that you can do about this except for pushing yourself forward and learning how you can best deal with it. While some of this stress will never go away no matter how many times you compete, it can be quite a bit helpful if you get used to competing at as young of an age as possible.
This is something that gymnastics is great for. With programs like the Xcel gymnastics one in particular, you are getting out there on the floor – and the other apparatus – almost right off the bat. This provides a great way for you to get used to competing and allows you to come up with your own unique way that you can calm your nerves.
Because of the fact that even at team gymnastics meets your score will not affect the team if you should do poorly, you will not have to worry at first about “letting the team down” or anything else like you might feel if you were competing in another sport. The only person you will be letting down will be yourself – unless you are counting your family who was rooting for you.
This will let you learn how to deal with the stress of competition without having to deal with the same amount of pressure that you might face as part of a team. Finally, sometimes you never know just how you will react to the tension of competing until you try it.
Therefore, especially if you are interested in another sport, you will no doubt find it useful to know ahead of time if you are the kind of person who throws up when they get too tense. Being able to find a remedy for it using gymnastics before you have your first competition in your other sport just might be something that you can appreciate.
8. Gymnastics Helps You To Build Confidence
One of the great things about gymnastics is that it can really help you to build up confidence in yourself and in your abilities. It does this in a variety of different ways, one of which is the fact that it can even help you to get over certain fears or to at least learn how to deal with them.
While doing complicated things way up on the 4” wide balance beam will help you with a fear of heights, there is also the fact that it can be quite a bit uncomfortable at first as you have to get used to being upside down and doing things with backwards motions. Once you get accustomed to these, however, it can become much easier to deal with any similar discomfort in any another sport since you can start off already knowing that you got used to something once so you can do it again.
The other way that gymnastics can be a great confidence booster is the fact that it is easily divided up into different skills that you need to learn. This helps you to see that you are making progress and also gives you something that you can look back on with a sense of accomplishment.
In other sports like football or baseball there are a few things that you can use to measure your skills to see if you are getting better, but at the end of the day you are more dependent on your team as to whether you win or lose. With gymnastics you can know that if you got a good score that it was all you which is great for your confidence.
Finally, another way that gymnastics builds confidence is the fact that confidence is simply a necessity to have in this sport. To show you what I mean by this, picture a gymnast doing a routine on the balance beam. If he or she is hesitant or tense then they will be far more likely to make a mistake. On the other hand, if the gymnast is confident and relaxed then they will do a much better job. This is what makes confidence a key part of gymnastics.
This is also why gymnastics can be so good for you to know if you are doing other sports. In baseball you are likely to find it easier to hit the ball if you are confident and not hesitant. The same is true for other sports like basketball, tennis, or anything else that is better with a good dose of confidence.
9. Gymnastics Helps To Keep You Healthy
Gymnastics is a great sport, and like almost every sport it helps to keep you healthy. The more that you exercise the various parts of your body, the more your heart has to work in order to keep your muscles supplied with what they need. There is no doubt that the more muscles that you have to use, the harder your heart will have to work. This can really help to strengthen the muscles of your heart.
The same principle is also true for your lungs. Since you are not really doing a lot of running in this sport, gymnastics can be a great way to exercise even if you suffer from something like asthma. Being able to really use your lungs by doing things that strain your muscles but do not involve a lot of quick movements can often help your lungs to be stronger. This in turn allows you to be able to have an easier time when it comes to breathing as you participate in other sports which might have running in them.
Not only does gymnastics help you with your physical health, but it also does the same for your mental health as well. This is because exercising results in your body making more of your “happy” hormone which is what improves your mood and helps you to simply feel better. The more strenuous the exercise is, the more of this hormone that you will get from it.
10. Gymnastics Helps You Not To Burn Out
Another way that gymnastics will help with your health is that you learn how to fall. What I mean by this is that in gymnastics you tend to fall – a lot at first. One of the first things that you learn therefore is how to fall without hurting yourself. This is great for helping you to avoid getting injured, and avoiding injuries can help you in other sports so that you do not end up missing any practices due to landing on your ankle wrong during a game.
While there is no doubt that it can be a great thing to focus all of your energy on learning one sport in order to get really good at it, sometimes focusing too much on your main sport can be something that is not a good thing to do. This is because only having one thing that consumes all of your time is a great way to burn yourself out.
Having another sport that you do even part of the time can be a great way to help prevent this from happening. As you have already seen from the list of benefits above, gymnastics is a fantastic option that you can use for this. It will truly help you in whatever sport you are choosing to make your goal and it will also let you make some friends that you can talk to about other things.
This can be even better if the other sport happens to have a different season than the gymnastics one, and can even allow you to have essentially two main sports that you are participating in. If you are still a kid this will let you choose as you grow older which one you like more, or will at least give you the option of getting more involved in gymnastics should you for any reason you find that the other sport that you are doing turns out to be simply not the right sport for you.
Just knowing that you can fall back on gymnastics and get more involved in it at any time is something that can help you to not burn out. Also, having two different sports that you can compare may prove to be just the thing you need to help remind you just why it is that you love your other sport, thereby helping you to keep your passion for it.