08 July, 2011
What Are the Health Benefits of Gymnastics?
Gymnastics is a sport of dedication, athleticism and determination. Gymnasts train hard in order to maintain their strength, balance and flexibility. Gymnasts not only reap the rewards of winning competitions, but they reap benefits for physical and mental health.
Participation in gymnastics helps meet the exercise recommendations set forth by the American Heart Association. The American Heart Association recommends children participate in 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Adults age 18 and over should participate in 30 minutes of exercise at least five days per week. Activities should be moderately intense meaning exercise should cause the participant to break a sweat and elevate their heart rate. Gymnastics is considered moderately intense physical activity.
A study conducted by researchers at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have indicated that children who participate in physical activity, including gymnastics, are likely to have better self-esteem and self-efficacy. Gymnasts also learn how to be part of a team and take instructions from others at an early age. This helps prepare them to be successful in school and grow to be successful and responsible adults.
Participation in gymnastics can help maintain a healthy body, which is key to preventing numerous health ailments. Conditions include asthma, cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Being involved in gymnastics helps encourage a healthy lifestyle including regular physical activity and eating a well balanced diet. Gymnastics helps promote a healthy heart, lungs, muscles and bones.
Gymnasts lead a busy lifestyle, which reduces the likelihood of a gymnast becoming involved in crime, drugs and alcohol use. Gymnasts learn how to make positive and healthy life choices. Gymnasts are taught at an early age that making poor choices can have a negative affect on their gymnastics careers as well as with their overall health. Involvement with negative behavior and substance abuse can shatter the hopes and dreams of a gymnast.
Flexibility is an important part of being a gymnast. Flexibility allows gymnasts to flip, jump and maneuver their bodies in a variety of different ways. It is also essential for maintaining a full range of motion as young gymnasts age. Flexibility is also important for preventing injuries, such as strains and muscle tears.
Strong, Healthy Bones
Participation in weight bearing activities -- including gymnastics -- can develop strong, healthy bones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that weight bearing exercises help promote bone density. Increased bone density is important for helping young individuals grow. As a gymnast ages, they are likely to experience a decrease in bone mass every year. Building strong, healthy bones while young can help reduce the risks of developing osteoporosis later on in life.
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