Gymnastics training is a wonderful way for kids to improve their overall health. Children as young as age four or five can experience a range of benefits such as improving coordination, building strength, and boosting flexibility. Gymnastics can also work wonders in supporting their mental health. These are some of the best, and most surprising, benefits of gymnastics for kids:
It is important that kids understand and feel the benefits of proper body alignment from an early age. Kids who develop good posture habits have a better chance of understanding body awareness, thus lessening the chance that they will have back and leg pain when doing activities like sitting for long periods at school. Proper core strength and posture can also go a long way when it comes to body image and overall confidence.
Gymnastics (and most other activities) offer a certain level of mental focus, which can help them to step away from depressive behavior. Most of us know that exercise has a positive effect on our mental health, and a lack of exercise can mean a lack of endorphins which leads to fatigue, irritability, and lack of motivation. A study published just this year in the journal Pediatrics was one of the first specifically to study the longer-term effects of exercise on children. They studied about 800 six-year-old kids and followed up with about 700 of them over the next several years, finding less depression-related symptoms in the physically active group.
Gymnastics may improve the memory of pre-teen children. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise examined the effects of after-school gymnastics training on a small group of kids aged 7-10 and found a positive effect on spatial memory which is related to motor skills development. Memorizing routines is one example of how memory-building can be linked to spatial coordination and body awareness.
A Good Choice for Introverted Children
As an individual sport, children who may not be team-oriented or who find team sports too intimidating may feel more comfortable on the gym floor. Children who are more introverted may find that they are more comfortable participating in a social, yet individual sport, instead of being on a team, which can sometimes feel too crowded or overwhelming for some children.
Instilling a healthy sense of self-discipline at a young age can have positive effects in all areas of life throughout childhood and adulthood. Because gymnastics is an individual sport, there may be more of a sense of independence to the extent that you can’t hang back and let the rest of the team do the work. Everyone is working – and possibly competing – on an individual basis, with each child encouraged to develop a keen sense of inner focus for themselves.
Gymnastics is a safe and excellent choice of activity for kids to get much-needed physical activity and build teamwork skills while allowing them to express themselves creatively and build self-confidence. If you’re in the Toronto area, visit http://fitforlifegroup.com/ to find out more about gymnastics for kids.