The Amazing Benefits of Gymnastics for Kids –Boost Their Physical, Emotional, Social, and Academic Skills

By Kristy Roser Nuttall

shutterstock_130119170

As a kid, I remember watching Mary Lou Retton compete at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the thrill of seeing her clinch the gold medal for the U.S. team when she stuck her final landing on the vault.  I also remember trying to be like Mary Lou Retton on my best friend’s swing set and attempting to do an amazing swinging dismount like her from the top bar.  Somehow it didn’t turn out quite as well as Mary Lou’s routine.  I flew up in the air with Olympic glory, but I landed in a suburban neighborhood patch of dirt and sprained my arm.  I got to wear a sling for the next couple of weeks and be teased about my Olympic aspirations, but it didn’t daunt my love for gymnastics.

I had the opportunity to take lessons when I was in elementary school, and I loved the chance to try out the balance beam, vault, high bar, and tumbling on the mat.  I enjoyed gymnastics for the thrill of moving my body and getting to try out the equipment I’d only seen before on T.V.  I also loved the music they played at the gym, and the chance to move my body in rhythm to the beat while balancing, cart wheeling, and jumping up to grasp the top bar.  All four of my boys have had the chance to participate in gymnastics classes, and now I understand that the benefits go far beyond just having fun and enjoying the music at the gym.  Kids who participate in gymnastics get a strong physical, social, and even academic boost.

The physical benefits of gymnastics for kids are well documented.   Participating in this energetic sport lets kids improve their:

Balance:  Gymnastics hones the ability to move the body in a graceful way often on one foot or springing off of one or two hands.   Kids learn to center their balance and reduce the amount of times they fall.

Bone density:  Gymnastics actually helps kids improve their bone density because it involves weight bearing exercises that put stress on the bone and this triggers increased deposits of calcium in the bones.

Flexibility:  One of the best ways to prevent sports injuries is to improve flexibility.  Gymnastics keeps kids limber and because of the constant stretching of various muscles, they are less likely to turn their ankle in a basketball game or tear a tendon while leaping down the stairs.

Endurance:  Gymnastics can make you break a sweat!  Lots of running, somersaulting, swinging, cartwheeling, and jumping will definitely help your child build their physical stamina.

But some of the most amazing benefits of gymnastics aren’t just physical—they are social, emotional, and academic.

 On the social side, kids learn how to wait in line, take turns, and follow directions. Having the chance to learn the value of patience at a young age will help them with their self-control as they grow older. They also know that they have to listen to the instructor or they might injure themselves while doing the next gymnastic feat.  Kids also learn the importance of encouraging their fellow class or team mates and helping someone up when they fall down.

On the emotional front, just doing gymnastics will trigger the release of feel-good hormones in the body called endorphins that automatically boost a child’s positive sense of well-being and improve their mood.  Children also develop personal grit doing gymnastics by choosing to overcome fears and doing things that seem hard at first.  They learn the importance of getting back up when they fall down and listening to feedback from their coaches about how they can turn their failures into successes.  Plus, they gain greater self-esteem and self-confidence by working hard and realizing how much they can improve with practice.

As for academics, many parents have reported that their child’s reading and school grades have improved after participating in gymnastics.    Studies show that doing gymnastics actually programs the brain for success in reading and other academic tasks.  The left hemisphere of the brain controls movement on the right side of the body and a right hemisphere controls movement on the left side of the body.  When a child crawls, jumps, or walks on a balance beam, their brains are creating strong neural pathways that connect the right and left hemispheres.

Why are these neural pathways so important?   When a child learns to read, the right and left hemispheres need to work together in a very coordinated symphony—the left side attending to sequencing and letter sounds, while the right is focusing on comprehension and the big picture.  This symphony becomes even more harmonious when the child has participated in activities like gymnastics where these key neural pathways are constantly activated in the brain.  The stronger the neural pathways between the two sides of the brain, the more efficient the brain becomes at accomplishing academic tasks and achieving reading fluency.

U.S.A gymnastics, the national governing body for the sport of gymnastics in the U.S., has conducted studies on the mental benefits of gymnastics and besides reading improvement, they’ve also found that math skills improve when kids participate in gymnastics because all of the bilateral movement that involves visual, audio, and spatial awareness create key neural pathways for mathematical reasoning and problem solving.  Basically, when your kid participates in gymnastics, it’s like giving them a chance to wire their brains in the optimal way for learning everything from reading Harry Potter or Shakespeare to doing trigonometry and calculus.  Sign your kids up for an after school gymnastics class or summer camp before letting them watch Frozen or a Ninjago episode for the umpteenth time.

Have your kids tried gymnastics classes?  What benefits have you noticed?  What part of gymnastics to your kids enjoy the most?  Have you found a class or program that you would recommend?  Please share!

shutterstock_130093031

Additional Resources on gymnastics summer camps, boys’ gymnastics, gymnastics for toddlers, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and other gymnastic programs for kids at www.iquriouskids.com

Gymnast Factory:

https://www.iclassprov2.com/parentportal/gymnastfactory/camps?camptype=28

Katy Kips Gymnastics Club:

http://www.katykips.com/

The Little Gym:

http://www.thelittlegym.com/houstonheightsTX

Discover Gymnastics:

http://www.discovergymnastics.com/

Mary Lou Retton Moment:

Also, remember this moment in the 1996 Olympics?

17 thoughts on “The Amazing Benefits of Gymnastics for Kids –Boost Their Physical, Emotional, Social, and Academic Skills”

  1. I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else experiencing problems with your site. It appears like some of the text in your content are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too? This may be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before. Cheers

  2. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back too
    your blog? My blog is in the exact same niche aas yours and my visitors woupd genuinely benefit from some
    of the information you provide here. Please let me
    know if this alright with you. Thanks!

  3. I have been browsing onlinee more than three hours today, yet I
    never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if
    all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet
    will be a lot more usefvul than ever before.|
    I could not resist commenting. Very well written!|
    I will right away snatch your rss as I can’t in finding your email subscription link oor e-newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Please permit me recognize so that I could subscribe.
    Thanks.|
    It’s the best time to make some plans for the future aand it’s time to be happy.
    I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest
    you some interesting things or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles referfring to this article.
    I wish to read more things about it!|
    It is perfect time to make a few plans for the future and it
    is time to be happy. I have read tthis submit and if I could
    I wannt to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions.
    Maybe you can write next articles regarding this article.

    I desire to learn even more issues approximately it!|
    I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours as of late, but Iby
    no means found any fascinating article like yours. It is lovely worth sufficient for me.

    In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content as you probably did, the internet wjll probably be much more useful than ever before.|
    Ahaa,its nice conversation concerning this article here at this weblog, I have
    read all that, so aat this time me also commenting here.|
    I am sure this post has touched all the internet visitors,
    itts really really good post on building up neew web site.|
    Wow, this paragraph is fastidious, my sister is analyzing these kinds of things, therefore I
    am going to tell her.|
    bookmarked!!, I really like your site!|
    Way cool! Some exxtremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this
    article and also the rest of the site is also really good.|
    Hi, I do tink this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am goping to come back yet again since I book marked it.
    Moey and freedom is the best way to change, may you bee rich and continye
    too guide others.|
    Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this website.

    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance”
    between user friendliness annd visual appearance.

    I must say you have done a excelolent jobb
    with this. In addition, the blog loads super
    quick for me on Safari. Exceptional Blog!|
    These are truly great ideas in on the topic off blogging.
    You have touched some good things here. Any way keep up wrinting.|
    I like what you guys are usually up too. This
    type of clever work and reporting! Keepp up the amazing works guys I’ve
    you ghys to my personal blogroll.|
    Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us sso
    I came to take a look. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will bee tweeting this to
    my followers! Excellent blog and outstanding design aand style.|
    I love what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and exposure!

    Keep up the good works guys I’ve added you guys to our blogroll.|
    Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re
    working with? I’m going to start mmy own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time making
    a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs
    and I’m looking forr something unique. P.S
    Apologies for beding off-topic but I had tto ask!|
    Hello would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.

    Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price?
    Thank you, I appreciate it!|
    I really like it wuen people come together and share
    thoughts. Great site, keep it up!|
    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement acount it.

    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way,
    how can we communicate?|
    Heyy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. Thee ords in your article seem to be running ooff
    the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue
    or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.

    The design look gteat though! Hope yoou get the problem
    fixed soon. Kudos|
    This is a tkpic that’s near to my heart… Cheers! Exactly where are your contact details though?|
    It’s veery trouble-free to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found this paragraph at this web page.|
    Does your site havce a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating itt but, I’d like to send you an e-mail.

    I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.|
    Hi! I’ve been following ypur webb site for a long time now
    and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx!

    Just wanted to mention keep upp the good work!|
    Greeetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at worrk so I
    decided to chjeck out your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I love the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get
    home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile ..
    I’m not even usin WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, awesome blog!|
    Its such as you leaarn my thoughts! You seem to understand a lot approximately this, such as you
    wrote the guide in it oor something. I feel that you just
    can do with a few p.c. to pressure the message home a
    bit, however other than that, that is excellent blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll definitepy bee back.|
    I visited varius web pages however the audio quality for audio
    songs present at this website is truly wonderful.|
    Howdy, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i
    was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses?
    If so hhow do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any
    help is very much appreciated.|
    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post!
    It is the little changes that will make the greatest changes.Many thanks for sharing!|
    I truly love your website.. Great colors & theme.Did you
    develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m
    wanting to create my own website and would love to find out where you ggot this from or
    exactly what the theme is named. Appreciate it!|
    Hi there! This post could not be written much better!
    Looking through this article remimds me of my
    previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this.
    I’ll send this information to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a
    good read. Thanks for sharing!|
    Incredible! Thiss blog looks just like my oldd one!
    It’s on a entirely different topic buut it has pretty much the same layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!|
    There’s definately a lot to know about this subject.

    I love all the points youu made.|
    You have made some decent points there. I looked on the net for more info
    about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.|
    Hello, I check your new stuff daily. Your story-telling style
    is witty, keep up tthe god work!|
    I just couldn’t leave your website before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual
    information ann individual provide to your visitors?
    Is going to be back frequently in otder to check out new posts|
    I need to to thank you for this good read!! I certainly enjoyed every biit of it.
    I have you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…|
    Hi there,just wanted to say, I enjoyed this post. It wwas
    helpful. Keepp on posting!|
    Hi there, I enjoy reading through yoir article. I wanted
    to write a liuttle commentt to support you.|
    I always spent mmy half an hour to readd this webpage’s content daily along with
    a mug of coffee.|
    I every time emailed this websiute post page to all my friends, as iif like to read it nnext my contacts will
    too.|
    My coder is trying too convunce me too move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliled the idea because of tthe expenses.

    But he’s tryiong nnone the less. I’ve been using WordPress on various websites foor about
    a year andd am concerned about switching to another platform.
    I have heard very good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way
    I can transfer all my wordpress posts ihto it? Any kind of help would be really appreciated!|
    Howdy! I could have swor I’ve visited this site before but after looking at a few of the posts I realized it’s new to
    me. Regardless, I’m definitely happy I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking itt and checking bak frequently!|
    Wondefful article! That is the type of information that are meant to bee sharwd across
    the web. Shame on the search engnes for no longer positioning this post upper!
    Come on over and discuss with mmy website . Thank you
    =)|
    Heya i aam for the first time here. I found this board and I find
    It trully useful & itt helped me out a lot. I hope
    to give something back and aid others like you aided me.|
    Greetings, There’s no doubt that your blog might be having browser compatibility problems.
    Whhen I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, fantastic blog!|
    Someone essentially assist to make significantly articles I’d
    state. This is the very first time I frequented
    your wweb page and to this point? I amazed with the research you mde to create this actual post amazing.
    Great activity!|
    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I in finding It truly useful
    & it helped me out a lot. I’m hoping to offer one thing back and aid
    others like you helped me.|
    Hi! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs upp for the great info
    you’ve got right here on this post. I’ll be returning to your sitee for more soon.|
    I all the time usd to study piece of writing in news papers but now
    ass I am a user of internet so from now I am using net for content, thanks to web.|
    Your method of describing all in this paragraph is in fact good,
    every one be capable of without difficulty know it, Thanks a lot.|
    Hi there, I found your website by the use of Google while searching for a comparable matter, your web site got here up,
    it aplears great. I have bookmarked it in myy google bookmarks.

    Hi there, simply was aware off your blog thu Google, annd located that it’s
    truly informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels.
    I’ll appreciate when you continue this in future.

    Numerous other people might be benefited fro your writing.

    Cheers!|
    I am curious to find out what blog system you happen to be
    utilizing? I’m experiencing some small security issues
    with my laest site and I’d like to find something more
    secure. Do yyou have any recommendations?|
    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills
    and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did
    you modiffy itt yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare too see a nice blog
    like this one nowadays.|
    I am really impressed along with your writing talents and also with the structure
    in your weblog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you customize it your self?
    Anyway sstay up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to look a nice weblog like this one nowadays..|
    Hello, Neatt post. There’s an issue together with
    your site in internet explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and
    a huge component of other people will omit your wonderful
    writing because of this problem.|
    I am not sure where you are etting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some timje learning more or understanding more.
    Thaznks for fantastic info I was looking for this info for my mission.|
    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to “return the favor”.I’m attempting to find things
    to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use a few
    of yo\

  4. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.
    It will always be exciting to read through articles from other writers and use a little something from
    other sites.

Leave a Reply