As a dad of 4, I know how important learning is. My children have all progressed and learned at their own pace. Some walked early, some skipped crawling, some had a speech delay, but at the end of the day, my wife and I loved, encouraged, and helped them so they could be successful at what was being asked of them. When it comes to gymnastics there are some cool benefits that help children develop and grow.
Here are 4 awesome ways gymnastics helps kiddos at school and in life outside the gym.
Flip on Focus: Moving large muscles and joint compression is referred to as heavy work. Heavy work is a therapy term that refers to activities which help focus the brain. Vaulting, handing, flipping, climbing, and leaping are all examples of phenomenal heavy work. (1) (2)
Roll Into Reading: Brain connections are made deeper in the inner ear called the vestibular system. Working in tandem with the brain, the vestibular integrates auditory, visual, and tactile input. Gymnastics movements such as swinging, rotating, and twisting aid in developing this system. (3)
Magnificent Math Moves: Math is a spatial sport! The more children move in different ways the more mental connections made in the brain which improve spatial awareness. For children to understand mathematical equations and geometric principles, they need good spatial skills. All gymnastics moves help wire the brain for math. Dr. Sands states, “Gymnastics is a complex sport with many dramatic and subtle nuances. For example, physicists discuss the principle of conservation of angular momentum while the gymnast experiences it. The physics teacher may discuss moment of inertia and its relation to angular momentum, but the gymnast can see and feel it while performing skills. The richness of such experiences goes far beyond reading about them in a book. Recently, a National Science Foundation grant has used gymnastics as a means of teaching fundamental physics to students.” (4)
Hang Ten for Writing: Bars and writing seem about as far apart as one can get, however, the two require similar skills and muscles. For good handwriting, children need strong muscles that work together for a common good. A child’s back, abs, shoulders, forearms, fingers, wrists are all strengthened and engaged during bar work. Similarly, children with weak muscle groups struggle to sit at a desk, hold a pencil, and write legibly. (5) (6)
Even if a child doesn't grow up to be an elite level gymnast or even a competitive gymnast the foundation laid in recreational gymnastics can be beneficial for their entire life outside the gym.
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