From gymnastics events and competitions to meeting and making new friends, participating in gymnastics is likely to be a great experience for many kids of all different ages, genders, and backgrounds here in the United States. For many, gymnastics is a great way to get up and moving, something that is essential for human health. Unfortunately, however, too many children do not move in the ways that they should as frequently as they should, according to health professionals all throughout the United States.
In fact, data has shown that less than half of all children are active on a daily basis – only about one third of them in total. Ideally, every child falling between the ages of six and 17 would be getting at least an hour of physical activity every single day (unless, of course, they were ill or injured). This physical activity is essential not only to physical wellness, but to mental development as well, as active play has actually been directly linked to several areas of brain development in young children.
In many schools of thought, much of this lack of movement is a direct result of too much screen time. In many ways, technology has truly been a blessing, allowing us to connect better than ever before and advancing the world more rapidly than ever, particularly in fields such a medicine. But technology has also provided a never ending stream of entertainment for children, who now use tablets and computers and phones with increasing regularity. The typical child in the United States, for instance, will use screens in some capacity or another for more than 7 hours over the course of a typical day.
Getting your child into a sport can help to get them away from these screens as well as up and moving. For many children, this sport has been gymnastics, which has been around for at least 2,000 years at the current date. And from very young children to adults, gymnastics is ideal for just about anyone. In fact, pediatricians typically remind that a child can begin gymnastics classes (and can even, in some cases, begin to attend gymnastics events) by the time that they are two years of age. However, classes for very young children should be structured towards their maturity levels – as well as towards the development of their motor skills, which must be fully and firmly developed by the time that they reach their sixth birthday.
Because of this, the American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends that children who are between the ages of two and five – right in the sweet spot for gross motor and fine motor development – to practice a variety of activities typically found in beginner level gymnastics classes. Such activities and skills include tumbling, throwing, catching, and running. Gymnastics classes for kids can also help them to improve their flexibility – as well as to gain healthy habits of physical fitness and movement that can last them throughout the rest of their lives.
For older children, gymnastics events can provide a bit of healthy competition in their lives, something that far too many children do without. Losing can be difficult, of course, but it is most certainly a skill that is important to learn relatively early on in life. Gymnastics events will push kids to do their very best, and teach them the importance of practice and dedication to their craft. For some children, gymnastics classes and gymnastics events will show them a true passion in life, with their success in gymnastics events throughout the country climbing ever higher.
And gymnastics classes and events will also translate well into cheerleading, a common activity among girls – and a growing number of boys too – here in the United States. Cheerleading is a popular sport, with up to 80% of all schools (typically high schools and even some middle schools) having cheerleading squads. And cheerleading is much more physically challenging than many people realize, requiring a great deal of strength, flexibility, and endurance in order to be able to do it in a way that’s safe.