We know that exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety, and makes us happier overall. Experts have found that being physically fit produces endorphins (feel-good neurotransmitters in our brain), reduces stress hormones (like adrenaline and cortisol), improves self-esteem, helps us sleep better, and encourages mindfulness.
Gymnastics is a really fun and accessible sport for children of all ages to enjoy these stress-reducing benefits, plus other amazing physical benefits like improved coordination, motor skills, balance, strength, agility, and flexibility. Gymnastic also helps children learn important social skills like following directions, listening, taking turns, learning independence, respecting others, and getting along with teammates.
According to Rebecca Carr, founder of Innate Moves, gymnastics is the foundation of all individual sports and physical activity. She explains on her website, “Gymnastics helps to develop a kinesthetic awareness much better than any other activity. Kinesthetic awareness is the body’s sense of movement. It’s just as important as the other fives senses, but often overlooked. A lack of kinesthetic sense can lead to poor coordination, fear of movement, and lack of agility. Gymnastics involves rotating vertically and horizontally, going upside down and sideways, twisting, moving through the air, without touching the ground, getting high and low, and more.”
How Gymnastics Eases Stress
Besides the physical benefits, gymnastics also offers some additional ways for children to feel calmer and happier. Gymnastics helps children in the following important ways:
Improving Focus: Performing gymnastics moves requires a great deal of focus in order to succeed and not fall over. Think about how thin a balance beam is and how much attention is required just to walk the length of the beam without falling off, let alone if a child is performing handstands, leaps, or back handsprings on the beam. Learning to focus on accomplishing their goals even amongst many distractions is one of the greatest skills a child can learn that can help them in so many ways throughout their lives. By being aware of their body, thoughts, and emotions and learning how to shift their concentration, they will be empowered and stay in control. Gymnastics is the perfect way to teach focused attention from an early age.
Building Self Confidence: While low self-esteem triggers anxiety, healthy self-esteem makes children more relaxed and comfortable in their own skin. Whether it be learning a new gymnastics skill, participating in gymnastics competitions, or getting over stage fright while performing in front of an audience, your children will build confidence as gymnasts. Gymnastics is a sport all about mastering challenging skills, so children build confidence as they improve over time. Gymnastics helps them learn that hard work and practice pays off, and that they have the power to succeed in the sport and in life.
Overcoming Fears: Gymnastics can be used as a tool for children to address their worries. Gymnastics entails movements and equipment that can be very intimidating–even frightening– for children when they first try them out. A child may be afraid of falling off the balance beam or feel uncomfortable upside down in a headstand. By encouraging our children to challenge themselves in the gym, we give them the experience of facing their fears and moving beyond them. They also learn to communicate what scares them and why. All of these tools will help them throughout life as they face new fears and challenges.
Getting Started With Gymnastics
You can find numerous opportunities for your children to learn gymnastics from a young age, from national chains like Little Gym to local gymnastics facilities to your local government recreation program. Of course, these options can get pricey and end up taking up a big chunk of your family’s schedule.
You can also get your children started right away from the comfort of your home using gymnastics videos for kids by Innate Moves. Managed by Rebecca Carr, a mother who has experience as a gymnastics coach for all ages and levels for over 15 years and as a gym director, Innate Moves offers an amazing online gymnastics course for young children.
The program includes 7 videos (over 2 hours total) that you can access at your convenience. You won’t need much equipment; just make sure that you have a soft surface, such as carpet, blankets, yoga mat, or gymnastics mat. Some of the specific gymnastics skills that your children will learn include log roll, forward roll, donkey kick, cartwheel, bridge, straddle jumps, and tripod headstand. You’ll also be happy to know that the program requires little, if any, parental participation–but you are certainly welcome to follow along and get a workout, too.
These gymnastics classes for kids by Innate Moves are the perfect way to keep your kids active when stuck indoors on a stormy day. You can also give your kids a double boost of stress-busting love by taking them outside in nature to do the program. Spread out a large blanket or bring along a fitness mat so that your kids can learn gymnastics in their backyard, at a local park, or even at the beach.
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Which sports do your children find most relaxing?