The Benefits of Gymnastics for All Ages
So, why gymnastics? Well, first of all, gymnastics is fun... just look at one of my youngest gymnast on the photo above (this is Misho at the age of 5), he absolutely adores gymnastics. There has been a tremendous growth in the number of pre-school and primary school children who discover the foundations of human movement through gymnastics. However, it is fair to say that gymnastics is not only for children. I still do gymnastics, and I still love it. Gymnastics is often considered to be a sport for the young, but people of all ages and abilities can practise it.
Statistical analyses of recent studies amongst primary school children showed that basic gymnastics training improves selected motor tests, such as standing long jump, trunk lift, sit and reach, balance, 20 m run, chin-up, curl-up, push-up . Moreover, in my studies in physical fitness of children, I reported an equalization of the grip strength in both hands of young children as a direct result of practising gymnastics - a sport which develops the body symmetrically . Furthermore, gymnastics offers a great range of locomotive, stability and body control movements which are highly important for the development of children . Gymnastics really has it all, it is a universal sport, and it can provide your child with a physical foundation that can be used as a base for any other sport.
In fact, I spent years in researching the effects of the gymnastics practice on the health-related fitness of children. The findings of my PhD thesis, for instance, showed that practising gymnastics maintains children’s body weight in the normal limits, and has a positive impact on all of the health-related biomarkers of their physical fitness . I also had the chance to present some of these findings at international scientific conferences. In the next video, I highlighted the impact of the gymnastics training on the children's health by presenting one of the largest study in which I have been involved in so far .
Would you like to learn more about my scientific research? Find out more here »
Did you know that gymnasts are amongst the strongest and most flexible of all athletes? However, the desire to participate in gymnastics is not only associated with obvious improvements in physical fitness, but also with the sense of challenge and achievement which can be experienced at any level of ability. Gymnastics also offers a rare opportunity for freedom of human movement and expression of aesthetic and artistic qualities . Gymnastics is, perhaps, the greatest sport ever, and as Dr Sands describes in his articles, many people have grown up with it, to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, business people, professors, police officers, nurses, scientists, etc. He also highlights the facts that gymnastics provides an outstanding way for young people to test their strength of character against themselves and others, and that gymnastics can provide opportunities for physical development, character development, and education that are hard to find anywhere else .
In conclusion, I would like to complete this section with some words of wisdom:
Pay no attention to the people that say it can't be done.
Yes, YOU CAN!
GYMNASTICS FOR LIFE!
1. Alpkaya, U. (2013) The effects of basic gymnastics training integrated with physical education courses on selected motor performance variables. Academic Journals 8, 317-321
2. Kolimechkov, S., Petrov, L., Ilinova, B., Alexandrova, A., Andreeva, L. & Atanasov P. (2013). Assessment of the physical development of pre-school and primary school children practising artistic gymnastics. Journal of Sport Science ('Спорт и Наука'), 4, 106-115
3. Pajek, M., I. Cuk, M. Kovac, and Jakse, B. (2010) Implementation of the gymnastics curriculum in the third cycle of basic school in Slovenia. Sci. Gym. J. 2, 15-27
4. Kolimechkov, S., Petrov, L., & Alexandrova, A. (2021). Artistic Gymnastics Improves Biomarkers Related to Physical Fitness and Health at Primary School Age. International Journal of Applied Exercise Physiology, 10(1), 115-128.
5. Kiuchukov, I., Yanev, I., Petrov, L., Kolimechkov, S., Alexandrova, A., Zaykova, D., & Stoimenov, E. (2019). Impact of gymnastics training on the health-related physical fitness of young female and male artistic gymnasts. Science of Gymnastics Journal, 11(2), 175 - 187.
6. Gymnastics. Prepared for the Royal Navy in Association with the British Gymnastics Association and produced by Education and Youth Limited, London, UK
7. Sands, W. (1999) Why Gymnastics? Technique, Vol. 19, No. 3.