The Benefits of Gymnastics through the Eyes of an Expert

Michael Taylor

According to USA Gymnastics National Safety Instructor Michael A. Taylor, the benefits of gymnastics are endless. Taylor has been involved in the sport since 1968, as a competitor, coach, judge, club owner and USAG board member. Suprisingly, Taylor's thoughts on the benefits of gymnastics stretch much farther than the obvious physical and health benefits of the sport. Sure, gymnastics will improve your coordination, strength and flexibility. Sure, gymnastics is considered one of the most comprehensive exercise programs, incorporating various aspects of athleticism as well as discipline. But did you know that it can also do wonders for the mind, especially in the development of young children?

Taylor says that the movement activities involved in pre-school gymnastics programs can help the neurological development of children, promoting reading readiness and better communication skills. Studies have shown that children who participate in organized programs such as gymnastics classes have longer attention spans and better problem-solving skills than those who did not. Gymnastics also tends to increase self esteem and self confidence, and improve social skills.

Studies examining the study skills of high school and college athletes has consistently ranked gymnasts as having the highest GPA's, all the while practicing the same amount or more than the other athletes. Getting involved in a sport like gymnastics also can set a child up athletically for years to come. Gymnasts are incredibly fast, strong, coordinated and flexible. All of these skills culminate into the building blocks of an incredible athlete. Chances are, gymnasts will be sucessful in many other sports as well. Children in gymnastics programs run much less risk of developing weight problems, and are more active and energetic. Best of all, Taylor says, gymnastics gets kids off the couch and gets them moving!

Don't think gymnastics programs are only beneficial for children, either. Teens and adults can also reap the benefits of gymnastics. In addition to becoming more cordinated and flexible and building strength, gymnastics is an excellent way to reduce stress. It will make other types of athletic activity easier, and make you an overall healthier person. Plus, it's fun too!