It’s common knowledge that as a baby grows, they become more interested in their surroundings and slightly more adventurous too. As parents it can be both exciting and a little nerve-wracking watching your little ones attempt to do more, play more and risk more, especially because they are growing at such a fast rate.
So, often comes the question, what is a safe and stimulating way to aid a child’s sense of curiosity, playfulness and sense of adventure?
Benefits of recreational gymnastics for growth and development
The words coordination and athleticism aren’t often used in describing growing babies. But Kristina Ineson, Gymnastic Programme Manager from YMCA North Shore Recreation Centre says, “they can fast become a part of your child’s organic growth and development through engaging in recreational gymnastics.”
Gymnastics you say? Don’t worry, this doesn’t consist of your little one attempting a triple backflip!
Recreational gymnastics helps your child to become physically active, and stay fitter, stronger and more healthy. What’s more though, this coordination, strength and confidence can continue throughout your child’s life and into adulthood. Regular exercise from a young age can significantly reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes in adulthood.
There’s now evidence to suggest that weight problems in children do lead to problems later in life. Research by the University of Michigan shows that overweight and obese children have a dramatically higher chance, around 80%, of becoming overweight or obese adults. Recreational gymnastics is a great way to help your child maintain a healthy weight from a very young age.
Another great benefit of recreational gymnastics is to build bone density in young children. Your child reaches about 90% peak bone mass by the age of 18, so it’s crucial to build strong bones early on. The benefits of strong bones are really important. The National Institutes of Health says strong bones built at a young age can reduce the incidence of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and the impact of falls later in life
Recreational gymnastics at the YMCA
Kristina Ineson describes recreational gymnastics as being low key and relaxed.“It’s just all round fun for younger children, we focus solely on interactive play and social wellbeing.”
Children start by attending YMCA Preschool class circuits that encourage them to have fun in a safe and monitored environment.
“They can climb, slide, balance, jump, crawl, hang, swing and experiment at their own pace,” Kristina says.
It’s all the fundamentals you would like to encourage your children to reach out and do, but with a safety net of both staff and parental supervision provided.
Kristina shares through gaining the privilege of watching kids progress through the programme, she’s found what she truly loves about gymnastics.
“Some of our children have been with us from two to 12 years old and I enjoy seeing kids grow with confidence and self-esteem as they progress and achieve. We’ve had kids over the years who have been told they wouldn’t ever jump, and now we see them landing on both feet!”
YMCA Gymnastics is great for preschool classes, growing essential motor skills, building self-esteem and body awareness, as well as improving overall fitness and strength. It’s also a great foundation for sports they may wish to pursue in the future.