Gymnastics has been a beloved Olympic sport for decades. People around the world sit in front of their televisions to watch these athletes at the Summer Olympics every four years. The sport has inspired many American men and women, after its introduction to the country in the 1830s, to take up local gymnastics classes, with the hope that one day, they will be able to stick a landing off of a vault, just like Kerry Strug or Paul Hamm.
But gymnastics offers much more than a shot at the Olympics or nationals. It is a sport that takes practice, builds stamina, and helps people improve their posture. Gymnastics has also been beneficial in developing motor function, making it a popular place for young children to learn balance.
As they work with coaches, young boys and girls learn all the different facets of the sport that are gender specific, and shared. For example, girls learn the uneven bars, and men are taught how to rotate and hold themselves up on the rings. To keep themselves from slipping from both of these apparatuses, both boys and girls dust their hands with chalk. This also helps them tumble successfully during floor exercises. Both of their routines involve complicated combinations of flips, rotations and exciting choreography, but only women use music during their performances. The vault is a popular even that both men and women participate in, and they learn that sticking the landing is more than half of the battle. Continuous classes help develop these skills, and could lead to higher level competitions.
Many places also offer gymnastic classes for adults who have either lost touch with the sport, or simply want to try it out. Some centers have competitive adult gymnastic classes that train men and women to compete with other adults around the country. Other classes are more recreational, and acquaint people with the different exercises the sport offers. They teach spotting and safety techniques, as well the basics of tumbling if the participants are new to gymnastics. Some of these basics include hand stands, cartwheels, and rolls. They also teach round offs, and front and back tucks. Gymnastic classes for adults get more intricate as participants advance beyond the beginner level to advanced, or elite classes.
If you are older and interested in trying this sport out, look for gymnastic classes for adults in your area. You may find a number places that offer a beginner gymnastic class for kids, but they might not have the facilities to host adults as well. Not every town in the U.S. has programs for adults either. But do a search online and see what you can find. As an adult male, you will probably not become the next Shawn Johnson, since most male gymnasts experience their greatest success between the ages of 18 and 24. As an adult female, becoming the next Dominique Dawes is probably not in your cards, because the typical peak success age of a female gymnast is about 16. But there is nothing wrong with a little dreaming. More on this topic.