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      Gymnastics courses for kids

      There are at least six different types of gymnastics including artistic, rhythmic, trampoline, power tumbling, acrobatics and aerobics. The different types require varied skills including balance, flexibility, strength, co-ordination, agility and endurance.

      Artistic is the most common form, attracts the most participants and the largest audience in the Olympics. The female artistic category involves competition across four apparatuses: floor exercise, vault, uneven bars and balance beam while the male competition is across six apparatuses: floor exercise, vault, still rings, pommel horse, parallel bars and the horizontal bar.

      Rhythmic gymnastics is typically competed by females only and involves using rope, hoops, ribbon, balls and clubs incorporated in a floor routine with more emphasis on aesthetics than acrobatics. Trampolining is an acrobatic activity consisting of jumps, flips, somersaults and twists while bouncing on a trampoline and became an Olympic sport in the Sydney Games, 2000.

      The remaining forms of gymnastics although not part of the Olympics are part of global championships. Power tumbling is similar to the floor exercise in artistic gymnastics in that it consist of complicated flips and twists but is performed on a long, narrow, slightly elevated tumbling track. The track is often referred to as the 'rod floor' because it is made from a series of padded fiberglass rods that flex to provide bounce. Acrobatics is a group sport performed in twos, threes or fours, and consists of acrobatic moves and dance set to music. Aerobic gymnastics can be individual or in group format and similarly involves a routine set to music but places more emphasis on strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness rather than acrobatics.

      Gymnastics is incredibly popular across Asia, particularly in China, Japan, North and South Korea. In fact its roots can be traced back to Juedixi, an acient form of gymnastics that was practiced during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD).

      Although children can start gymnastics classes as early as 1 year of age, most experts believe the ideal time to begin classes is from the age of 3 when children are able to follow instructions and have the fine motor skills and balance to build a foundation in technique.

      The benefits of gymnastics for children include

      • enhancing cognitive development
      • improving social skills and team work
      • building strength, flexibility, speed, co-ordination, power and balance
      • protecting against future cardiovascular disease, cancer and metabolic diseases
      • encouraging the routine of an active lifestyle
      • increasing engagement levels and confidence
      • better quality sleep which improves a child’s resiliency and concentration
      • building self-confidence