GYMNASTICS: Measuring your Strength and Flexibility




Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring balance, strength, flexibility, agility, endurance and control. The movements involved in gymnastics contribute to the development of the arms, legs, shoulders, chest and abdominal muscle groups. Alertness, precision, daring, self-confidence and self-discipline are mental traits that can also be developed through gymnastics. Gymnastics evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks that included skills for mounting and dismounting a horse, and from circus performance skills.

Most forms of competitive gymnastics events are governed by the Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG). Each country has its own national governing body (BIW) affiliated to FIG. Competitive artistic gymnastics is the best known of the gymnastic events. It typically involves the women's events of vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. Men's events are floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar.


History of Gymnastics
Description: In the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Germany, two pioneer physical educators - Johann Friedrich GutsMuths (1759 - 1839) and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778 - 1852) - created exercises for boys and young men on apparatus they had designed that ultimately led to what is considered modern gymnastics. Don Francisco Amoros y Ondeano, was born on February 19, 1770 in Valencia and died on August 8, 1848 in Paris. He was a Spanish colonel, and the first person to introduce educative gymnastic in France. Jahn promoted the use of parallel bars, rings and high bars in international competition. The Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) was founded in Liege in 1881.By the end of the nineteenth century, men's gymnastics competition was popular enough to be included in the first "modern" Olympic Games in 1896. From then on until the early 1950s, both national and international competitions involved a changing variety of exercises gathered under the rubric, gymnastics, that included for example, synchronized team floor calisthenics, rope climbing, high jumping, running, and horizontal ladder. During the 1920s, women organized and participated in gymnastics events. The first women's Olympic competition was primitive, only involving synchronized calisthenics and track and field. These games were held in 1928, in Amsterdam. By 1954, Olympic Games apparatus and events for both men and women had been standardized in modern format, and uniform grading structures (including a point system from 1 to 15) had been agreed upon. At this time, Soviet gymnasts astounded the world with highly disciplined and difficult performances, setting a precedent that continues. Television has helped publicize and initiate a modern age of gymnastics. Both men's and women's gymnastics now attract considerable international interest, and excellent gymnasts can be found on every continent.
Importance of Gymnastics
Description: ✔Fitness and Body ControlControl Children who get involved in a sport like gymnastics learn about fitness from a practical aspect. They learn the value of warming up before exercising and the need for practice to accomplish the gymnastic routines. They discover how lack of sleep or poor nutrition can steal energy needed to participate. They experience pride as they learn body control necessary to execute gymnastic maneuvers. Involvement, especially from a young age, reduces the risk of obesity and health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Weight-bearing sports like gymnastics build healthy bones and muscles. The type of activities performed by a gymnast create proper body alignment and a healthy posture. ✔Strength, Endurance and Determination Gymnastics requires physical strength and endurance. The gymnast builds tremendous upper-body strength to hoist herself up on the bars or flip across the mat. Lower-body strength is required to land correctly in dismounts and to run and jump. Endurance is required to execute maneuvers over and over until they are mastered. Determination and discipline are required to learn the routines. This builds strong character to accompany the strong body. ✔Flexibility, Coordination and Balance Gymnastics provides the necessary physical activity to promote balance, coordination and flexibility. From tumbling to spins on the parallel bars and the pommel horse, the body must bend and twist in multiple directions and remain balanced to complete the routine. The gymnast learns to instinctively know where the body must go and where it is in relation to objects to successfully execute and complete each portion of the program. ✔Self-Esteem, Confidence and Overcoming Fears Attaining success at gymnastics teaches the student self-confidence and boosts self-esteem. The student may have to overcome fear as he approaches a new piece of equipment or begins to learn a new skill. Some will have to overcome fear as they execute the gymnastics routines in front of an audience. Each new skill conquered affirms the ability of the student and builds pride in personal accomplishment, according to a study published in the August 2001 edition of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Personal accomplishment encourages the gymnast to attempt new things and push the limits. ✔Cognitive Benefits Learning that includes movement is more successful than engaging the mind alone. Gymnastics helps students learn new skills by engaging the mind and body. Adding the movement-based training of gymnastics improves focus and concentration necessary in the classroom. Learning the terms and descriptive language necessary to describe the activity increases communication skills. Analyzing and determining how to execute a maneuver can boost problem-solving skills.

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