The Benefits of Gymnastics Movement in the Development of Young Children

Parents of growing children often ask themselves, “Why it is so difficult for our kids to sit still?” It’s no secret kids have an abundance of energy. What most parents don’t know understand, is how this natural energy abundance can be used to enhance development mentally and socially.

Think about this: parents go to the gym three or more times per week while children often take a gym class once a week. It is equally as important that our children move their bodies every day, especially in crucial times of development. Increased movement and physical activity is positively correlated with increased attention span and a higher level of learning.

During childhood, the brain is laying down neural pathways. Movement and exercise increases the amount of neural connections. This aids in memory and learning. It has been documented that stimulating the vestibular (inner ear) and cerebellar (motor activity) system through movement activities (spinning, crawling, rolling, jumping, bending, etc.) can result in “significant gains in attention and reading.” (Jenson,2005,62)

Proper development of a child’s vestibular system is very important to their achievement in all areas of life. In our current culture, children are in a prolonged upright position, with less time to play and move during the day.

A recent article from The Washington Post highlights many reasons why increased movement in children is so important for development. The article points out that, “over the past decade, more and more children are being coded as having attention issues and possibly ADHA. … Ironically, many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular system due to restricted movement. … In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order to pay attention, we need to let them move.” Gymnastics integrates movement and the vestibular system, which supports visual and socio-kinesthetic interaction and modeling. This stimulation leads to increases in academic and social achievement. This is exactly the reason why gymnastics is a great basic sport for children. It is a fantastic foundation for learning and achievement as well as other sports as well.

Following are a few examples of specific developmental skills learned and refined through gymnastics:

Gross Motor Skills:

  • Jumping
  • Hopping
  • Skipping
  • Galloping
  • Leaping

Motor Fitness components:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Contralateral coordination
  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Strength and Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Special awareness
  • Agility

Social Development:

  • Working with a partner and in a group (teamwork)
  • Sharing
  • Taking turns
  • Listening to their teacher
  • Independent focus
  • Concentrating on a skill
  • Mastery through repetition
  • Sharing

We are proud to offer a program with such rich benefits for your child and applaud your decision to enroll your child in our gymnastics program. You are giving your child the gift of healthy development and a great foundation for achievement in all aspects of life. If you have additional questions about the benefit of gymnastics and brain development never hesitate to ask. I can be reached at lisa @ bayaerials.com.