Gymnastics is a sport in which athletes perform very difficult exercises on instruments like metal bars, ropes, etc. The sport features athletes performing extraordinary feats like somersaults and 360-degree flips that are very nice and pleasing to watch but require great strength and skill to perform.
Gymnastics is one of the world’s oldest sports and its’ history dates back to ancient Greece. The word ‘Gymnastics’ itself comes from the Greek word ‘Gymnazien’, which means ‘to exercise with discipline’. Gymnastics was part of the ancient Greek Olympics. Many of the activities that were included are running, jumping, weightlifting, throwing, wrestling, and swimming.
The Romans learned gymnastics from the Greeks and they used the activities of gymnastics to train their soldiers.
The sport then became lost for many centuries before it was revived in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1881, the ‘Federation Internationale De Gymnastique’ was established in France. This is now is the ruling body of the world of gymnastics and they organise all world events of gymnastics.
There are mainly three different kinds of gymnastics in the Olympics:
1) Artistic Gymnastics,
2) Rhythmic Gymnastics, and
Athletes perform acrobatics on different instruments, like high metal bars, vault etc. This is done within a time limit of 1 or 2 minutes. The activities of the men and women are different. Women take part in 4 different activities while men take part in 6. Two of the exercises, ‘vault’ and ‘floor exercise’, are common to both men and women. The women’s exercises are vault, uneven bars, floor exercise, and balance beam. The men’s exercises are vault, floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars, and high bar.
Rhythmic gymnastics is a form of gymnastics based on impressive dance moves. The gymnasts make a display of ballet-like dance movements while working with instruments like hoops, ribbons, and rope. The whole exercise is done on a carpeted floor and it is done while music is playing. The athlete has to move around the floor and make a display of impressive jumps, leaps, pivots, balances and flexibility movements. Such moves require a high amount of skill and athleticism.
Only women participate in rhythmic gymnastics events in the Olympics and other world events of Gymnastics.
A trampoline is a device consisting of a piece of taut, strong fabric stretched over a steel frame using many coiled springs. People bounce on trampolines for recreational and competitive purposes.
In gymnastics, athletes perform impressive tricks and moves while jumping on the trampoline. This is a very new form of gymnastics and very recently, it entered the Olympics.
Gymnastics for children
If children are kept involved with sports activities, they benefit from these activities physically, socially and morally. The children who are involved with gymnastics, develop body strength, speed, and flexibility. This helps prepare their body for other sports as well. It will also keep them fit, healthy, and free of sickness and diseases.
One of the most important benefits of gymnastics is the discipline. Children learn to show respect to others and to maintain self-respect. They learn teamwork, which helps them have better social interactions with others.
By doing gymnastics, children gain self-confidence and learn the virtue of hard work.
Gymnastics is not only for those who want to get a professional career but for everyone. And the benefits of gymnastics are not temporary. These benefits last a lifetime.