Gymnastics and why it is beneficial to any sport.
If there was any one sport that displays the best combination of strength, flexibility, balance, and power, it would be gymnastics. Gymnastics is not a very well known sport, most people will occasionally see it while watching the Olympics every four years, but aside from that have almost no knowledge on the subject. I'd like to remedy that problem and inform people on why gymnastics is beneficial to almost anything.
First of all, gymnastics aides any other sport. There are many aspects of gymnastics such as strength, flexibility, and balance, which can help improve your favorite sport, whether you compete or just do it for fun.
The first benefit is strength. Almost all sports require some type of strength. In football you need power to take down your opponents, speed to cross the field, and strength to throw the ball for hundreds of feet. In soccer, you need very strong legs for running and kicking. In wrestling you need entire body strength to manipulate your opponent however you want them. These are just a few examples out of thousands. With gymnastics, every single muscle in the body is toned to perfection. For example, one of the men's events, rings, requires that you hold your body in various positions, known as strength holds, for several seconds. A large amount of time in gymnastics is spent doing strength conditioning to hone all the muscles of the body. The majority is doing own body weight exercises to get stronger, leaner muscle instead of the bulky muscle you might get from weightlifting.
Another benefit would be flexibility. Everyone is impressed with a person that can do the splits, and that is just one tiny part of the amount of flexibility gymnastics requires. The average person cannot even touch their toes. Flexibility helps in many ways, for example, a wrestler that is flexible has more advantages over a less flexible opponent. He can maneuver out of holds and bars that most would be helpless in. Also, flexibility helps prevent injuries. An example would be a football player who is tackled. A non-flexible person would easily tear or sprain a muscle, whereas someone who is flexible might escape without injury. Flexibility is heavily enforced in gymnastics, with hundreds of stretches you can do on your own or with a partner.
One other benefit of gymnastics would be balance. Doing a series of flips, twists, and handsprings on a four inch wide beam might seem insane to most, but is common place for a female gymnast. As does everything else mentioned, balance can aide any sport. For example a skate boarder would have better control if they had better balance. A break dancer can perform many more tricks with increased balance. Balance helps with anything. Balance is a huge part of gymnastics as well. A good gymnast can hold a handstand for over a minute, or do a backflip on a balance beam, or hold vertical splits while standing on one foot.
I have gone over only a few of the benefits of gymnastics, there are many more that can aide someone in everyday life, or in sports. The easiest way to learn more is to go to your local gymnastics club and sign up for a class. There are classes that range from preschool to adult, and gymnastics can benefit anyone. So whether you are a professional athlete trying to get an edge, or a health nut trying to find new ways to exercise, gymnastics can hold the answers.