Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What age is too old to start gymnastics?

Many people ages 12 and up ask the question, “Am I too old to start gymnastics?” Taking gymnastics classes can be both physically and mentally demanding, and while it’s typically thought of as a sport for children and teenagers, we firmly believe that it can be beneficial and fun for people of all ages.

While the Olympics gymnastic competitions tend to be comprised of teens or those in their early 20s, there are many collegiate gymnasts who are performing at their very best levels. While it may be more difficult but not impossible to compete when you begin at a later age, people of all ages start attending a gymnastics center with the intention of simply improving fitness and flexibility. It’s a disciplined sport that focuses on building balance, coordination and precision—skills that everyone at all fitness levels can benefit from.

While it can be more difficult to start at a gymnastics school later in life, it’s a sport that can be learned at any age. As a discipline, it provides an array of benefits, such as excellent flexibility training, an area that should be cultivated our entire lives. Gymnastics classes also help foster mental focus and increase strength, which will benefit your other physical activities or any sports you participate in. Plus, it promotes a healthier lifestyle overall.

There are actually some benefits to starting training at a gymnastic school at a later age. If you’re an adult, you most likely already have some sort of athletic background or experience in strength training, sports, dance, yoga or at a Pilates studio that will benefit your work at a gymnastics center. It’s a great sport to cross-train with another regimen, to boost skills and develop strength more rapidly. In addition, adults typically possess greater concentration and focus, which bolsters progression.

On a side note, while it can be more injury-prone for adults, never say never when it comes to gymnastic competitions. The older you are, the less likely you are to compete at an elite level, but there are exceptions, such as 42-year-old Tina Wise, Maryland's oldest competing gymnast, a member of First Class’ Level 9 team.

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