For most adults, gymnastics can provide the opportunity to learn new skills, improve strength and flexibility and socialise with new people. Even if you think you may not possess much grace or flexibility, there are lots of gymnastics manoevers that require little experience! But if you’re wondering: “is it ever too late to start gymnastics as an adult?”, then this article is for you.
Clubs take on all abilities, especially with an adult gymnastics class. In these classes, there will be adults with no experience at all and often some ex gymnasts that are there for fun.
These sessions are often semi-structured where a coach will be around to assistant you and help with anything you need, but you mainly get to choose what you would like to work on.
Before starting an adult gymnastics class, be sure to ask what sort of session they run as many only offer a completely structured session or a free gym non-structured class, where you are not coached, you just get to explore the gym yourself. So be sure to know exactly what type of session you would prefer to avoid a letdown on the day.
Not all clubs have an adult program but it’s worth scoping around your local area to see if any clubs offer adult sessions as many do.
What Age is Too Old to Learn Gymnastics?
For most adults, it’s not too late to start gymnastics. But if you suffer from injuries or long term health problems, or mobility issues, then it’s probably not the best sport for you. However, if you are fit and well then the reasonable answer is that it’s not too late to start gymnastics and enjoy this wonderful sport!
Before joining you should consider why you want to start, is it for fun? Competition? Fitness? It’s harder to get into competitive gymnastics as an adult as there are not many adult competitions out there.
Adult gymnastics is often for all levels of abilities so doesn’t matter if you haven’t done it before. If you are a complete beginner the coaches will be there to show you how the equipment works and help to teach you the basics of the sport.
The great thing about gymnastics is that it can be all levels of difficulty. Depending on your experience and how hard you want to push yourself, the difficulty of a session is all up to you, as these sessions are not completely coach-led, you get the input of what you want to do.
If you decide to join gymnastics as a bit of keep fit, there are also so many other benefits that will come to you such as social interaction, strength, and flexibility.
How Can Adult Gymnastics Improve Fitness?
Full Body Workout
Amateur adult gymnastics has grown enormously and is now very popular, this is because it is a challenging training method that pushes you beyond your comfort zone and works your entire body, often without realising how much it is actually benefiting your body!
Lots of exercises and skills in gymnastics require using the full-body, and most conditioning for the sport is done specifically through bodyweight exercise.
Balance and Core Stability
In gymnastics, you will face obstacles and challenges that you have likely not faced before. A lot of disciplines in gymnastics require a lot of balance and core stability for example the beam.
By learning to walk along the beam in a variety of ways, or even learn to begin skills on it, will really improve balance and core stability.
There are many different heights of the beam, so all of this can all be done on a low beam that is just off the floor, it doesn’t have to be at a scary height!
Strength and Cardio-Vascular Fitness
Adult Gymnastics improves your strength because you have to use your muscles to such a large degree. Your muscles will gain more definition and tone, which will make it easier for you to do moves that you once found hard.
Choosing gymnastics as a sport can help you with day-to-day obstacles such as lifting or carrying to having more energy for activities. Gymnastics targets the full body improving strength and also helps with cardiovascular fitness to improve endurance.
Gymnastics has to be the main sport when it comes to flexibility, it’s very well known for how supple the athletes are to be able to do the skills they do! Gymnastics targets full body flexibility from static and dynamic stretches, this helps to loosen your muscles and improve your flexibility, enabling you to improve your splits, jumps, and leaps.
Without the right range of motion, gymnasts will not be able to do certain skills. Training in gymnastics as an adult will certainly make you a more flexible person.
Gymnastics will increase your co-ordination by helping you have more control of your body. With exercises such as beam complexes and working on floor routines, your coordination is being worked at all times. This is another benefit of adult gymnastics that can assist with day-to-day life, having control and balance of your body helps to avoid accidents and injury.
Why Should Adults Do Gymnastics?
Adult gymnastics is a great sport where you can meet new people, whether they are your ability, higher or lower, you are all in a class together and therefore have the chance to work together and socialise, whether its about gymnastics or not!
Gymnastics, although it is a challenge, can be looked at as a break. A bit like an extracurricular activity for children, joining a sport is really all about fun and enjoyment. Joining a gymnastics class whether it’s with a friend or by yourself, you will always have the opportunity to meet new people and possibly blossom new long-term friendships!
Self Confidence and Esteem
Many adults are still nervous when it comes to heights, or walking along a thin platform. Gymnastics is brilliant for improving confidence with things you might feel a little bit uncomfortable doing.
The sport of gymnastics is great at conquering fears such as heights as you can start at a low level and gradually work your way up as you feel more comfortable.
This goes for both beam and bar apparatus. You will likely want to start on the lower height as you are a bit nervous jumping straight up on that big beam, as you train more you will begin to grow in confidence and be ready to try out that big beam!
As there are so many obstacles in gymnastics, you can set yourself personal goals or even accomplish weekly skills without even planning them! Adult gymnastics classes give you so many opportunities to grow in confidence and feel proud of yourself.
Fitness and Fun
Gymnastics is a great form of physical activity, and as it is so enjoyable it often doesn’t feel like a workout until afterward! Gymnastics helps you to learn to laugh at yourself, by making mistakes over and over again, just learning to laugh when you get it wrong will make you get better and without getting frustrated when things don’t go right, this makes it so much more enjoyable than taking it all very seriously.
If you are after a sport to take part in as an adult for fitness, I would highly recommend gymnastics for all, the sport works your full body through bodyweight exercises, building muscle and flexibility to aid you with day-to-day challenges.
What Do You Wear To Adult Gymnastics?
It is important that when taking part in gymnastics you wear the appropriate clothing. The sport of gymnastics includes a lot of full body movement, from floor exercises to climbing on the beam, it’s essential that you are wearing flexible clothing to allow you to move freely, and to avoid and restriction or injury!
For an adult gymnastics or an adults tumbling class, I would recommend sportswear such as a T-shirt and shorts, or leggings. These allow you to move your limbs freely with all the movements of gymnastics.
Leotards are available in adult sizes, so if you’d prefer to look like a pro in all of the gear speak to your club or have a look online at available styles and sizes!
It is crucial that any long hair is tied back for gymnastics, there is a lot of equipment and skills where hair can get caught, resulting and injury and probably a fair bit of pain!
If you have hair that can be tied up, ensure you do it before you go to training. By sorting out everything beforehand it avoids forgetting things such as a hairband, which your club may not supply.
Shorter hair that cannot be tied up should be kept out of the face using an elastic headband, or just the fringe tied up in a hairband to ensure it is out of the face so it is not obstructing your view during gymnastics, the last thing you want is something possibly covering your eyes when you’re walking along a beam!
When it comes to jewellery in sports, there are many different rules and regulations but the all-around blanket recommendation would be all jewellery of all kinds should be taken off.
It is best to take all of your jewellery off at home before attending a gymnastics session, this avoids the possibility of taking it off at training and leaving it there, or miss placing it completely.
It is vital that jewellery is taken off for the sport of gymnastics as there are many risks in keeping it on, from getting it caught and causing injury to yourself to it falling off and causing injury to possibly someone else if they were to step on it, and probably break it too!
Many clubs allow stud earrings, if you are to keep these in I would advise covering them with some micropore tape to be extra safe.
Taking part in adult gymnastics helps improve confidence, thus overcoming mental and physical challenges. Training and learning in the sport will improve control over your movements and helps develop a greater range of motion thus preventing injury.
Gymnastics will increase strength and flexibility, with a very intricate way of training, gymnastics teaches you to use your full body to gain skills and improve balance and coordination.
No matter what age you are, gymnastics brings out the inner kid in you. You have the freedom to jump, flip and swing from bars, things that you very likely are not able to do at many other environments! Gymnastics brings you back to the days when childlike wonder filled every moment.
Gymnastics makes you become less fearful and more confident. When you actually do what you had previously thought was impossible eg. a Handstand, or even begin to learn more challenging skills such as somersaults. The sport opens up a whole new world and teaches you goal setting. It can also translate to other areas of your life, even positively impacting your career, your relationships, and your dreams
Gymnastics is not just for the elite, it is for any adult of any ability. The key elements of the sport are core strength, explosive power, balance, and flexibility making it completely accessible to everyone.