The greatest symbol for love is the heart. This shape is displayed on clothes, signs, cards, and decorations. We throw it around like confetti! How fitting that we celebrate the greatest muscle in our body because it is what keeps us alive. If healthy, our heart provides us the opportunity to enjoy experiences and activities that bring happiness and connections with others. Here are 4 reasons why gymnastics is good for your heart.
1. I’m Not Stretching the Truth, It Makes Your Heart Healthier
When you think of gymnastics, flexibility is one of the first words that pops in your head. Stretching provides many advantages for your child, but one of the greatest incentives to stretching is that the more flexible you are, the better your heart health. An article posted on MSNBC described a study done on individuals and flexibility. It found that individuals that are more flexible have 7% less arterial stiffness and lower blood pressure than those who are less flexible. When you improve your flexibility by stretching, it helps to expand the arteries and helps them to work better. As a result, heart function is improved.
Developing the habit of stretching in our children at an early age and involving them in learning the benefits, allows them to reap the reward of a healthier heart throughout their lives. At Barron Gymnastics, we stretch during warm-ups, to perform skills, and even during games played in class. It isn’t a stretch to love that!
2. Turning Your Heart Upside Down Increases Blood Flow and Makes You Happy
It is not a mystery that going upside down is FUN! You see kids doing it everywhere – rolling down a hill, handstands on the beach, going down a slide on their tummies, or performing cartwheels on the soccer field. Knowing the benefits of going upside down gives us a deeper understanding of why it feels so good!
Going upside down at gymnastics increases blood flow to the head, eyes, and scalp. It gives your heart a little break from working so hard from pumping blood upward. In addition to the heart benefits, it helps your intestines, too! The reverse pull of gravity fires up the digestive track, loosening any stagnant blood or toxins.
When a child gets their heart above their head, it not only changes their perspective physically and improves spatial awareness, but it can also cause major shifts in their emotions. Going upside down flushes blood to a child’s pituitary gland, releasing feel-good hormones. After practicing inversions, people report feeling happier and “lighter”.
Being aware of these incredible benefits, Barron Gymnastics has designed our lesson plans to include multiple skills and drills in which our students go upside down in a safe and comfortable learning environment.
3. Laughter is the Heart’s Best Medicine
At Barron, we find ways to add memorable teaching moments that produce laughter and smiles from our children throughout our classes. Due to extensive research, our leaders at Barron Gymnastics recognized that adding humor to our classes leads to better learning retention as well as increases our students’ physical health.
Dr. Lee Berk, an associate professor at Loma Linda University in California, has spent nearly three decades studying the ways the aftershocks of a good laugh ripples through your brain and body. He has found that it can even compare to a proper diet or exercise when it comes to keeping you healthy and disease free.
In addition, laughter leads to a reduction in stress hormones. Stress causes our blood vessels to constrict, so having a good giggle is great for blood flow to and from the heart. “The benefits of laughter cannot be understated,” says cardiologist Benico Barzilai, MD. “Laughter leads to an immediate reduction in the body’s negative response to stress and causes the blood vessels of the body — including the heart — to increase blood flow as needed.” Experts concluded that laughing on a regular basis reduces your risk for a heart attack.
By making humor a regular part of our gymnastics classes, we are confident that we can have a big impact on our students’ heart health.
4. Gymnastics Makes Your Heart STRONG
Gymnastics is an incredible sport for children because from a young age, they can perform strength training exercises without lifting weights. We know that lifting weights is not appropriate for their small bodies, so this gives them a great opportunity to learn safe strength training exercises by using their own body weight.
A handstand can only be executed by holding up the rest of one’s body with straight arms and a strong core. Performing skills on bars takes arm, core, back, and leg strength. Jumping on a trampoline exhibits the same form that you would use both in a squat and extension jump, while improving core stability. These skills are so much fun that it makes you forget that you are getting stronger and healthier by doing them. An exciting part of making these muscles stronger is that it directly correlates to a healthier, stronger heart!
At Barron, we teach our students the names of different muscle groups, how we use them, and how they help us to accomplish and perfect skills by making them stronger. Just as these exercises strengthen other muscles in their bodies, it helps their heart muscles become more efficient and better able to pump blood throughout their bodies. This means that the heart pushes out more blood with each beat, allowing it to beat slower and keep blood pressure under control.
Signing your child up for gymnastics is one of the greatest gifts of love that you could give them! Our hearts FLIP for gymnastics!