Do you look enviously at all the kids in your child’s gymnastics class and wish you had their energy and flexibility? Maybe you just wish you had the freedom to roll and tumble and swing and dance like a child. It’s never too late – even adults can benefit from gymnastics components incorporated into their workout routines.
Somewhere, someone said that play is just for kids. While it’s true that children learn through play, about their bodies, their environments, and their peers, it doesn’t mean that play is off-limits to adults. Sometimes, you just need to run through the grass barefoot or make a snow angel in the back yard, or ride the shopping cart through the parking lot. Admit it, you have these inclinations every once in awhile! While we expect these things of our children, and even encourage them (well, maybe not the shopping cart thing), they remain off limits to us as well-adjusted adults. But the little tumblers and gymnasts set a great example for us older people as to how play can be incorporated into our lives in a healthy and fun way.
One of the things we begin to lose as adults is flexibility. Staying limber is a very real challenge as our jobs may keep us sitting or standing in one place during the work day. The stretches and movements of your child’s gymnastics or tumbling program are an excellent way for you to loosen stiff joints, tense muscles, and a self-image that prevents playfulness. Need a little help? Why not join your child in the pre-routine stretches at practice instead of sitting on the sidelines or in the car or running errands? In addition to helping you loosen up, your child will see that even you take gymnastics and a healthy, active lifestyle very seriously.
At home, some affordable gymnastics equipment might just help your own workout routine be a little more fun and a little less grueling. A good-sized tumbling mat will encourage your child to continue practicing at home, but will afford you the opportunity to practice right along side him or her. And when the kids aren’t around, go ahead. Pull out the mat and do some somersaults. Stretch out and get rid of the day’s tension. Be silly. Pretend you’re an Olympic gymnast and do your own crazy floor routine. You’ll feel so much better following your child’s lead! Make gymnastics a playful part of your life, too!