Is it ever too late to try gymnastics? Not according to the many adults over 60 who practice routinely and have found increased strength, flexibility, and perseverance in adults-only gymnastics classes.
Traditional thought has been that as we age, we are incapable of building new muscle cells, that we simply atrophy until we are immobile. But new studies are showing that even senior citizens are capable of producing new muscle cells, increasing muscle mass and flexibility, and building core strength. Of course those with conditions that prohibit the rigors of gymnastics shouldn’t risk it, but say you’re in your 40’s and looking for something other than the screaming boot camp instructor or the grueling HIIT routine. Beginning gymnastics now will help you maintain those skills for decades to come.
You’ve seen older folks driving cars and craning their entire upper bodies around to look behind them as they pass a car or turn. This is the result of a loss of flexibility in the shoulders and neck. Small, shuffling steps can be the result of too much time sitting, locking up the hips so they’re unable to perform normally. Gymnastics offers solutions to aging that no miracle cream or surgery can. It offers true results.
Can you imagine being on the parallel bars at age 80? Working out on the rings at 70? Doing back handsprings at 60? It’s for real. There are people right now who are doing these things and still working on improvement. And they’re improving. It’s true, the earlier you start adult gymnastics, the better you chances are of being successful and really excelling, but even older adults find benefits like increased bone density and a new social setting to be worth the time and physical energy.
It’s never too late for gymnastics. We may not be as graceful and muscular as the younger gymnasts, but that’s not why we do it, is it? We do it because we want to have an active lifestyle for as long as possible. And gymnastics can be a leg up in that effort.