In our increasingly daily sedentary lives, it’s all-too-easy to pigeonhole our training: a few times each week, we show up at the gym for an hour or two and get a sweat on. And that’s great! At Dalecki, these sessions always involve some laughter and a lot of challenges (sometimes tough handstand conditioning leave us struggling to raise our hands to our keyboards for the rest of the day!).
But at the same time, we have a lot of life to live outside of the gym: there’s work, maybe a local sporting team, socialising with our friends, soul time with our families, pursuing our other passions. In fact, our time in the gym is often the minority of our lives, and that’s not a bad thing… but it does make us ask: how is our training contributing to the rest of our life?
Adult gymnastics is a rather unique training methodology. Notably lower wear-and-tear on the body than high-intensity weightlifting, the demand gymnastics places on joints can be better managed and monitored in a small group environment than the impact of running or contact sports. It also has some incredible physical and mental benefits that extend far beyond today and into our futures.
Gymnastics Improves our Physical Capacity
Getting stronger and more mobile is essential for gymnastics, but it also allows us to live an interesting, dynamic and pain-free life. Our daily lives require us to squat, bend, twist, and lift items; to dodge other pedestrians on our walk to the office; to pick up a crying child or our scared pet.
The physical capacity we build with gymnastics allows us to be far more physically available to our families, too. When our children, nieces and nephews, or friends’ little ones want to play, we can join in; when our family wants to go for a walk or a cycle, or try out archery for fun.
And, when spontaneous activities arise — hiking or rock-climbing with friends, anyone?— we can throw ourselves in whole-heartedly, with less fear of injury or not being able to keep up.
Gymnastics and our Mental Capacity
Another (and sometimes little-mentioned) positive that gymnastics brings to your life outside the gym is mental. Many people find gymnastics playful, something that is frequently missing from our adult lives. Training handstands and tumbling, ring skills and mid splits becomes a place for escape and fun while using our bodies in challenging and inventive ways.
This ‘mental break’— where our focus is all physical and we’re under the expert guidance of a good coach — also allows us a kind of recharge. When we leave, we have a bit more space and energy for the things that were previously all-encompassing and weighing us down.
Thinking For The Future: Gymnastics and Physical Longevity
Finally, beyond the immediate and wonderful everyday effects, gymnastics offers a unique long-term physical outlet. The lower intensity and the focus on careful and deliberate strengthening and capacity-building of joints and muscles means that we can continue gymnastics well after other, more high-impact sports become unrealistic or unsafe.
Even more than that, the physical benefits of gymnastics are long-lasting. Some degree of physical weakening as we age is typically unavoidable — but we do have a say in how much we lose, and how badly these changes affect our quality of life. Often, we see older people who have lost or greatly reduced ability to bend, stretch, and move safely, and to do many of the tasks we take for granted everyday.
Gymnastics safeguards our physical ability as we grow older, actively protecting and developing our mobility to allow us to remain more self-sufficient. Even if we’d rather not think about it right now, the ability to be self-reliant as we age is one of the greatest gifts we can give our future bodies.
What is gymnastics bringing to your life outside of training that you value the most?
We look forward to seeing you in the gym!
— Dalecki Strength