Perhaps you were a gymnast as a child? Maybe you’ve never tried it before, but it’s something you’ve always been interested in? Or you’ve spent so many hours watching your own children in their gymnastics class, you feel like you might as well give it a go, too!
Whatever your reasons for wanting to join in, adult gymnastics is a great way to keep fit, and seems to be growing in popularity in the UK, with many gymnastics clubs offering their own adult class as part of their timetable.
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Why adult gymnastics is a good idea
Gymnastics is a sport that involves every part of the body, so it’s a great form of exercise. Because each session contains a mixture of cardio and strength work, you can feel confident that your overall health and wellness will increase with regular attendance at adult gymnastics lessons.
There’s an obvious nostalgia element to gymnastics classes for adults- even if you were never a gymnast yourself, the memories of climbing, jumping and flipping around playgrounds and parks in your childhood will soon come flooding back! But as well as the fun factor, adult gymnastics is a useful hobby for anyone who takes part in another sport, because of its focus on strength and conditioning. If you’re a runner who wants to improve their upper body strength, for example, or a footballer who wants to increase their flexibility, then gymnastics is a great way of doing that.
What you’ll learn in a class
Your class will begin with a warm-up, followed by some stretching. It’s likely that there will be a big variety of experience and ability within the group, from complete beginners, to former competitive gymnasts. Coaches will be prepared for this, though, and should tailor their classes accordingly.
Some adult gymnastics classes are quite relaxed, with participants choosing what they want to work on, and coaches available to help with advice or supporting skills as necessary. If you attend a class like this, and you’re not sure what to do, don’t be afraid to ask- it’s what the coaches are there for, and they won’t mind providing extra assistance to a beginner!
Other classes will be a lot more structured, where coaches lead participants through skills and drills on set pieces of apparatus. Again, this will be tailored towards the members the group, with those who are more experienced being challenged further, and beginners being supported to help them achieve something new.
At the end of your adult gymnastics class, you should be encouraged to complete a cool down stretch, to help minimise achiness the next morning!
What to wear
Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to turn up in a leotard for your first adult gymnastics class! A t-shirt and shorts or leggings will be fine- anything that makes you feel comfortable, and that you can easily move about in. Although you can purchase gymnastics shoes online, most people will simply be barefoot in the gym.
Remember to remove any jewellery or watches before beginning your class- a wedding ring is often allowed, but you may want to take this off anyway if you’re planning on using the bars. Long hair should, of course, be fastened back at all times.
Opportunities to compete
If you try out adult gymnastics and discover a real love for the sport, you can indulge your new passion by taking part in the annual Adult Gymnastics British Championships. With categories for all levels of experience and ability, participants can choose from five different disciplines of gymnastics to compete in. It’s described as a “fun, relaxed atmosphere,” with plenty of opportunities to socialise!
Find a club
If you’ve been inspired to give adult gymnastics a try, find a class near you on the British Gymnastics website. Give them a call, and get involved!