The word 'gymnastics' brings the image of highly flexible individuals dressed in colourful clothes performing activities which most of us wouldn't dream of. The word conjures up images of women performing stunts on a balance beam and men swiveling around the high bar in a very bright setting. That is just one type of gymnastics and what many of us do not realise is that gymnastics is not just an entertainment sport. It is also a competitive one which has a dedicated base of players and performers.
Gymnastic activities cannot be defined appropriately without first dividing them into categories. In other words, gymnastics are of many categories. Let us list them:
Artistic gymnastics are the most popular form of gymnastics and a discipline in which the performers perform short routines in different apparatus in a single performance.
The discipline is divided into men's and women's categories.
Women in artistic gymnastics compete in four events – Vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise.
Participants in artistic gymnastics compete in six events - Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Still Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, and High Bar.
Rhythmic gymnastics is a discipline where gymnasts perform to music.
The exercises include dance moves and gymnastic moves which are performed without many gymnastics apparatus.
Only women are allowed to compete in rhythmic gymnastics.
The sport combines elements of ballet, dance, and apparatus manipulation.
A typical performance makes use hoops, ribbons, balls, clubs, and rope.
Group routines are also performed by rhythmic gymnasts with each group consisting of five gymnasts who use five apparatuses based on their choice.
Aerobic gymnastics is also known as sport aerobics and is a competitive sport combining the elements of aerobics with rhythmic gymnastics.
Aerobic gymnastics also combines elements of music, dance, and choreography.
Both men and women can perform in aerobic gymnastics and a team may not necessarily be single gendered.
The time span of a performance varies with the age group with children performing for shorter time periods while adults giving longer performances.
Apart from the categories described above, there are other types of gymnastics as well. One form which is very similar to rhythmic gymnastics is the aesthetic group gymnastics. In this sport, large groups participate in a performance. It is different from rhythmic gymnastics in the fact that it features much larger teams and spread out performances.
Gymnastics is a renowned sports and learning it has many benefits. The most apparent benefit of gymnastics is flexibility, as the sport involves a lot of stretching exercises but it is not the only one. Gymnastics help develop strength and coordination of the body. Not only does one receive physical advantages, gymnastic activities usually help people learn about teamwork and coordinating with everyone else. Discipline, growth in self confidence, and overall character development are also important achievements of anyone learning gymnastics.