What impact does gymnastics have on your joints and bones?

Gymnastic exercises develop your physical agility and coordination. These can improve your bone, muscle and cognitive health. In addition, these types of exercises target all muscle groups for total-body strength and flexibility. Gymnastics also fights metabolic and immune disorders by lowering blood pressure and releasing antioxidant enzymes in your body.

Gymnasts perform acrobatic leaps, flips, turns, balances and more on a special piece of equipment.

The equipment usually includes uneven bars, balancing beams, horizontal and parallel bars, rings, and vaulting or pommel horses.

Gymnastics can be very beneficial for your overall fitness and health.

Improved flexibility

Gymnasts are more flexible than your average person. Their ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints are stronger. This is because the bends and twists they do alleviate muscle and joint stiffness.

Improved bone health

Gymnastic exercises can improve your bone health and strength. Gymnasts have increased lumbar support, bone mineral density and tissue mass because of the intense physical training gymnastics requires.

While gymnastics can improve your bone health and the flexibility of your joints, it also comes with a lot of risks of getting injured. Some injuries include:

Wrist Sprains

Your wrists are subjected to extreme forces when doing gymnastics. This is why it is easy for your wrists to get injured. It can be because of too much weight, or when your form is incorrect when landing on your wrists.

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Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury

While tumbling, dismounting or vaulting during gymnastic exercises, landing without the right form can result in ACL injuries. When landing, you hear or feel a “pop” of your knee. This is usually because the knee joint has dislocated out of its socket. It is usually followed by severe pain and swelling.

Knee injuries can be the make or break any gymnast’s career. You often hear of athletes having to retire because of knee injuries. So it’s very important that, once you’ve dislocated your knee, you take the correct amount of time to recover.

Achilles tendon injury

Your Achilles is one of the most vulnerable tendons in your body. It is responsible for your body’s propulsion and power when jumping and running. It also has to support your entire body’s weight while protecting your ankles.

Jumping activities during gymnastics can place a lot of stress on your Achilles tendon. Whether it is too much stress or simply landing wrong after a jump, your Achilles can be easily injured.

Foot and ankle injuries

Your ankles are one of the smallest joints in your body, yet it is responsible for supporting your entire body’s weight. Landing wrong after a jump can cause you to sprain your ankles.

Serious sprains can cause swelling, bruising and tenderness. Minor sprains usually include tenderness and a little bit of swelling.

Like your knee, it is very important to give your ankle the right amount of time to recover after an injury.

While gymnastic exercises can be beneficial for your joints’ flexibility and your bones’ health, the high-impact exercises that make up gymnastics can place a lot of stress on your joints and bones. It only takes one wrong landing to dislocate or sprain joints as well as one wrong fall to instantly break a bone.

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