You Can Do This: Gym­nas­tics

You read that right – take it from world champ, Bianca Zoonekynd

Women's Health (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - By Michelle Oc­to­ber

When peo­ple think about gym­nas­tics, they pic­ture some­one, like gold medal­list Bianca Zoonekynd, sus­pended in mid-air, body bend­ing into a som­er­sault or the splits. Im­pres­sive? Hells yes. But while those tricks may be the goal, the train­ing to get there is sur­pris­ingly ac­ces­si­ble, says Bianca, who also teaches be­gin­ners gym­nas­tics to kids. “We do a lot of small things like bal­anc­ing and throw­ing balls, so you’re build­ing hand­eye co­or­di­na­tion and bal­ance at the same time,” she says. Even if you have no de­sire to at­tempt a back­flip ever, in­cor­po­rat­ing this kind of train­ing into your ex­er­cise rou­tine will pep up your body and your mind.

YOU’LL BE SHARPER.

Bianca does tram­polin­ing and tum­bling, both of which in­volve jump­ing up and down. But un­like just jump­ing on a tram­po­line for fun, you need to land in a spe­cific spot, which re­quires co­or­di­na­tion and spa­tial aware­ness and be­ing able to see where you are in mid-air. Nail­ing that co­or­di­na­tion is what earns ath­letes a gold medal in com­pe­ti­tions. “What sep­a­rates ev­ery­one is whether you land in that red block,” says Bianca. “Even if your lit­tle toe is out, it can take you from first place to sixth place.” But you don’t have to be do­ing triple som­er­saults to tap into the ben­e­fits. Bought your kids one of those gar­den tram­po­lines? Do­ing ba­sic jumps on it will sharpen your re­ac­tion times. And then you can start hav­ing fun by, say, jump­ing from your feet onto your back and onto your feet again. Bonus: you’ll get a killer car­dio work­out with­out even re­al­is­ing it.

YOU’LL GAIN EN­DURANCE.

“With just my gym­nas­tics train­ing I can do triathlons like the Cor­po­rate Iron­man,” says Bianca. That’s be­cause prac­tis­ing ex­plo­sive moves over and over for sus­tained pe­ri­ods of time has given her im­proved mus­cle en­durance. Not only that, it’s helped her build tenac­ity. “It helps with push­ing through things; you don’t just wanna give up,” she says. Case in point: her triathlons. “I don’t re­ally en­joy run­ning and swim­ming, but be­cause of gym­nas­tics I’m able to push through things I don’t re­ally en­joy and cross the fin­ish line.”

YOU’LL SCULPT A STRONG CORE.

All the jump­ing around Bianca does needs to be ex­e­cuted with

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