Gymnastics and Eating DisordersWritten by Murray Hughes
Gymnastics can be a high-stress and high-maintenance sport for even most emotionally stalwart of children. After all, gymnastics pressures its participants for physical perfection -- for flawlessness of form in gymnastics routines and, sometimes, in appearance. You should always keep an eye on progress of your child or children. Meeting and opening up lines of communication with their coaches, speaking to their peers and their peers’ parents will help you keep watch over their physical and emotional states. Creating a network of eyes and ears like that will certainly take a load off of your mind, that’s for certain, especially if you find yourself unable to make all of your child’s meets or practices.
Emotional and Physical Distress
Emotional distress can most certainly develop as a result of peer judgment or insults and even from off-color comments made by coaches. You need to keep close watch over what happens here, because extreme emotional distress can result in more serious problems in future, including bulimia and anorexia, two of most common -- and most dangerous -- eating disorders known today. We will discuss those later, however. Be sure to talk to your child about how he or she is feeling. Talking will usually bring problems out into open, so that you can work toward correcting them and restoring confidence that is inherent in your child. Self confidence is one of many keys to good health and to success in gymnastics.
Physical distress is sometimes more easily spotted than emotional distress. If your child has been injured in an event or during practice, you can usually see bruises, scrapes, or swelling. Sometimes, though, physical distress in a gymnast can be somewhat puzzling. If your gymnast has suddenly taken ill, feels muscle cramps or stiffness, is fatigued all of time, or complains of general soreness, it may be wise to check up on his or her progress with coaches. Overexertion can definitely lead to problems--sometimes, it may even be necessary to decrease amount of strenuous exercise until conditions improve. In meantime, you should make sure that their nutrition is proper -- that they are eating enough, and, certainly, that they are taking in enough fluids.
Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that stems both from physical and emotional distress, in most case, as a result of judgment passed by peers or coaches or by society itself. In today’s world of stick-thin models, where appearance is everything, your gymnast may be pressured to drastically and quickly reduce body size. Typically, behavior associated with bulimics is binge eating and then purging. In other words, they may take in thousands of calories of fatty food, only to vomit it back up again; all while, they may also use laxatives. This will eat away at enamel of teeth, causing gums to recede (eventually, all of teeth may need to be removed), and also cause salivary glands to swell. The laxatives eventually cause rectal bleeding. A person who has this disorder may retreat to bathroom for long periods of time or keep large stashes of high-calorie food around house.
Carly Patterson: What Makes A Champion?Written by Murray Hughes
If you have been following gymnastics for any length of time, odds are you have heard of a particular gymnast by name of Carly Patterson. You probably also know that she is one of youngest female Olympic gymnasts ever - and that she has stunned world of late with her astounding abilities. In 2004, she became first all-around Olympic champion for United States in more than two decades, and was also first to win for US in past two games, an amazing feat indeed, considering these past Olympic games were fully attended! The last female all-around gymnastics champion for United States won in 1984, when Soviet Union had boycotted Olympics entirely.
Carly was born on February fourth, 1988, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to a pair of loving parents - her mother, Natalie, and her father, Ricky. She is first of a pair of girls (her younger sister is Jordan). Currently, she lives with her mother, her sister, and her pets in Allen, Texas. A straight-A student, she is almost a normal teenager when it comes to taste in music, boys, and shopping. However, one thing sets her apart from rest of crowd, even beyond her academics: she spends more than thirty hours a week training in her Texas academy. Of course, she could not have gotten to where she is currently without help. This logically leads to question -- what makes a champion?
Carly started early on with her gymnastics career. In 1994, she began taking classes after attending a friend’s birthday party at Gymnastics Elite, a gym facility in Baton Rouge, and meeting head coach there. After five years of training, what began as a sport became a true career: she won her first state title in 1999 for Louisiana.
Then, she and her family moved to Texas, which gave her chance to train at some of best gymnastics gyms in United States. She worked with Evgeny Marchenko and his team at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy in Plano, Texas, and within a year completed Top Gym Tournament in Belgium in second place, taking bronze medal in beam event, and won all-around gold at American Team Cup. Thus began her rise to super-stardom in world of gymnastics. She took dozens of titles, national and international, competing across globe. Then, of course, she competed in 2004 Olympics…and rest, as they say, is history.