Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mamun Clears The Clouds Surrounding Her Rumored Retirement

During the previous weeks, people have been speculating that Margarita “Rita” Mamun has retired from being a rhythmic gymnast. A lot of the fans are sad because they believe this is her most glorious time yet, after she has won the gold in the Rio Olympics All-around Championship. Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation President Irina Viner-Usmanova’s statement didn’t help at all in the cloud that is surrounding Mamun’s real state on the sport. The President said in an interview that Mamun has not trained for a while and she doesn’t expect her to come back.

To clear all these confusions, Mamun has finally spoken. In an interview with a Russian paper, Sport-Express, Mamun talked about her life after the 2016 Olympics, her relationship with swimmer Alexander Sukhorukov, and what her future plans are. The interview is in Russian and we tried our best to translate it so everyone can have an idea of what Mamun’s statements are.

The first question was, of course, the situation with her career. Mamun answered this by saying that she was merely in a hiatus due to back aches. It needed to be fully rehabilitated before she could go back to rhythmic gymnastics. She clarified that she’s still in the team and she did not go. As a matter of fact, she hopes to come back and perform once again. However, Mamun also said that if she would retire or not, all depends on her health. The decision would be announced later if she would fully recover or not.

When asked about her life after the Olympics, Mamun expressed her feelings about the public functions or galas she was invited to. She believed it was not for her, as she is not the kind of person who quickly makes new friends and immediately feels comfortable with strangers. Not surprisingly, she has already been invited to one of the dance shows, but she refused as her back wouldn’t allow her to dance. Although, she believes she has some dancing stuff she need to learn, teach girls in Novogorske, or open a gymnastics school.

Mamun wasn’t sure about coaching, and said it was still all guesswork. If there is something she would love to do after retiring, it was to enroll in an art class. She has this favorite hobby, which is painting, and she would love to put more time into that hobby of hers. She was looking into maybe even designing.

Mamun and Sukhorukov were engaged on December and the rhythmic gymnast said she answered yes without any hesitation. Their relationship has struggled during the last Olympic cycle as training forced them apart. But they succeeded in that obstacle and after everything, they vacationed in Dubai. Right now the date is still not chosen, but the wedding would be in the summer.

Keep up with the latest news and updates about the sport of gymnastics by following our official blogs and social media sites. Enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy and learn gymnastics for kids with us! Come and experience world class training and education!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Nastia Liukin, Youngest Texas Sports Hall Of Famer

February 21, 2017 marks the day when the 27-year-old artistic gymnast Nastia Liukin becomes the youngest member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017 with seven other members. This is the sixth in a series of profiles on the Texas Sports Hall of Fame induction class.

Gymnastics has taken me places I never thought I’d go,” she said. “It’s still part of my life today. It’s what I loved to do as a young child, I had a passion for it, which is why I went as far as I did. It’s really exciting to be honored for something that was such a big part of your every-day life.”

Liukin has grown to be one of the top gymnasts in the world with her nine medals at the World Championship, five medals at the Olympic Games and the gold medal in the all-around at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Her passion for gymnastics has brought her not only to a ride all over the word, but also to record-setting heights.

Nastia Liukin’s Life

Nastia was born on October 30, 1989 in Moscow to a father that is an artistic gymnast and two-time gold-medalist at the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea—Valeri Liukin. Also, her mother is a world champion in rhythmic gymnastics in 1987 named Anna Kotchneva. Having both parents from the sport of gymnastics, people naturally assume they put her up to follow on their steps, but Liukin debunks this.

“When we moved to Texas, we didn’t have the money for a babysitter to watch me all day long,” Liukin said. “So I spent the days at the gym with my parents. Luckily for them, I fell in love with gymnastics. People thought because my parents were successful gymnasts that they pushed me to follow in their footsteps, but it was the opposite. I wanted to do gymnastics because it made me happy.”

Their family has moved to US when Liukin was just two years old, in search of a new start after the fall of the Soviet Union. They then settled in Texas after being in New Orleans for a while. Her father and his former teammate opened a gym in Plano called World Olympic Gymnastics Academy. This is what became as Liukin’s second home.

Nastia Liukin’s Career

By spending too much time in the gym, the Olympian has fallen in love with gymnastics that she devoted too much time on it until her talents began to show. By the age of six, she has registered for her first gymnastics competition, her father as the coach. That was the beginning of her budding start career.

At the age of twelve, Liukin competed in her first junior national meet. She did not finish splendidly at it, but she qualified herself for USA’s Junior Pan Am team. At that event, she finished second in the all-around, helping Americans claim a team gold medal. Since then, Liukin grew and matured to the point that she even won multiple junior national and world titles.

Like many other athletes, Liukin has dreamt of becoming an Olympian, although she said it was hard to say when the Olympics became a reality. When she was on the age ten to twelve, it was when it started to become achievable. Only one thing stood in her way: she was not as powerful when it comes to upper-body strength like her other world-class competitors. She made up for it with her unmatched balance and grace though, and became a beast on the uneven bars and the balance beam.

In 2007, she had an ankle injury which prevented her to compete much on that season. Liukin being a strong-willed athlete, she came back with a fury, determined to make her dreams come true. She won the American Cup and finished second at the US Championships. At the US Olympic Trials, she won a second place, which gave her ticket to the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.

In China, she showed the world what she has to offer with the performance of her lifetime. She brought home five medals in all, including helping the US women to a team silver medal. Among all awards, she also claimed that “heavyweight belt” of gymnastics, defeating US teammate Shawn Johnson for the all-around title and a gold-medal.

After that win, she had a layoff because of tours. She immediately got back to training soon enough, in hopes of returning to Olympics in London. However, Liukin couldn’t bring back her old flame. She fell face-first on the mat during the bars competition of the US Olympic Trials. She stood up and finished her routine, but she has lost her chance for another Olympic Games.

Although she did not have any regrets at all, soon after that she announced her retirement from the sport. She was contented from having accomplished so much, add to all her medals a diploma from New York University, but she didn’t get away from her beloved sport that much. She still spent last summer in Rio as a part of NBC’s Olympic broadcasting team.

After all of that whirlwind of a career and life, now Nastia Liukin is a part of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame—before even turning 30.

Keep up with the latest news and updates about the sport of gymnastics by following our official blogs and social media sites. Enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy and learn gymnastics for kids with us! Come and experience world class training and education!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How To Safely Practice Gymnastics At Home

Gymnastics is a kind of sport that requires the following qualities: strength, flexibility and focus. To be a great gymnast, one must be dedicated to do their workouts and training on a daily basis for them to develop the physical qualities they need to perform better.

As parents of gymnasts or athletes, if we know that our kids really love their sport and are working hard on being successful at it, we also know that sometimes they forget about it. There are days when they want to stay home because they are lazy for some reasons, or that one of their friends in the sport is not going to train on that certain day and they don’t want to train alone, or they are just uncomfortable in the gym. There would always be a time when they don’t want to leave the house, and it is our job to make sure they are not slacking in their efforts to reach their dreams.

If they don’t want to leave the house, they might prefer to do their workouts at home. Luckily, there are some exercises that they will be able to practice at home which are safe and simple. Some of these exercises require sport equipment, but some of the trainings can be performed at home without the need to travel to a gym.

Listed below are some of the things we have to prepare in order for our kids to safely practice their gymnastics skills at home. Before beginning anything, we should keep in mind that before our kids performs any kind of workouts by themselves, they should seek the guidance of a fitness professional or their coach.

  • As the head of the house, we should make sure that our house has enough room for our kids to perform a gymnastics workout. Find a room that has enough space and clean it up to make sure that no obstacle can hinder the exercises that they will be performing.
  • We must find a high-quality gymnastics mat and put it on the floor on the space where we want our kids to perform their workouts.
  • We have to make sure that our kids are wearing comfortable clothes, preferably a loose-fitting one so that it won’t restrict their movements and they will be able to move freely.
  • Before doing any kind of workouts, we should make sure that our kids do a series of warm-up exercises such as jogging or walking. Working out while their muscles are cold can cause injury so they have to always remember that they include a set of warm-up exercises in their daily workout.
  • Aside from warm-up exercises, our kids have to perform stretching exercises as well to increase their flexibility and range of motion. Also, by stretching their muscles, they can reduce the possibility of a muscle strain, a thing that can hinder their workouts, even for a long term.

Although exercises can be done at home, our kids should be careful especially when performing intense workouts, as improper technique can cause injury. When performing their exercises at home, they can use educational videos and instruction manuals as their guide. We should also accompany our kids to a visit to their local gym every once in a while so that the instructor can correct their technique.

It is advised, however, that for a younger child it would be a safer bet if you would send him/her to a school that teaches gymnastics for kids. You could check and visit Bianka Panova Academy at 2 Bukit Merah Central, Singapore 159835 to see if we are the appropriate training ground for your child!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Are Gymnasts’ Bones Healthy?

Most people take for granted the health of their bones and only think about it once they are in midlife or later, by which time is can be too late to do very much to protect against serious bone loss and resulting fractures of all the physically-demanding activities they have done in their younger years. Especially athletes like gymnasts, who mostly start their gymnastics careers at a very young age, and sustains a lot of injuries their entire careers. So it would not be a surprise if sometimes we ask ourselves, are gymnasts’ bones healthy?

At What Age Does Bones Develop?

Researchers who study bone health said that concerns about the strength of one’s bones should start in childhood and continue through adolescence, because this is the time when the body builds most of the bone that must sustain it for the remaining years of life.

The best time to pay attention to bone development is from childhood through adolescence, since once the peak bone mass has been reached, further gains are minimal. Between ninety and ninety-six percent of girls’ peak bone mass are gained by age twenty, while for boys peaks occur only a few years later. Conversely, abut twenty-six percent of total adult bone is accrued in two years around the time the bone mass increases the most, at ages 12.5 in girls and 14.1 in boys. The amount of bones added during those two years is about the same as what is typically lost in the 30 years between ages 50 and 80.

In all of the mentioned years above where bone masses are developed, gymnasts have started training and probably ended their careers already. The peak times for gymnasts are around the same ages, from childhood to until twenty years old, so it means that while their bones are still developing they are doing harsh physical trainings and competitions simultaneously.

Growth and Gymnastics

Based on a study in 2004 published at “The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism,” the impact of stress and physical training on growth is influenced by a lot of different factors like the intensity of training, the type of exercise, and the time that the physical activity began. Competitive gymnasts spend usually between twenty-six and twenty-eight hours a week on training. Aside from this, the time spent on competing is at the same time of puberty. The said study proved that the intense physical training of gymnastics really does impact the musculoskeletal growth and maturation that is supposed to occur during puberty.

In the same study, the researchers evaluated growth and skeletal maturation in male and female artistic gymnasts between ages thirteen and twenty-three. The results reflected that both male and female artistic gymnasts were shorter and slimmer than normal girls and boys around the same age bracket, exhibiting a significant delay in skeletal maturation. This observation is also more evident in males. 

Artistic gymnasts have a reduction of growth potential, especially males, but the females of rhythmic gymnastics, on the other hand, only have a significantly delayed genetic predisposition for growth.

A study in the same journal, only conducted in 1999, evaluated 255 female rhythmic gymnasts from ages eleven to twenty-three years old during the 13th European Championships. The researchers studied the skeletal growth and sexual development in the said elites and they observed that the rhythmic gymnasts had a significant delay in both skeletal and pubertal maturation. However, the study states that the final adult height of the athletes was not expected to be affected by their involvement in gymnastics.

To read more gymnastics-related articles, visit our educational blogs. Experience a fun and imaginative gymnastics training, come and enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Does Exercise Help With Studying?

As a Dutch review of previous studies suggests, being physically active can have a positive effect on the child’s academic performance. The review examined 14 studies which include more than 12,000 children. According to those studies, engaging in physical exercise may help increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain, boosting the cognitive function of the children.

Writing in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers stated that they discovered strong evidence of a relation between physical activity and academic performance.

However, according to VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the authors of the said research, they stated that more accurate and reliable measurement instruments were required to examine the link in greater detail.

Dr. Amika Singh and colleagues were triggered to observe the connection between exercise and the child’s performance in the classroom due to concerns that the pressure to improve the grades and performance of the students could result into more time being spent in the classroom and very limited time to perform physical exercise.

So the authors identified ten observational and four interventional studies for review. Twelve of the mentioned studies were done in the U.S., one in Canada and one in South Africa. The sample sizes of the studies varied between fifty-three to twelve thousand subjects between the ages of six to eighteen years old, the period of follow-up ranges from eight weeks to more than five years.

As the study suggests, two of the reviewed researches were evaluated as being of high quality.

Blood flow

According to the researchers, they noticed a clear proof of a “significant positive relationship” between exercise and academic performance using those two studies as evidences.

The study suggests that the reason behind it is that exercise is responsible for increasing the blood and oxygen flow to the brain. The improvement in the blood and oxygen flow positively affects the cognitive functions of the brain. However, according to the researchers, more studies were needed to investigate the exact connection between physical activity and academic performance.

Participating in any kind of physical activity also helps in stress management, mood regulation, and it can also alleviate anxiety, helping children behave better in the classroom.

According to Dr Singh, “children who learn to participate in sport also learn to obey rules. This may mean they are more disciplined and able to concentrate better during lessons.”

“People always ask, ‘How much exercise do I need to do to get an A?’ We don’t know that, but we would like to find out,” said Dr. Singh. “Children should be active for at least one hour a day, for health reasons. But we also need to look at other things, like what kind of activities they should do, when they should do them and for how long.”

None of the studies used an objective measure of physical activity. Most of the studies instructed the subjects or their parents to write down how much physical activity they were getting.

More health and fitness related articles can be read by visiting our official blog sites. Experience a fun and exciting gymnastics education, come and join us at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy today!