Perhaps one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to keep fit - but maybe less considered - is to take up cheerleading. In the US it is more widely known as a popular mainstream way to maintain your fitness - but it is steadily growing across the pond here in the UK too.
At Living Cheer, we supply everything from cheerleading bows, trainers, uniforms and poms - but although the outfits and cheerleading chants are undeniably fun - we are quick to point out that anyone thinking cheerleading is a light sport couldn’t be more mistaken.
It’s probably one of the most challenging and disciplined sports you’ll come across. Which is exactly why it has such a range of excellent health and fitness benefits:
Serious Physical Health Benefits
The health benefits are tremendous, and the fitness requirements equally intense. Like dancers and gymnasts, cheerleaders are incredibly strong, flexible, well balanced and as a sport it can help build strong cardiovascular systems.
This means that when you put on a cheerleading uniform and pick up those poms, you are preparing to combine fitness, stamina, strength and flexibility.
There are also cardio benefits to be gained from the volume of jumps, runs and physical dance that need to be maintained throughout long cheer routines. This leads to strong legs and a healthy heart, and helps to keep blood pressure low.
The gymnastics moves, throwing and lifting, meanwhile, create incredibly strong and lean muscles, and the combination of cardiovascular and strength training helps keep obesity at bay, therefore reducing the risk of related illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, strong muscles help to put you at a lesser risk of arthritis and osteoporosis, so as cheerleaders are working on these non-stop, they are also getting these health benefits.
Mental Health Benefits
As well as the physical gains, cheerleading promotes a broad range of life and mental skills. For example, it demands excellent communication and co-operation due to its team nature.
One of the reasons for this is that cheerleaders often socialise and maintain friendships within their squad, which leads to social benefits and mental strength.
Studies also suggest that cheerleaders are at a lesser risk of anxiety, sleep disorders and insomnia - the NHS website states that exercise in general helps to reduce the risk of depression by 30%.
And Anxiety.org reported on a study by the University of Toronto that specified team sports had greater benefits to helping people reduce their risk of depression in later life.
So there are many health and fitness benefits to cheerleading, making it one of the best sports around to get involved in for improving your overall well-being.
So if you’re already in a squad then this gives you even more focus and motivation for the great rewards you’re getting as well as satisfaction from training and competing - and if you’re new to the sport, then get yourself a cheerleading costume, a good pair of cheer trainers and start enjoying these benefits.