Besides being a high-level competition sport, Gymnastics also constitutes the foundation of all sports disciplines. Everyone can be engaged in Gymnastics for All regardless of age, appearance and physical skills. In fact, Gymnastics for All is the embodiment of fun, healthy lifestyle and philosophy of friendship.
There are two FIG events in this gymnastics discipline: the World Gymnaestrada and the World Gym for Life Challenge which are held at four-year intervals.
A festival atmosphere prevails at the World Gymnaestrada where only creative exhibition routines are demonstrated. Young and old, beginners or professional gymnasts can participate here. The only stipulation is that they must be a part of a group of at least 10 people. The groups, distinguished themselves with their routines within a week, perform at Gala followed by the Closing Ceremony.
Unlike the World Gymnaestrada, performances at the World Gym for Life Challenge are evaluated based on creativity and originality. Nevertheless, there are more friendly relations between the participating groups rather than tension of the competition. They advise each other how to improve their skills during the workshops they attend together. There is no limit to the number of gymnasts, except the requirement to have at least two gymnasts within the group. The participants perform within the small (20 or fewer gymnasts) and large (21 or more gymnasts) gymnastics & dance groups as well as the small and large groups demonstrating their performances on or with large apparatus. Routines lasting about 5 minutes are performed on 20x30 meter floor. Use of apparatus, such as mini-trampolines, parallel bars, hoops or ribbons, is optional. Performing to music is strongly encouraged.
In European Gymnastics, Gymnastics for All comprises EUROGYM, European Gym for Life Challenge and Golden Age Gym Festival. The main objective of the biennial EUROGYM is to unite young people of Europe at a non-competitive event. The performances at European Gym for Life Challenge, which play a great role in improvement of group performances’ quality, are judged by 4 experts experienced in execution, artistry, technical skills and choreography. Bringing together people aged 50 and older, the Golden Age Gym Festival highlights the importance of exercise in daily life.
4,000 years ago, the people of China practiced Gymnastics exercises to benefit their health and promote longevity. Gymnastics had a special place in Ancient Greece, where perfection of the human physique was strongly encouraged. In ancient Rome, Gymnastics was used to turn the soldiers into finely tuned machines. Thanks to the efforts of the German educator and writer Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, gymnastics ground, equipped with gymnastics apparatus, was put into operation in 1811. The Swedish system, based on scientific principles, has played a major role in the development of Gymnastics for All. As a result of the works carried out by Per Henrik Ling, gymnastics institute was established in 1813.
Nicolas Cuperus from Belgium, who founded the FIG in 1881, believed that gymnastics was very good for the human body and mind, and proposed the idea of non-competitive gymnastics aimed at wide audience. Only a small number of his associates supported his idea, and over the years, competitions were integrated into the FIG's activities. Nevertheless, Cuperus's idea of “Gymnastics for the masses” did not disappear. He continued to develop his preferred sports brand.
Today, Gymnastics for All movement strives to bring nations together through a world of physical activity and movement, contributing to global health, fitness and friendship. By performing daily gymnastics exercises, everyone can join this movement.
With the election of First Vice-President of Azerbaijan Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva as President of Azerbaijan Gymnastics Federation (AGF) in October 2002, some kind of revival period of gymnastics disciplines commenced in Azerbaijan.
Over the years, the development of competitive gymnastics disciplines in our country reached such a level that it paved the way for establishment of Gymnastics for All discipline.
The spectators showed great interest in the Gala performances and Opening Ceremonies organized within the framework of large-scale international competitions held in Baku. The non-competitive atmosphere, dominated here, brought great gladness to everyone gathered in the hall, and the harmony of the gymnastics elements with the musical pieces suited everyone's taste.
The first Gymnastics for All national event in our country is considered to be a fairy tale performance held on the New Year’s Eve in 2010. Since that year, gymnasts, coaches and choreographers of the Azerbaijani National Teams in 6 gymnastics disciplines recognized by the FIG, unite under the Gymnastics for All and make happy all spectators, from children to adults, traditionally at the end of each year.
At the Opening Ceremonies of the major international competitions held in Baku since 2014, the representatives of Gymnastics for All in our country amaze the participants with their colourful and mysterious performances dedicated to certain topics.
With the participation of the Azerbaijani gymnasts in the 15th World Gymnaestrada held in Helsinki (Finland) in 2015, the foundation of the non-competitive gymnastics discipline - Gymnastics for All was laid in our country.
The National Team of Azerbaijan participated in the World Gym for Life Challenge in 2017 (Vestfold, Norway) for the first time. Our team, performed among 47 small groups, was included into the list of 6 groups, which won the Gold medals and obtained a right to participate in the magnificent Gala.
In 2018, there was held the 1st European Gym for Life Challenge in the City of Liege, Belgium. In this event, where all participants won medals, our team was awarded with the Gold medal and was honoured with a diploma in the nomination of "Best Costume".
In 2017, AGF organized Golden Age show within the framework of national gymnastics competitions for the first time. Having demonstrated beautiful performances, the coaches, who ended their gymnastics careers years ago, exhibited to the spectators that gymnastics can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age. In 2018, another show of this kind took place.
By cooperating with sports clubs and societies duly registered on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, AGF is currently carrying out works directed to the development of Gymnastics for All and increase a mass participation in this discipline, which promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Only in Europe, there are 10,000,000 gymnasts engaged in Gymnastics for All as active members of clubs and national federations.
About 70,000 participants from around the world joined the German International Gymnastics Festival held in Berlin in 2017.
Switzerland is one of the European countries where Gymnastics for All is popular. The Swiss Federal Gymnastics Festival, held here once every six years, is very welcomed by the population. The event held in 2019, was attended by 62000 gymnasts representing 2344 clubs.
More than 20000 participants from 53 countries took part in the World Gymnaestrada held in Helsinki in 2015.
At the colourful Opening Ceremony of the World Gymnaestrada, each delegation marches into the venue with the national banner in a manner similar to the Olympic Games.
Some Federations, participating in the World Gymnaestrada, hold special events dedicated to performances promoting the culture of their countries.
The top groups at the World Gym for Life Challenge are invited to perform at a Closing Gala, where a special trophy, named after former FIG President Bruno Grandi, is awarded to the top-rated group.
Persons, assessing the performances at the World Gym for Life Challenge, are called evaluators, not judges.