#MitoGIM: Gymnastics, Mitochondria, and Us…

Let us learn science in a fun way. This will be the motto of the MitoGIM project during the Coimbra Gym Fest and Trampoline World Cup 2022.

Communicating science is fundamental in the development of good literacy, as well as raising awareness at all ages, starting with children and young people for many daily problems. Scientists from the School of Sports and Physical Education and the CNC – Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, led by PhD student Ana Pedrosa, will engage gymnasts, officials, coaches, families, and others in the MitoGIM project. The scientists will engage the gymnasts and the public in discussions on how our cells generate energy in mitochondria, our “powerhouses”. There will also be discussions on how a better understanding of the body’s functioning is essential for more informed health decisions, promoting healthy lifestyles and well-being. This activity requires the participation of everybody, especially the gymnasts, and everybody involved in this important international gymnastics event.

At the MitoGIM booth, the scientists will:

– Raise awareness of families about sports and healthy eating to improve their metabolism and maintain themselves healthy through individual and/or collective games and immersive activities, which provide moments of shared knowledge and fun.

 – Engage gymnasts as #MitoGIM ambassadors in the adoption of humane lifestyles.

 – Describe the work being produced at the University of Coimbra on these topics.

Activities include the “MitoHealth” game, which consists of creating pieces alluding to food and lifestyles. The game will have 2 plates, one positive, and one negative. The challenge is to place the pieces in the right place to identify the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ lifestyles and foods for mitochondrial health. Also, in a co-creative process, gymnasts from different countries will help the scientists generate the storyboard for a comic that will be produced after the event. This will hopefully drive more young (and not so young) individuals to engage in gymnastics for a healthy lifestyle. Finally, “MitoShine” will engage participants to build mitochondria with available materials to bring home as souvenirs (clue, they can be excellent Christmas ornaments!).

The MitoGIM project is expected to promote better lifestyles among gymnasts and non-gymnasts. The gymnasts are expected to better understand fundamental concepts with a positive impact on increasing their performance and feel MitoGIM ambassadors.

Gymnastics today, more mitochondria and energy tomorrow! Lifelong health starts with mitochondria!