WHY CHILDREN AND TEENS SHOULD DO PILATES?

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The health of today’s children is compromised by a culture of convenience and increasingly sedentary activity. Eating fast food, watching TV and playing video games has become habitual while a nutritious diet and physical activity is on the downslide.

Being the owner of a Pilates studio, a Pilates instructor and, more importantly, a mother of 5 children, I am very concerned about their health.

At Sandrine’s Pilates we have created classes for children (6 to 13 years old). Additionally, children are welcome to come to any group classes with their parents (Mat class, Tye4 and BarrePlus). I personally join our tye4 class with my son Logan (7) and my partner Brendan goes to Mat class with my daughter, Apolline (10).

As parents it is our responsibility to look after our children’s health and fitness and to be a positive influence in their life.

Furthermore, our teenagers can join any classes at the studio. My son Alec (19) enjoys TRX, yet my daughter Perrine (17) prefers to go to reformer or BarrePlus classes.

We have such diversity in our classes at the studio meaning that everyone gets something out of it.

We have a few children coming to the studio, including young athletes and we love seeing their determination and progress. We help them if they suffer from scoliosis but we also make them injury-free if they practice other sports. I also find that our classes are great to help our young girls and boys to develop their confidence with body, making our classes perfect for their self-esteem.

From my own experience, children are best at jumping; running, skipping and doing what children love doing – being free and wild. At this young age, they need to start getting in touch with their bodies through everyday activities and by being active with movement. As children grow their bodies are in a constant state of change and development.

Starting this process early and making it fun will help them to do more structured movement, Pilates also helps to improve concentration. It will also help them to develop a good mind and muscle connection as they grow.

A recent report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that approximately 30.3% of children between the ages of 6 to 11 are overweight and that 15.3% are obese. For adolescents between the ages of 12 to 19, 30.4% are overweight and 15.5% are obese. Concerned parents are now looking at exercise programs for their children in an effort to keep them fit and set them up for a lifetime of good health.

A rigorous exercise regimen, however, may not be beneficial for young children and could even be harmful. The concern stems from the fact that a young child’s developing skeletal frame cannot handle the demanding forms of exercise in more aerobic-oriented or cardiovascular programs. For these children, a safer, healthier, low-impact workout is needed such as Pilates.

While the popularity of Pilates among adults is well known, the exercise programme also offers a large range of benefits to children.

Benefits of Pilates for children:

Improved posture and spinal alignment

Body awareness

Balance

Mental concentration

Injury prevention

Strength and Flexibility

Weight management

Self Esteem and confidence

Improve athletic performance

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