Hi! I’m Anna, I’m 17 years old and I am a huge fan of Pilates. My experiences with Pilates have always been great, even from a young age. When I did Pilates as a child, I was able to progress faster in ballet because I was trained to be more flexible and stronger. While doing Pilates I become more aware of my breathing and muscle movement and this focus helps me improve my coordination. People my age are always go go go and I’ve found Pilates is a great way to refocus and relax during hectic times. The encouraging atmosphere of this discipline makes it enjoyable, rewarding, and, overall, a very positive experience. Parents may wonder if Pilates is right for their kids, but I think everyone should take the challenge. Here are the reasons I think Pilates is one of the best forms of exercise for kids and teens!
Physical Activity & Wellbeing
With the increased dependency on technology, young people are becoming less and less motivated to get exercise. 28% of Americans (80.2 million people) aged six and older are physically inactive, an alarming statistic considering sedentary lifestyles are linked to obesity and cardiovascular disease. Having this in mind, parents may be concerned that their child is not getting enough physical activity. Pilates is well known among adults for improving bodily performance, but it also offers many benefits to children. Finding an exercise regimen appropriate for children can be difficult because a young child’s developing skeletal frame cannot handle the challenging exercises in aerobic or cardiovascular programs. Pilates is a low-intensity form of exercise and children from all athletic backgrounds would be able to succeed in a beginner’s Pilates course. As they progress in the classes parents will see improvements in their child’s posture, body awareness, and coordination.
Development and Growth Spurts
From ages 11-14 children go through many growth spurts but their muscles do not grow at the same rate as their bodies so it is important to constantly work and develop these muscles to prevent injury during exercise. Pilates puts lots of focus on strengthening and elongating the muscles, and for children this ensures that theirs will mature at a fast pace. This can also keep children from falling behind in other physical activities they may participate in (sports, dance, etc.) and from losing the athletic abilities they worked hard to attain.
Flexibility and Strength
Improper balance of muscle strengthening and flexibility training increases the risk of exercise related injuries. Pilates is a great method for tempering flexibility with strength training. If muscles are not strengthened but are constantly stretched, the tissue surrounding your muscles loosens and makes injury due to overstretching or powerful muscular contractions more likely, but training prevents such injuries because the muscles will be strong enough to ensure the joints can move through their full range. The skills learned in Pilates also have applications in other activities that children may do. For example, improved arm and shoulder extension and rotation benefit swimmers and basketball players, longer strides for runners, and deeper knee bends and hip flexion for skiers.
Learning Pilates is a great way to get exercise, but it is also a fun activity to do with friends or family! Pilates is not competitive like many physical activities, so children will be able to focus more on exercising instead of trying to win. Kids will enjoy learning the different methods of Pilates and won’t feel discouraged if they don’t get everything right the first time. I have always had a great time learning Pilates and have seen improvements in both myself and others while taking the classes.
I hope your kids & teens enjoy their Pilates experience as much as I do!
The Pilates Project offers classes for Kids & Teens on the following days/times:
Tuesdays at 3:30 pm
Thursdays at 10:30 am
Wednesdays at 10:30 am
Thursdays at 5:00 pm
To view schedule or purchase one of our Kids & Teens class packs, click HERE