In the last few years, there has been a concentrated effort to introduce Pilates to children. The most common reason children start is because they are little bit uncoordinated, don’t participate in sport and feel self-conscious about joining in with physical activities with their friends, because they are just not as good as their friends. This is not innate and a lot of their insecurities and abilities can be addressed with training.
For this reason, Pilates for Kids can have a significant impact on children’s health and social aspect.
My team has trained children from the age of seven through to their teenage years and adulthood. We’ve seen children blossom in their coordination, participation and their behaviour. Not only is Pilates an exercise regime, it also helps their concentration, they can focus more on their schoolwork, and many parents notice a change in their behaviour, for the better.
I see the top five benefits of Pilates for Kids are as these:
1. Greater coordination
Working on coordination is a major factor in Pilates, especially for kids. It’s also a great way in helping them develop skills such as performing two different tasks at the same time. For example, jumping on a trampoline and throwing a ball at the same time. As their skills improve, the exercise becomes more complicated and challenging to allow children to reach their full potential.
2. Improved agility and power
Incorporating different physical exercise can increase children’s agility and power. For example, running drills that involve changing direction and speed. What we practice at our centre is then translated outside when they play sport or other activities.
3. Better balance
There is no doubt that all exercises require some degree of balance whether it’s easy (focusing on one direction) or harder (focusing on two or three directions). Our aim is to challenge the balance of the child each session through our Pilates program, so their brain adapts and their motor skills improve.
4. Improved strength
As children grow, their posture strength improves. It’s important to focus on this at an earlier stage as children go through growth spurts quite regularly. This is introduced in more traditional Pilates to work directly on their postural strength.
5. Increased participation in sport and other activities
Our main focus with Pilates for Kids is not working on their perfect posture, muscle tone or core stability, but rather to see an improvement and change in a child’s ability to participate in school/weekend sport activities. Kids will not express to us that they “feel more agile, and healthy” - we can just see a change in their behaviour. We see a lot of children who are socially withdrawn and their parents arrange for them to attend our Pilates program – it may be that they’re not participating with their friends on a lunch time activity. Our aim is to build up children’s confidence and motivate them in becoming socially interactive.
It’s rewarding when we see a difference in a child’s behaviour through Pilates, because we know that what we are doing is working.