Joseph Pilates' dream was to have his method of exercise taught in every school and every hospital around the USA, if not the world. All these years later he could never have imagined how popular his unique method of exercise would become, but in the modern world, the need for children's Pilates classes has never been greater. Many of my clients who started Pilates well into adulthood have often commented that they wished they had the opportunity to learn these valuable Pilates skills and been educated on how to move their bodies more efficiently as children and their lives would have been so much easier.
"Civilization Impairs Physical Fitness" - Joseph Pilates
Unfortunately, many children are just as sedentary as adults now, due to their overuse of electronic devices. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, carer or a concerned friend, we all owe it to the younger generation to guide and encourage them to move as much possible to develop their physical fitness in conjunction with their mental abilities to ensure their long term health and well-being.
Pilares Classes For Children
Many studios offer either specialised classes for children and teenagers or private or semi-private sessions which cater specifically to each child's needs. Search online to find a qualified teacher in your area and make sure they have experience working with children. When I had my dance school I introduced a weekly Pilates Mat Class for Performance Group students who were selected to represent the school at Eisteddfods, Competitions and public performances. Designed to improve their core stability, increase general strength, flexibility and prevent injury, it was very rewarding to see their progress which was reflected in their dancing. Children usually progress far more quickly than adults as they absorb information rapidly and are receptive to making changes in their bodies such as correcting poor posture, for example.
At What Age Should Children Start Pilates?
This depends on the age, development and individual needs of the child. The youngest children in my mat class were 7 years old but they were extremely talented dancers who were highly intelligent and motivated to learn. Several of my Pilates colleagues were fortunate enough to start their Pilates training at 11 or 12 years old, also as cross-training for dancing. The needs of a sedentary child with more poor posture will be very different from the needs of a young dancer or athlete and it's essential to find the correct Pilates class or teacher who can accommodate this so that each child can reach their full potential.
What Are The Alternatives To Attending a Pilates Class?
If actually attending a Pilates class is not possible for your child or they are too young, there are other options you can pursue to improve their physical fitness and body awareness which will establish a solid movement foundation. Firstly, try to encourage them to explore movement from a young age, through play using equipment at parks for climbing, balancing and jumping. Walking and running on sand and climbing on rocks in nature at the beach, for example, is also a great option. Sadly, I heard of a family recently who went on a beach holiday and the three children, all under 13, refused to leave their bedrooms in favour spending each day on their electronic devices instead of going to the beach. This is quite tragic and we really don't know the full extent of the damage this is doing. Secondly, Ballet and Martial Arts are also excellent disciplines, again always with fully qualified experienced teachers. A background in these disciplines makes learning Pilates later in life much easier. Whatever options you have available to you to offer the children in your life, try to give them as many movement opportunities as you can. You are nurturing and supporting the development of the next generation and movement is essential for a good quality of life.
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