If you are at all familiar with the history of Pilates you may have heard some of Joseph Pilates’ famous quotes from “Physical Fitness is the first requisite of happiness” to “ The Mind when housed within a healthful body possesses a glorious sense of power”. Mr. Pilates also firmly believed in the health of our children and held true to his belief in “First Educate the Child”.
Both good and bad habits begin to be formed in early childhood. Joseph Pilates believed that if we could introduce his form of exercise into a child’s routine it would help them create good physical habits early on in life. It was his dream to have children learn his exercise so they would grow up knowing how to properly take care of their bodies. Pilates can help establish a correct foundation of movement that children will use for their entire lives. It will also create a balanced musculature that can reduce pain and minimize the potential risk for injury now and as they continue to grow.
Kids and Teens between the ages of 11 and 14 are at the most vulnerable stage for injury and injury prevention. As children grow, their bodies are in a constant state of change and development. Their bodies are changing as they enter puberty and most also see incredible growth spurts during this time period as well. Besides the physical changes during this time there are also a lot of emotional changes going on during these Middle School years. Societal pressures of fitting in and performing well in school add to the vulnerability of this age group. I feel this is the Magic Window to try and educate pre-teens and teens on this form of exercise that will help them prepare their bodies and minds as they grow into adulthood.
It’s true that when you take care of your body with proper nutrition and fitness, you look and feel better overall. This is what Pilates can do for children and teens, no matter what their fitness level or athletic ability. Pilates helps children gain awareness of their body and how it works…the way they walk, bend, lift etc. Pilates improves the way the body functions, looks and feels – and knowing the in’s and out’s of your body can lead to greater self-esteem.
I have had the pleasure of working with several Middle School and High School groups in an effort to carry on Joseph Pilates tradition to educate the child. It was a privilege to bring my passion of teaching wellness to these children most of whom had never even heard of Pilates before. Eating fast food, watching TV and playing video games has become the norm in these kids lives while a nutritious diet and physical activity are on the downslide.
HERE’S WHAT SOME OF THE KIDS HAD TO SAY ABOUT PILATES:
” I DID PILATES LAST NIGHT WHEN I COULDN’T FALL ASLEEP”
“PILATES HELPS ME RELAX AND FOCUS BEFORE A TEST”
“PILATES HELPS ME PLAY SPORTS BETTER”
A regular and consistent fitness program makes your body strong and flexible, helps you think more clearly and makes you feel more confident. Pilates helps develop a general understanding on the importance of connecting the mind and body with fitness – and such benefits are clearly in the interest of building a solid foundation for an active, healthy lifestyle. Pilates isn’t just about going through the motions– it’s about the experience one gets out of it and the familiarity you gain with understanding you own body. So children can learn to love their bodies no matter what.