If you practice Pilates yourself (or even if you don’t) and you are considering classes for your kids, you might wonder if it’s a suitable practice for kids or not. Pilates is regarded as a great exercise all-rounder, but is its focus mainly on benefiting the adult body, or is it suitable for the whole family? Let’s take a look.
14 reasons why your kids should practice Pilates:
- Kids can develop mindfulness.
- Pilates creates body awareness.
- Kids learn to use their imaginations.
- It primes and strengthens kids for other activities.
- Kids can develop a solid health-focused foundation.
- Kids can develop lifelong friendships, external to school friendships.
- Pilates can be practiced throughout life.
- Kids can experience improved concentration.
- Kids feel empowered.
- Pilates is a safe, low-impact exercise for small children.
- Regular practice provides kids with strength, flexibility, and improved balance.
- Posture and spinal alignment are improved.
- Pilates reduces the risk of kid’s injuries.
- Kids can benefit from increased bone density.
While investigating this particular topic, I discovered that Pilates is a form of exercise that can be enjoyed by both young and old.
When I first started taking classes, I was quite stiff and my flexibility was nothing to remark on. If I could touch my toes, I was lucky. Since then, my flexibility has greatly improved, but it is obvious to me that if I had started Pilates as a child, I would be far more flexible and enjoy far more mobility right now. I strongly support the idea of kids doing Pilates, and if you want to learn a bit more about why, read through the points below.
Why Kids Should Do Pilates – 14 Simple Benefits of Pilates for Children
The world today is all about communication and information overload. Because of this, I find that Pilates lessons are highly applicable to kids. Getting the kids out for a Pilates class or even practicing at home together in your living room, is a great way to lure your kids away from their screens and get them doing something that is good for their bodies and minds.
Let’s take a closer look at my top 14 reasons why your kids should be doing Pilates below:
1. Kids can develop mindfulness.
As an adult, I have learned the value of mindfulness. Mindfulness is somewhat of a fine art. It’s all about living in the exact moment without allowing your mind and worries to rob you of its value. Mindfulness isn’t something that I learned overnight. It took practice because it was something that I had never done before. I firmly believe that the earlier kids learn mindfulness, the better it is for them.
Pilates is an excellent way to develop mindfulness in the young mind. It requires children to focus, fully apply themselves, and to forget about all other activities for the moment.
2. Pilates creates body awareness.
Kids can become awkward and embarrassed about their bodies as they grow older. A great way to combat these feelings and to ensure that they work through them is to help your child to be body aware. Understanding how the body develops and training the body for good muscle tone and development is a great way to do that. Pilates can help children to understand how to work the muscles of the body for the best possible results. This is something that will significantly benefit them while developing and also in their adult life.
3. Kids learn to use their imaginations.
While kid’s TV programs, computer programs, and mobile phone apps are clever these days, they do present the entire concept to kids on a platter. Gone are those days where children played outside, making up their own games and stories to follow. Nowadays, kids spend most of their leisure time admiring other people’s creative and imaginative works (on a variety of screens).
During Pilates classes, kids are allowed to learn and develop in the way kids do best; through play. Pilates promotes play and imaginative thinking. Today’s society is demanding on little children. It seems as if the world wants children to grow up too quickly, when, in reality, play, silliness, and creativity is essential to a child’s development. When doing a kid’s Pilates class, children are encouraged to be creative, think with an open mind, and have fun with their friends.
4. It primes and strengthens kids for other activities.
Kids are typically high-energy individuals, but it doesn’t automatically mean that they are strong and fit. Before kids can get involved in sporting activities, it is beneficial for them to have some strength and physical training. Doing Pilates helps to strengthen and develop all major muscle groups (especially the core muscles), which puts kids in the perfect position to simply choose the sport of their choice to get involved in. Their enhanced physical strength and fitness will stand them in good stead while learning and training.
5. Kids can develop a solid health-focused foundation.
It’s important for children to have a solid understanding of health and fitness. During their school years, your kids will encounter all types of other children. Some will be healthy, others won’t be. By ensuring that your child understands the concept of action and consequence (the correlation between healthy eating and exercise, and a good physique and feeling good), your child will be able to make healthier choices automatically, when they aren’t in your company.
Pilates promotes healthy living – the more your child is exposed to the concept of healthy lifestyle choices, the more prone he/she will be to making good decisions in the future.
6. Kids develop lifelong friendships, external to school friendships.
Making friendships in a school environment is very important, but what about making friendships outside of that environment? When I was in school, I remember being a victim of bullying. But, while all my school mates either participated in the bullying or avoided me for fear of being bullied themselves, I had an entire external group of friends that I had made from getting involved in hobbies and extramural activities. This was a saving grace for me and also helped me to realize that not all people are the same.
Joining a Pilates class can help your child to expand his/her network and to have a consistent support system, regardless of what might be happening in the school environment.
7. Pilates can be practiced throughout life.
Some of the sports and activities that we get our kids involved in cannot be practiced lifelong. Let’s take go-karting, for instance. Not all kids move on to be race car drivers. At some point, that hobby falls away and life takes over. Pilates is different. It is a healthy physical practice that can grow and develop with you. As you get older, the classes you attend can become more focused and challenging. This means that you can practice Pilates from a small child, until your last days. It’s a lifelong practice – and that’s valuable.
8. Kids can experience improved concentration.
One thing that kids often struggle with when they are in school is concentration. It is hard for kids to concentrate on lessons, homework, and/or activities. In a world and time where information overload is the norm, this isn’t too surprising. By introducing your child to Pilates, you provide him/her with the ideal opportunity to develop and improve concentration skills without even knowing it.
For kids, Pilates can be fun and entertaining, but it takes focus and practice to get right. While kids are learning the various exercises and how to do them correctly, they are also learning to concentrate. This will help them on the Pilates mat and in the classroom.
9. Kids feel empowered.
Pilates is a physical exercise where personal progress can be measured. Pilates classes are designed to become increasingly challenging. This means that an exercise or stretch that you struggle to do today, with practice, will become possible in a week or two. As a child learns this (that practice produces obvious results) and starts achieving goals in Pilates, a sense of accomplishment coupled with confidence is the result. When your child feels mentally and physically strong, feeling empowered is a natural side effect.
10. It is a safe, low-impact exercise for small children.
Of course, if you are keen on physical fitness and want your children to have a good foundation of health and fitness, you might want to get your child involved in physical exercise early on. This is a great idea, but you have to be careful as to what you choose for your child. A child’s developing skeletal frame is unable to handle a demanding or jarring form of exercise. Low impact, muscle-building exercise is preferred – and that is, precisely, what Pilates is.
11. Regular practice provides kids with strength, flexibility, and improved balance.
As children develop, their strength, flexibility, and balance slowly improve. Pilates, which has a massive focus on all 3 of these areas, helps kids to develop faster and more reliably. Watch as your child grows stronger, sturdier, and more flexible with regular Pilates practice.
12. Posture and spinal alignment (as well as overall back health) are improved.
While sitting at school desks, kids learn the art of slumping and bad posture. Pilates exercises are intended to strengthen the muscles on either side of the spine as well as the lower back, which helps to correct poor posture. It also creates body awareness, which means that kids become more aware of when they are sitting or standing incorrectly and can self-correct.
13. Pilates reduces the risk of kid’s injuries.
Pilates was initially developed as a form of rehab for soldiers coming home from WWI. Because of this, Pilates is considered a great way to develop strong and healthy muscles that recover quickly and that aren’t prone to easy injury. Expose your child to Pilates early on and expect fewer “ouchies” on the playground.
14. Kids can benefit from increased bone density.
Bone density is vitally important for kids; and as a parent, you have probably come to believe that kids get stronger bones from milk. That’s, unfortunately, not really the case. Bone density is improved by doing weight-bearing exercises. The more your child works with considerable weights, the denser you can expect his/her bones to become. What weights will children be using in Pilates? They will use their own body weight and the force of gravity.
Get Your Kids to Pilates Class
One of your first concerns is probably that your kids won’t enjoy doing Pilates with you. The good news is that there are dedicated kid’s Pilates classes available, which really does make things easier on you. If you know what you are doing, you could even follow a few kid-focused Pilates workouts on YouTube and do them with your kids. Chances are that they will have spans of fun…and then they will be hooked!