Are you worried about your child’s overall health and fitness? Are you looking for some fun and exciting ways to incorporate physical exercise in your child’s daily routine? Well, if you can relate to the above situations reading this post may be of help.
A sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet have taken a toll on the health of one and all, and children are no exception. A recent research at the National Academy of Sciences reveals that nearly 30.2% of children between 6 and 11 years of age are overweight, and 15.3% are obese. Do you want to know ‘the workout’ that can help your child be physically fit and mentally alert? Well, we are talking about Pilates here. A safe and low impact workout like Pilates can work wonders for your child’s fitness. Want to know more about the benefits of Pilates for kids? Read on!
What Is Pilates For Kids?
Pilates is a body conditioning routine that helps to build strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination without adding any muscle bulk. Pilates is the brainchild of a German doctor Joseph H. Pilates (1). He came up with several exercises and equipments for helping immobilized soldiers during the World War I. In addition, he also developed some mat exercises that focused on strengthening the torso.
[ Read: Benefits Of Exercise For Children ]
Benefits Of Pilates Exercises For Children:
Pilates may help your child in the following ways:
1. Increases Flexibility:
Children need to be flexible to perform various physical activities like ballet, gymnastics, etc. The poses in Pilates help to keep a child’s muscle and tendons limber. Kids who follow this exercise regime are way more healthier.
2. Improves Concentration:
While performing the Pilates postures your child will need to focus on one part of his body. Pilates can help your child improve his concentration that will boost his performance in both academics and sports.
3. Helps Strengthen The Muscles:
The controlled movements in Pilates improve blood circulation and strengthen the body’s core muscles. A strong core or trunk helps a child conserve his energy and be more attentive to his school work. Pilates also helps tone the body and improve athletic performance.
4. Corrects The Posture:
Kids these days are glued to their television and computer screens for long hours, which adversely affect their posture. It also leads to recurrent back problems during adulthood. Kids who do Pilates regularly have a better posture and are less prone to injury. They also have better spinal alignment.
Methods Of Pilates:
There are two main methods of Pilates. These include:
- Mat exercises.
- Machine workout
[ Read: Aerobics For Kids ]
4 Best Pilates Exercises For Kids:
Many fitness institutes offer Pilates classes, but most of these exercises are easy to do at home. You just need to make sure your child is performing the exercises safely and effectively. Try watching Pilates exercise video before asking your child.
1. The Hundred (Bridge):
The Hundred Pilate move helps to build the abdominal strength by focussing on the core and using other extremities work on abdomen. You will pulse 100 times when performing these exercise and thus the name ‘The Hundred.’ But kids cannot do 100 consecutive pulses. Rather they can take breaks in between the exercise. It is a fun challenge for kids who are learning how to count.
Here is how to do:
- Let your child lie on her back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Tell her to keep the arms by her side so that her hands lie parallel to the abdomen.
- Place an exercise ball at her feet and let her hold it steady by keeping her legs over the ball.
- Now ask her to inhale and exhale for five counts each. Do as many times as possible and again return to the start position.
Pilates planks strengthen the core while engaging the upper body muscles. Use a mat to avoid hurting your kid’s elbows.
Here is how to do:
- Let you child start in a push-up position with feet apart, nearly shoulder width.
- Roll the ball back behind her feet and help her lift the feet over the ball.
- Hold her and she can either roll backwards over the ball or lower into a low push-up position.
- Also, offer support to her pelvic region.
3. Single Leg Stretch:
The Single leg stretch Pilate move works on the abdominals by increasing core stability and flexibility.
Here is how to do:
- Have your kid lay with face up and pelvic region in neutral alignment.
- Help her bring one knee up to the chest region while inhaling and exhaling.
- Inhale, grab the right knee using both the hands. Exhale, straighten the left leg.
- Then in the next turn while inhaling, take the left knee to the chest.
- Repeat 6 to 8 times with each leg.
4. Tick Tock Side Bend:
The Tick Tock Side Bend Pilate move helps to maintain good posture and strengthens the spine.
Here is how to do:
- Have your kid sit upright on a stool or chair with back straight and spine neutral alignment.
- Now make her bend the right ear towards right shoulder by stretching the left side and ribcage. Return to the starting point.
- Repeat the same towards left side. Ask her to inhale when in an upright position and exhale when bending towards the side. Repeat 4 to 6 times on each side
- Now ask her to rotate the spine towards the right and look over the right shoulder. Return to the starting point.
- Repeat the same towards left side. Ask her to inhale when rotating and exhale when returning to the start position. Repeat 4 to 6 times on each side.
[ Read: Stretching Exercises For Kids ]
Pilate Tips For Teaching Kids:
Pilates are a great way of exercise for children as they are inspiring, rewarding and make them healthy. Here are a few tips to make pilates fun for kids. Moreover, if you are looking to expand your teaching or setting up a studio, these following tips would help you.
1. Have Fun:
Teaching exercises for kids is quite different from teaching adults. Kids love to have fun. You need to keep the language simple by using words and phrases that your little ones will understand. For instance, use navel or abdomen instead of core or oblique.
2. Take Care Of Meltdowns:
Do not worry if your kid has a pilates meltdown. Just like some adults go through agitation when doing an exercise, kids can also cry or make a scene. Make sure you deal with sensitivity.
You should dress your kid in best clothes like tights or shorts and a tank top or Tshirt. And if your child complains of any pain or discomfort, you should better stop.
4. Trust Your Instincts:
Some kids are stronger, flexible and more fit who can quickly learn the moves. You can perform a basic fitness test to check their level. If you find that they are not flexible enough to do all the moves, do not involve inversion exercises.
5. Discuss About The Benefits:
While helping your kids in moves, try discussing the benefits they get from pilates. Tell them how they can become stronger, flexible and about their posture, alignment and concentration. You can also talk about how Pilates for children helps the body relax and reduce stress.
Things To Remember:
- As with any form of exercise, there is a risk of injury if children do not know the moves properly or are suffering from any other health condition. Make sure a professional trainer supervises your child while he performs Pilates. The fitness instructor will know how to modify the exercises to ensure your child does not get hurt.
- Beginners should start with basic Pilates exercises and graduate to advanced poses eventually.
- To make the workout more fun, you can name the different poses after your child’s favorite things!
Now you know how Pilates can help your child get fit from fat!
Did you enroll your child in a Pilates exercise program? Please tell us how it.
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