The benefits of Pilates among adults has been praised for years. However, the exercise program is also becoming increasingly popular for teens. The teenage years are marked by change, including growth spurts, puberty and emotional development. It is also a time where more demand is placed on the body with sporting commitments, extra-curricular activities and more time sitting at a computer or study desk.
Pilates can be a great adjunct to other activities during this important time of physical and mental development, and provide the perfect balance of body awareness and coordination in which teens can learn to control their body in space.
At the start of their teenage years, both boys and girls are within their peak for neurological development. During this time, learning effective and functional movement can foster an improved perception of physical abilities (Marcus, 2003).
Joseph Pilates, creator of Pilates, had great insight into this many years ago.
“In childhood, habits are easily formed – good and bad. Why not then concentrate on the formation of only good habits and thus avoid the necessity later on in life of attempting to correct bad habits and substituting them for good habits.” Joseph H. Pilates, 1934.
Unfortunately, current research suggests girls tend to decrease or stop their physical activity, during these formative years, between the ages of 11-14 (Liu, 2012). Pilates can provide the ideal non-competitive environment, focusing on functional movement skills, which challenge and stimulate, while integrating the mind and body.
For those children fortunate enough to already be involved in sporting pursuits, Pilates can be used to enhance their sporting skills and reduce the potential for injury. Depending on the individual requirements, the training techniques of specificity and cross training can be implemented. This enables a focus on the development of specific skills required for the sport, as well as restoration of body balance, due to the one sided dominance many sports demand. The higher the level of competition and time spent training and competing, the more cross training required to prevent overuse injuries and postural deviations.
So if you find your teenager is hesitant to participate in structured sport or exercise, is an aspiring athlete that wants to enhance their performance, or is maybe spending too much time in front of a screen, Pilates may be just what the doctor (or Physio!) ordered.
If you are interested in getting your teen involved in Pilates call or email reception for more information