We often get asked, “Why Pilates?”
Short answer: Pilates is wonderful!
Yes, but let’s flesh this out a little…
Traditionally, Pilates is a therapy that highlights and encourages healthy movement patterns by isolating and strengthening muscles and patterning for healthy posture, alignment, and control through movement. Pilates is an exercise medium, which helps to build a strong foundation for all motor skills and development, and in doing so creates a certain balance and solidity, making possible even the smallest of actions such as sitting tall or standing on one leg.
We choose Pilates because…
• It strengthens all joints
• Builds a strong foundation for all development
• Allows children to focus on other things
• It supports how our body builds strength and skills
• Science-based approach
• We can manipulate one exercise to cover all development
• Develops healthy muscle patterns and recruitment
• Builds subconscious recruitment
We choose Pilates for Children because…
• It provides an introduction to healthy body awareness
• Non-impact and safe physical activity
• Cross-functional training for other activities
• Performance enhancement
• Cognitive development; role-play; mimicking and environmental relevance
• Opportunities for different ways of learning
• Invites opportunities for repetition which leads to healthy muscle recruitment patterns.
The ‘physical culture’ of Pilates is something that has been refined and developed since its conception in the early 1900s by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. A visionary of postural correction or “Contrology” (as was termed by Joseph Pilates), Pilates would create a lasting exercise medium (Pilates, J., 2010).
There are primary Pilates Principles that help to define the method and its effect on our bodies:
Alignment relates to the dynamic form of a person’s posture. The body acts as a structural base of movement and creates actions or reactions based on outside elements with which the body comes in contact.
Using a movement program such as Pilates enhances and retrains the postural balance. If the alignment is out, it can have a large impact on the general health of the body and its quality of movement.
The human body has a centre where the weight is evenly distributed for balance, and from which all movement is created. This encompasses the core muscles including the abdomen, lower back and gluteal muscles.
Creating a strong centre will enhance the production of all movement and limit injury. Stabilizing the centre of gravity allows freedom of movement for the limbs without disrupting the core and therefore protecting the centre. This is crucial in the development phase of motion, reducing the incidence of injury.
Visualizing the exercise relevant to each position is a successful strategy to employ with children and adults alike. Being aware of how we are moving brings another dimension to exercise involving the neural pathways in a two-way action in which you both give the instruction to the muscles and receive feedback from the sensory system. This way we can be constantly aware of where we are in space and what we are doing with any part of our body.
RELAXATION AND BREATHING
Relaxation is the first step toward a body-mind-focused session. It is essential for a pleasant, positive environment to be created for children and adults to participate in the exercise.
Deep breathing enhances balance within the body by circulating oxygen and promoting blood flow toward the active muscles, thereby improving contraction.
FLOWING AND CONTROLLED MOVEMENTS
By using our full range of motion we can control the contraction type of the muscles, creating an intensity of movement through slow and graceful movements. This helps to strengthen whilst still maintaining postural control and ideally reducing the risk of injuries.
So yes, Pilates is wonderful.
Interested in learning more?
Click on the link to view our course options to further your education in Child Development and Pilates for Paeds:
**REFERENCES: Pilates, J.H., Return to Life Through Contrology. Miami, Florida: Pilates Method Alliance Inc: 2010.