Updated: Feb 27, 2022
Joseph Pilates described his system of exercises as “the art of control of the mind over the body.” Seems like a tall task for our young kids! However, as a mom of two and a Pilates instructor of over 14 years, I am confident when I say Pilates has the ability to improve our children’s lives.
When left to their own devices(pun intended), children today turn to the screen-- watching video games, Youtube, or watching TV. This in combination with a culture of convenience(ordering fast food directly to your couch from your phone) leads to a sedentary lifestyle that is ingrained from a very young age.
Pilates for Kids
Health Benefits of Pilates for Children
Joe Pilates knew, 75 years ago, that it was so important to bring this method of exercise to our children. When we learn to incorporate healthy movement into our daily lives from a young age, we not only improve strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination but there’s a greater chance that we will continue to exercise into adulthood. And when we, as adults, can set the example by getting down on the mat with them, it really solidifies exercise as something natural and fun.
Strength + Flexibility
Simply put, the Pilates repertoire is designed to give you three things: Stretch, Strength and Control. The first two are pretty self-explanatory however, it is the equal balance of stretch and strength that makes The Pilates Method so kid-friendly. Pilates is designed to develop muscles uniformly, in a way that is functional, balanced, and natural. This is a guiding principle in Pilates and exactly the reason why it is so safe for our growing kids.
We also don’t work with heavy weights, if we use weights at all they are 1lb—max! This is perfect for children because, under the age of 12, the use of heavy weights is discouraged. By using the resistance of our own bodies and working against gravity, we can allow children to perform exercises safely and in a way that is natural to their developing bodies. We recommend a regimen of 3x/week, 5-30 minutes at a time depending on the age group.
Coordination + Control
Control is important because this is the part that incorporates the mind. As all parents know, it takes a lot of brainpower and focus for our kids to control their growing bodies. But when we combine our children’s natural desire to use their imagination with movement, it not only keeps them interested but also develops more connections to their brains.
In addition, the strength that we are building is from the core or, as we call it, the Powerhouse. It is this core strength that gives kids the confidence to stand with good posture, throw a ball harder, and gain improved coordination to enjoy hobbies like riding a bike.
Easy Pilates Exercises for Kids
10 reps of 10
Laying on your back, extend your legs up in the air, heels together and toes apart. Lift your head so you can see your belly button. Pump your arms up and down. Breathe in for 5 counts, out for 5 counts.
Pilates Tips for Kids:
Imagine you are a boat and your arms are the oars. When you pump your arms, you are making waves in the water.
Spine Stretch Forward
Sitting with your legs straight out in front of you, about as wide apart as your mat. Hold your arms straight out in front of you like Frankenstein. Inhale sit up tall, exhale bring your head towards the mat right in between your knees. Inhale to stack your spine back up, sitting tall.
Pilates Tips for Kids:
Try sitting with your back up against a wall so you can sit perfectly straight.
Single Leg Circles
5x each direction
Laying on your back, bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Extend one leg up to the ceiling. Keep your leg locked like a piece of steel and try not to move anything else while you make a small circle with your leg. Repeat 5x then reverse the direction. Repeat with the other leg.
Pilates Tips for Kids:
Imagine your leg is a magic marker and you’re going to draw a circle on the ceiling. Each time you trace the circle it gets bolder and bolder.
As our children grow up right before our eyes, there are no truer words than, “The days are long but the years are short.” Every parent knows that it can be a struggle to keep your children away from cartoons and video games and keep them engaged in something beneficial to their development. This is where Empowerhouse Pilates fits in.
Switch off Paw Patrol and turn on Pilates! A quick, 5-7 minute movement break is sure to pull your kid out of the “TV Zombie” mode and bring them back into their own bodies!
Our “Pilates for Kids” videos are a perfect challenge for our little ones and might even be more of a challenge for our parents!
Grab a mat and give these fun, imaginative videos a try!