Exercise and keeping fit are important for all ages, but for teens who aren’t into team sports or going to the gym, pilates is a good alternative form of exercise to do. We take a look at the benefits for teens and how to go about getting started.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a gentle form of exercise that focuses on conditioning the body to build flexibility, strength and increased body awareness. The muscles throughout the body are strengthened and toned via a series of controlled movements, which can be done as mat exercises or through the use of special equipment.
The exercises work on the core muscles in the body and aim to build core strength, especially in the back, abdomen and pelvic muscles.
Compared to a lot of other aerobic gym exercise classes that promote the idea of, ‘No pain, no gain’ pilates is far gentler and will still provide long-term benefits, but without putting unnecessary stress on the body’s joints.
How Can Pilates Be Beneficial For Teens?
There are many ways in which pilates can be a beneficial form of exercise for teens. To start with, it’s a very accessible exercise for any age, as it’s relatively easy to learn and doesn’t require special skills or expensive clothing or equipment.
Pilates is fantastic for helping to build body strength, stamina and flexibility, for sculpting and streamlining the body, but without adding muscle bulk. Regularly practising pilates can boost circulation, increase coordination, improve posture and body image as a whole, which many teens find highly beneficial.
As with being involved in any type of exercise, pilates can help teens to become more body confident and increase physical and mental well-being. Some of the exercises, especially those performed towards the end of a session, focus on breathing exercises and relaxation, which can teach teens useful ways of relaxing the body and mind.
How Can Teens Get Started With Pilates?
If a teen is interested in trying pilates, then the best first step is to go to a specialist class. There are a wide variety of classes available throughout the country and, whilst not all will be specifically for teens, joining a general class for all ages shouldn’t pose any particular problems.
Look for a class where the instructor is fully trained and qualified in pilates. If you’re unsure of their qualifications, then ask. Some classes focus entirely on mat-based pilates exercises, whilst others use special equipment to help with gentle stretches. In the first instance, it’s more worthwhile to try a mat-based class.
Once you’ve learnt the techniques, then the exercises can be practised at home too and reinforced with the use of pilates DVDs if you wish.
As pilates is suitable for any age, then it can be a way for parents or families to exercise together and share in a joint activity. It’s a great form of exercise to learn and, the more its practised, the greater your flexibility, stamina and strength will become.