When it comes time for back-to-school, parents can worry about a lot of things: bullies, bad teachers and whether the lunch menu is up-to-snuff. An often under-appreciated concern – fitness – can cause problems down the road for children who don’t pay attention to it. As a lifelong habit, physical fitness can yield more dividends than practically anything; we talked with Sarah Cornett, owner of the Pilates Concept, about the results that she sees:
Do you ever have clients who hire you to work with children or teenagers?
We mostly get kids aged 10 to 15 who come in because they’re ballet dancers or gymnasts, and they want to get ahead in the sports they’re in. We also get young people who come in because they have injury or rehabilitative need. From the ages of 15 to 20, we will get kids who just want to work out, or try something different for their existing workout routine.
How would you describe the importance of regular exercise for a growing child?
It’s extremely important, especially at the younger ages and when kids are going through puberty. In this day and age, with so many video games and so much screen time, kids simply don’t get enough exercise. You see reports all the time about this generation’s obesity problems, and children don’t even get the basic outdoor exercise of previous generations. Regular exercise helps with sleep, and it helps with brain development. The child doesn’t have to go to the gym or take pilates, either; just being active, running around, playing sports, that’s a great start for kids at that age. Extracurricular activities are a great outlet for a lot of kids.
What are the particular benefits of Pilates for young people?
Children who practice Pilates are going to get more strength training than kids who simply play sports or play outside. Pilates provides resistance training that helps with muscle development. It also develops a physical consciousness that kids who are puberty-age don’t quite have yet. Kids who are pre-teen often won’t have awareness of their core, or how to fire their abdominals. For young people, these benefits of Pilates have an impact across the entire body, in addition to what they get from the strength training.