Start Pilates young!

Posted on March 5, 2024


Noor Shalabi has been practicing Pilates for five yeas, starting when she was only nine years old.

“You are never too young to start Pilates,” says Flex instructor Karin Ubbiali. “It helps children with their overall flexibility, coordination, balance and strength. If we focus on forming good habits at a young age there will be less need later in life for correction.”

The year 9 student at Harrow International School is the perfect example of how valuable Pilates can be for younger children and teens.

From the beginning, I loved the playful aspect of Pilates, such as the foam rollers and the BOSU. Pilates was a way for me to get a good workout as a kid who wasn’t really into team sports.

So many benefits
Pilates has greatly improved my posture and straightened my spine, not to mention helping to cultivate my self-esteem and boost my confidence.

I love how easy Pilates is to do without having to be in the studio. I can practice exercises like the hundreds in my room as a break from studying, leading me to have a more toned stomach.

With Pilates I definitely feel that the more you do the better you get, and the more confident you feel the more you try to push yourself to the next level, which leads to better performance and on and on. It creates a positive cycle of improvement.

Group Pilates is all about fun
These days I focus more on aerial Pilates, which is a great way to have fun while exercising, something I think all of my friends would appreciate. Group Pilates is always fun, practicing with friends and feeling a bit of friendly competition in terms of strength and toning.

No cheating in private classes!
And the benefits of practicing one-on-one? Not being able to cheat whatsoever! The instructor always provides detailed feedback on my body position and alignment, how I initiate a movement, whether I recruit the correct muscles. All this detailed information I would never know without a private session; it’s really hard to assess all those things about yourself. After this kind of feedback, I feel I can perform much better in a group class and really advance my practice more quickly.

A life-long practice
Pilates is definitely something I will keep practicing all my life. Once you know how to correctly perform the exercises – even if just using a mat – it can make a big improvement on your physical wellbeing, flexibility and toning. I find it a welcome break from studying to take even 10 to 15 minutes to do some Pilates movements like bridging, roll-ups, 100’s – they release tension from my neck and shoulders, as well as lower back. It’s just so easy to work it into a daily routine, and the benefits are so great it’s a no-brainer to keep up the practice.

What would I say to other teens?
Don’t be discouraged if everything seems really challenging at first and you feel really clumsy. It takes a while to coordinate all the parts of the movements between bones, nerves and muscles, not to mention to build the strength to actually do all the exercises. Remember, everyone else feels a little self-conscious too, so just relax, try to concentrate on your own body and forget everything else when you have a session. Before you know it, the work will become easier which will motivate you to keep practicing – and you’ll love how strong your core looks and feels.

Read about the classes your teen could join here.

And for Flying Pilates check out this link.

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