From clumsy to coordinated – intelligent movement for teens

From clumsy to coordinated – intelligent movement for teens

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Teens – the earlier you start Pilates the better! Why? Because you’re building an inner dictionary of “intelligent movement” that will help your coordination, flexibility, strength and speed. Great coordination is one of the building blocks of successful fitness, plus helps you look tall and confident. Flexibility increases performance, helps prevent injury and it’s always fun to be the pretzel in class. And strength and speed allow you to do more, better, longer and faster. What’s not to love? Here Heather explains why you really, really want intelligent movement, and why you want it now!

WHAT IS INTELLIGENT MOVEMENT EXACTLY?
You’ve probably heard of the mind-body connection in yoga, right? Intelligent Movement is training the body with the mind and nervous system, which in turn direct the muscles. It’s very different to just moving mindlessly.

When you use your mind to move, your movement is internalized. You’ve made a mind-body connection, and this gives you better control over your body, better coordination and helps focus your concentration, meaning you improve faster. Plus, your body and mind are learning better movement patterning, reducing clumsiness and injuries.

This is particularly important for you teens as you can establish efficient and beneficial movement patterns that will make you fit, flexible and fast not just for now, but for the future too.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO LEARN IT SO YOUNG?
Intelligent Movement is a more efficient way of learning to move because setting proper neurological patterns in the brain helps improve muscle memory – your muscles literally remembering movements for you – which helps you remember skills short- and long-term. The longer you practice, the more ingrained these great habits will be, the better you’ll get at pretty much any movement you focus on.

Plus, if you’re in the middle of one of those crazy growth spurts, neurological, muscular and skeletal systems can get out of synch. So training your body with smart moves like the ones you learn during Pilates and yoga helps re-connect these three systems and helps you bypass that gangly, clumsy lack of coordination you really don’t want.

But keep reminding your brain and body that everything is connected, by training with that mind-body philosophy, and your neurological, muscular and skeletal systems will harmonise, and suddenly your coordination, posture and poise will look effortless and your performance will sky rocket.

WILL IT REALLY HELP MY COMPETITIVE PERFORMANCE?
Yes! Pilates gives you a dictionary of movements that once learned put you on the fast track to physical prowess. Because you understand why your body works as it does, rather than just doing things mindlessly, you’ll get an advantage over your competitors. You will nail that dance movement, hit your swim technique, kill that long distance race or even help your body deal with hours sitting over your phone or computer without creaking and hunching up, which believe me, it will otherwise.

Once you learn the movements in this “dictionary,” you retain them for life, embedded in your subconscious as muscle memory habits, like riding a bicycle. And of course they can help speed up your cycling too!

WHAT FLEX TEENS SAY…
“It’s easy for me to feel how Pilates and yoga really help me stretch out tight muscles, especially my hamstrings and back.”

“What I really love is that I’m working muscles in new ways during class, especially when we’re on the Allegro machine. And that means I’m learning how important it is to get the basics right, even like standing and running on my feet properly. I know, it sounds nuts, but when I’m out of class and working n my running, my knees don’t get tired so fast, or hurt after a long run any more. I can run faster, I feel more in control of my body and I can breathe better. Even at the end of a hard run I’m less out of breath.”

“My upper back muscles have really strengthened, which has cleared up the pain I sometimes used to feel between my shoulder blades from carrying my backpack every day.”

“While I’m competitive out of class, in class it’s fun to work out in a chilled environment with friends and help each other along so we all benefit. The sessions are really fun and even though I’m working hard, the hour flies by.”

Fast track your Pilates induction or further education by coming to the Flexteen Open House on 27th August at One Island South, from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. Called Stretch, Breathe and Hang, there will be free taster classes in Teen Barre, Pilates Allegro, Flying Pilates and Yoga. Oh and plus some goodie bags and free spine consultations. But RSVP as soon as you can as places will be limited! Email the team or call them on 2813 2212.

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