Current physical activity trends show that 30 years ago physical activity was accepted and was a normal part of the lives of young people, as they engaged more in physical activity they were benefiting from the many health benefits. Recent studies now show that young people’s low level of activity is not sufficient to benefit cardiovascular fitness.
Factors which have contributed to changes are the social and technological influences, where indoor sedentary activities such as computer games has become the preferred activity rather than participating in leisure and sport and travelling by bus rather than walking to school. The decline in physical activity at a young age can influence participation as a teenager and into adulthood. Encouraging children to adopt active lifestyles would appear to be of great importance.
Addtional pressures at school such as a tight schedule, limited resources or squeezed budgets with subjects such as Maths and English taking priority over physical education is another issue of concern. At SAG Tutoring we have over 15 years experience and knowledge of training the teachers in exercise for children and health related activities, using a selection of imaginative actvities which incorporate gymnastics and sport with links to the physical education curriculum which will engage and enthuse children. Experienced and specialist teachers are sometimes needed in schools to ignite new ideas and inspiration into the PE curriculum encouraging participation and opportunities for all ages and abilities.
INTEGRATED PILATES & YOGA, CHILDRENS PERFORMANCE IN EDUCATION
Pilates and yoga are mind-body systems which both emphasise breathing, relaxation, posture, muscular strength and endurance and flexibility. There is much science behind the connection of the mind and body and the link between the release of specific chemicals released when undertaking movements and many have already reaped the many benefits of practising both disciplines regularly.
CHALLENGES CHILDREN FACE IN LEARNING
Many children can face challenges in their learning which can affect their mental, academic and physical well-being. Studies were conducted on elementary and middle school children in education and found that yoga had an effect on improved grades, better health through a reduction in obesity and health problems, the research suggests that mindfulness activities such as Pilates and yoga can also assist children in class lessons because they are calmer, find it easier to complete tasks improved concentration as well as having a healthy body image which leads to more confidence in themselves compared to those who have a negative body image, which could result in low self-esteem and become a distraction in the class. (Eggleson, Brandon, 2015). Furthermore (Peck & Kehle, 2005) revealed that younger children who took part in 30 minutes of yoga, twice a week for 3 weeks completed tasks on time compared to those who didn’t take part.
YOGA FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Children with special needs may also benefit from undertaking Pilates or yoga as both mind-body systems focus the mind and attention on the movement, those in particular with conditions such as ASD (autism-spectrum disorder), as the skills learnt in these disciplines enable improved sensory information processing, motor control, communication and improved cognitive processing of information from perception, problem solving, reasoning, thinking and learning are factors linked with yoga participation which can help those lead a more healthy, balanced life. (Etheringer, 2010). Particular Pilates/yoga exercises which are similar in nature have been associated with an increase in attention and memory as there is an increased blood flow to the brain, (Schaeffer, 2002) claimed “yoga can prevent memory lapses by calming you and enhance concentration. It can also improve your powers of recall by increasing blood circulation to your brain”.
INCORPORATE PILATES & YOGA INTO LESSONS
Physical activities linked to Pilates and yoga can be part of your curriculum and can be blended into lessons for 5 and 10 minutes by incorporating a story during reading, writing combined with Pilates and Yoga poses and breathing techniques. Some simple exercises can include: Standing tall like a Tree, Seal stretch, Bridge and Tortoise. By introducing some exercises also promotes physical activity and encourages a healthy lifestyle.
Eggleston, B & Brandon, J.E (2015) available at: International Journal of Health & Wellness Society, Vol 5, Issue 3, p 1-7
Etheringer, J (2010) Yoga for children on the Autism Spectrum, International Journal of Yoga Therapy, Vol 20, No 1. Pp 131-139
Peck, H.L & Kehle, T.J (2005) Yoga as an intervention for children with attention problems. School Psychology Review, 34 (3) 415-424
Schaeffer, R (2002) Athletic Insight, The Online Journal of Sports Psychology, Vol 9, Issue 2, June 2007