Children living with chronic pain and mobility issues are getting back into exercise thanks to specially-tailored Pilates sessions at Ipswich Hospital.
The courses, designed by senior paediatric physiotherapists Penny Brown and Nicki Race, are for youngsters aged 11 to 16 years old who have back pain or hypermobility issues, or may be getting back into exercise after injury.
The game orientated sessions use a variety of equipment to motivate children to alter and improve their way of thinking towards health and participation in physical activity.
Penny said: “It’s about reintroducing them into having control over their bodies and empowerment really.
“Some of the group have been off exercise for a long time so they’re deconditioned and very sedentary, so we’re helping them to undo all that and get active slowly but surely in a nurturing way.”
As well as the physical benefits, the sessions have also helped children to develop friendships and it’s improved their confidence too.
Nicki said: “One of our girls is like a different person. Now instead of being shy and reserved, she is outgoing and gets everyone else involved.
“They realise they can exercise, it’s really good fun and they enjoy it.”
Some members taking part in the latest six-week block of classes have shared what they think of the course.
Sophie, 11, has enjoyed it. She said: “When I first started I thought it was going to be a waste of time, but it’s fun and it’s helping. I feel better for coming.”
Amira, 15, said: “It’s fun and motivating. It’s really helped and I get taught skills that I can use at home. Because of this and being told I have a problem I have picked up exercise outside of and at school.”
The exercises used in the sessions, which children are referred to by their physiotherapist or, in some cases, consultants, focus on improving:
- Postural awareness
- Postural stability and pelvic stability/strength
- Movement of the spine
- Balance, in relation to functional tasks