Pilates vs Learning: An OT’s Perspective

With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, a lot of the kids are restricted from going to school and are doing virtual school from home. A lot of families noticed that their kids are having a hard time to participate in their online school. People are not used to doing things that way.

Even though a lot of schools are starting to open back again and starting to have students back to school now. However, this issue of learning and how to keep the kids concentrated, is still a very hot topic. 

But what is learning have anything to do with Pilates?

Attention is a very big component of learning. If we are not able to pay attention to what's being delivered by a teacher, we will not absorb any new information. And guess what, because of the new technology and the information overload we are receiving nowadays. Everybody is having a much-shortened attention span. 

There are studies conducted stating that the average attention span of an adult is 8 seconds, which is shorter than a goldfish. And with kids who are also still in the face of developing their attention span, it's even worse for them to concentrate on what's delivered at school.

Nowadays, especially in a digital format, they get way more distraction. 

As an occupational therapist, when we are working with a lot of kids, and some adults who deals with attention issues like ADHD. Many other conditions leading to attention deficits, we use an approach called Sensory Integration.

What is sensory integration therapy?

We pretty much incorporate a lot of the sensory input for proper receptive, vestibular and for many different types of sensory input. Specially the appropriate receptive sensory input. It is found to be calm everything down, and help you to improve your attention span. 

Basically, it's like any sensory input related to changing your body position.  How you move your joints, body parts, etc. These are some of the inputs of proper reception. 

Also, with Pilates we are offering here at core, we constantly move our clients into different positions. From lying down your back on your stomach, sitting on the box, standing on the reformer, and different types of equipment. 

A very specific component we try to incorporate with every one of our class is a session of jam. It is a very good way to incorporate the sensory input, and facilitate some of the learning performance. Some of the attention the kids are going to need when they are dealing with schoolwork. 

School-Life Balance

If you are sitting in front of a computer doing work for several hours consecutively. Then during breaks, you change to a different tab or windows doing different tasks but still on the computer, then pretty much not a very good balance. The environment and the scene are pretty much the same. 

You lack the different types of sensory input and the variability of your environment. The lack of variation can also decrease somebody's compliance and attention span.  Enough to further limit one's learning ability. It is another thing that’s valuable for us who provide sessions like Pilates classes.  To make the kids move out of the computer and do something different. 

Something that's going to be beneficial to help them and change the scenery to give them a different input and experience. And help them to get back to their learning with better performance. 

This is actually applicable for everyone. As adults, when we are sitting in front of the computer all day to do our work, it's hard for us to concentrate on our tasks for a long period of time. It's very hard for us as well, we often need to take a break, like a five-minute break every two hours. 

For the athletes, they're not going to do the training for several hours a day consecutively. They're not going to just practice on the sports. But they are doing it professionally while doing different types of training to maintain the balance. 

They will also need to take a break to not doing any physical activities at all. Because sometimes, it's all about the balance. Balance is also a very important component to address learning. 

Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist at CORE Therapy and Pilates
Andy is passionate about providing a holistic approach to help people in Austin stay active and fit. He has a special interest in helping musicians perform more freely and comfortably. To better serve his patients, he acquired his manual therapy certification (MTC) through USAHS in 2018, and he is in the process of becoming a certified hand therapist. He also completed his Comprehensive Pilates and pre-/post-natal training through Core Pilates NYC, and became a certified classical Pilates instructor in 2019.
"Andy" Chin-Hueng Tseng