People often say “It’s just like riding a bike, you never forget!” But there was a time when you didn’t know how to ride a bike and had to learn. My boyfriend and I have been teaching his younger son how to ride a bike. It is so easy to forget what skills you need and the learning curve to pick up those skills now that they come naturally to you and me.
When I was little, kids started with a tricycle and learned to peddle. The stability of three wheels made it easier to master the art of peddling and peddling fast. Now balance bikes with no peddles are quite popular for kids learning to ride. The premise is to teach the balance aspect first.
But which is more important – the strength and coordination needed to peddle or the ability to balance? I would argue that both are equally important in bike riding and in life! All the strength in the world will not stop you from falling over if you don’t have balance. The best balance won’t propel the bike forward without strength and coordination.
Pilates is a beautiful combination of strength, coordination, and stability. The constant challenge to your body with these three elements in a Pilates session prepares you for your other endeavors. The ability to use balance, strength and coordination in unison makes you better equipped to stand on one foot climbing a ladder while lifting a heavy object up to your attic, for example. The better our bodies are prepared for functional movement (movements we utilize in day to day life) the less likely we are to throw out our backs, pull a hamstring or more.
Right now, my boyfriend’s son has the balance down, and we are working on the strength and coordination of the peddles. Soon, we hope he will be able to say, “It’s just like riding a bike!” Skills like how to ride a bike will carry him farther in life than just where the bike can take him.