Build core strength and improve your posture with these gentle and effective Pilates moves you can do anywhere.
Pilates is one of the best ways to build functional core strength. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. Pilates involves a series of exercises that helps you activate and coordinate several muscle groups at once, starting with your core. You can perform these moves with or without shoes on, whichever is safest and most comfortable for you. You can also use a sturdy chair or countertop for added support.
Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. As you exhale, pull your abs in and up towards your heart.
Stand tall and inhale deeply. As you exhale, place your hands on your thighs, rounding the shoulders, and bend forward gently. On the next inhale, slowly come back up, moving one vertebrate at a time until your back is tall and straight, then roll your shoulders back and down.
Next, inhale as you gently hinge forward from the hips with knees slightly bent and stretch your arms out in front of you at shoulder-height. On the exhale, pull yourself back up while opening your arms out wide to squeeze the shoulder blades.
This gentle breathing flow helps to prepare your mind and body for these Pilates moves, while also improving your posture. Repeat as many times as you like throughout the day.
Stand tall with your feet pressed firmly to the floor and place your hands on the back of your head. Your head should press into your hands (not the other way around). Make sure you can see your elbows as you look straight ahead. From here, use your core strength to twist to the right side of the room. Come back to center, then twist to the right again.
For an added challenge: Instead of keeping your feet pressed to the floor, raise your right heel so that your right toes are pointed to the floor, then twist.
Make it even more challenging: Lift the right knee and hold it up as you twist.
You can try this twist 4-12 times on each side, or as much as you feel comfortable.
Swimming (Pool not required)
Hinge forward at the hips with feet pressed into the floor, then roll your shoulders back and down. Keep your spine neutral, gazing over your nose to look at the floor. Engage your core strength here to remain steady. As you inhale, reach one arm forward, then bring it back to your side. Alternate on each side.
For an added challenge: Reach both arms forward, then bring both arms back and repeat.
Make it even more challenging: Shift your weight to the right foot. As you reach forward with both arms, lift and extend your left foot toward the back of the room. Alternate on each side.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Bring your arms up at shoulder-height, placing one arm on top of the other. Hold your arms here and twist to the right, come back to center, then twist to the left.
For an added challenge: Bring your feet closer together and extend your arms out to each side. Then twist.
Make it even more challenging: Place one foot in front of the other and point your toe. Keep your back leg slightly bent to help you keep steady. Then, move through your twists.
SilverSneakers Trainer Sharlyn says, “Pilates can do amazing things for your body because it helps you begin to think more about core engagement and posture. Consider taking these movements into your daily life as you consider how you stand, walk and sit in a chair.” Try including these low-impact Pilates into your workout routine to increase your core strength, improve your posture and move through the days a little easier.
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