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Five Anywhere, Anytime, Pilates Exercises….
Even if you aren’t familiar with Pilates, these easy moves will help you build a foundation for a firmer core, better posture, and more effective workouts overall.
You can do these moves at the same time; you can do them one at a time; and you can do them anytime. But don’t think you have to do them all the time (except When you practice these moves on and off during your day, they will become more natural and the extra support they provide will be there when you need it.
1. Breathe Deeply
Shallow breathing does little but keep you going at a low-level of vitality. Deep breathing oxygenates your body. It relieves stress. It is even said to give you an internal massage. A deep breath goes all the way into your belly and back, and you can feel it down to your toes.
The Move: Take a big inhale and bring the air all the way into your belly, allowing your belly to rise with the breath. Use that deep breath to lengthen your spine as you keep your shoulders down and let your back expand laterally. Repeat.
2. Lengthen Your Spine
Look better. Feel better. Move better. The hallmark of good posture is a long, well-supported spine.
The move: When you sit, feel your sitbones under you and press down into them to help you extend your spine up through your shoulder girdle so your neck gets long and energy is extending through the top of your head. When you stand, think of a line from your ankle bones to your ears and let your body lengthen along it. Go for length, but keep a good posture. Your spine should be neutral with its 3 natural curves. Don’t get so caught up in lengthening that you pop your ribs forward, or lean back, or tuck your pelvis.
3. Pull your abs in and up
Being able to walk, run, dance, and play better are among the many benefits of having toned abs that support your spine and help you move. They are one of the keys to preventing back pain.
The move: You can sneak this ab exercise in anywhere: Keep a neutral spine, then from deep inside pull your abdominal muscles in. Go for an in and up feeling. Start with a sense of engaging the pelvic floor muscles. Then begin pulling your abs in from down low, just above the pubic bone. Move up and in from there. Don’t hold your abs in until your teeth chatter. Just engage your abs every now and then.
4. Relax your Shoulders
Stress and hunching over computers has many of us holding ourselves up by our shoulders. But what if your core strength held you up and your shoulders relaxed down? You would feel less stress, and less pain, and move with more freedom. It’s not as hard as you think.
The move: Sit or stand tall with abs engaged and spine long, as in the exercises above. Then, take a deep breath as you raise your shoulders up. Exhale and let your shoulders drop. Repeat. Then leave your shoulders relaxed down as you go through your day feeling support from your core.
5. Activate Your Feet
Your feet should be as toned and alive as any other part of your body. They connect you to the earth and should provide a flexible and adaptable platform for living. Even when you are not standing, the health of your feet affects how you move.
The move: Wriggle your toes and tap your feet, then do this easy arch-lifting exercise: With your feet flat on the floor, keep your toes relaxed and pull the ball of your foot and heel toward each other. Imagine a dome inflating under the middle of your foot. Hold and release.