Pilates is a great form of low impact exercise to help strengthen your core muscles, improve your posture and help to keep you flexible and mobile. Whilst doing a class once a week is a great start, you can bring some of the key elements of Pilates into your daily life to get even more benefit from Pilates.
Here are five ways you can bring Pilates into your everyday life:
#1 Engage your core
This isn’t just for Pilates classes! Keeping your core gently engaged through the day when you are moving around is a great way to further strengthen your core. Practice makes perfect! Try engaging your core before you get out of bed in the morning, before climbing a flight of stairs or before bending down to reach into a cupboard. Read more about this key building block of Pilates here.
#2 Move correctly
Pilates classes involve a series of slow, well controlled movements. Take this principle and apply it to all your movements, thinking about moving in a more purposeful and controlled manner, rather than rushing from A to B with no thought! Avoid any sudden or jerky movements and aim for smooth stable movements. Think quality of movement from the cues you might have picked up in your classes.
#3 Be Mindful of Your Posture
Imagine you have a helium balloon attached to the top of your head, pulling your spine up tall to stop you slouching. Think about sliding your shoulder blades back and down into your back pockets to open your chest and keep your upper back strong. Tuck your chin in slightly and keep the back of your neck long. If you work in an office and spend a lot of time sitting or in 1 position for long periods of time, you can start to feel the effects – by keeping these principles in mind you’ll be more productive and feel less achy at the end of the day!
#4 Keep breathing
Try bringing some Pilates style breathing into your day – place your hands on your ribs and take a deep breath in, filling and expanding your lungs all the way to the base. Hold the breath for a moment and then exhale, pushing all the air out your lungs. Repeat 3-5 times. This is a great way to bring some calm or clarity to a busy day!
#5 Stretch it out
Start or finish your day with some basic Pilates stretches to get your body warmed up for the day ahead or cooled down after a long day. Try a ‘Cat Stretch’ on all fours to get your spine moving and then take it into a ‘Thread the Needle’ to get some rotational movement. Use a ‘Childs Pose’ or ‘Shell Stretch’ to relax and unwind at the end of the day.