Not only is Pilates a brilliant stressbuster, but regular sessions will also give you longer, leaner muscles and improve core strength, flexibility and balance. It will correct your posture to make you stand taller and look slimmer, too.
Convinced? Try these four exercises to get you started at home.
1. Lie face up, on an exercise mat if possible, with your arms straight by your sides, and inhale, lowering the arch of your back to the floor and feeling as if you’re pulling your navel down towards your spine.
2. Raise one leg so that it makes a 90-degree angle with your body while you exhale, using your muscles deep in your tummy to do the work, not your back.
3. Lower your leg slowly while inhaling deeply.
4. Repeat five times with each leg; rest one minute and repeat the series.
You’ll find more leg workouts here.
1. Lie face up on the mat with your arms straight by your sides, pulling your navel to your spine.
2. Bend your legs at a 45-degree angle. Inhale.
3. Lift your glutes (the muscles in your bottom) as you exhale. Again focusing on using the muscle deep in your tummy to do the work, not your back and your feet.
4. In this position, raise one leg and cross it over the other.
5. Return the leg to its initial position and repeat the exercise with the other leg.
6. As in the preceding exercise, do two sets of five repetitions with each leg, resting for one minute between sets.
1. Lie face up on the mat with your hands behind your neck and your legs straight and together in a vertical position, with your feet pointing straight up.
2. Contract your navel inward and slightly upward.
3. Keep your back flat on the floor, leaving no space between the mat and your lumbar spine (the bottom part of your spine). Inhale while holding the initial position.
4. Exhale while lowering your legs to a 45° angle, slightly raising your head from the floor. Your back should remain flat on the floor.
5. Inhale while returning your legs to the initial position.
6. Repeat eight times; rest one minute and repeat.
1. Lie face down on the mat.
2. Extend your arms and stretch your entire body. Inhale.
3. Pull your hands in slightly and put your weight on them in order to raise your body slowly as you exhale.
5. Repeat five times and rest.
Check out more arm exercises here.
Sticking at it and getting results
Try to do this exercise routine four or five times a week. Take your time and don’t rush – it’s consistency that will get results. Finally, if you want a little extra motivation, how about asking a friend if they want to exercise with you?
Are you Pilates-mad? Share your tips in the comments section below.
NB With all forms of exercise, if you have any medical concerns, consult your doctor before starting new workout routines, and if you feel pain during the workout, stop and rest.