Pilates anywhere and anytime

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April 12, 2011 – Whether you live a jet-setting lifestyle or you’re a busy businessperson or you’re simply just not a gym fanatic and would rather spend your valuable free time in front of your television; chances are getting in shape is not one of your priorities.  

If you haven’t heard of or tried Pilates, then you’re definitely missing out!  Pilates is an exercise regime that you can incorporate into your lifestyle anywhere and pretty much anytime, and most importantly it will give you those toned and elongated muscles that result in the graceful silhouette you’ve been dreaming about!

You can engage your muscles and work towards tangible results through Pilates practically everywhere: in the car, sitting at work, while you’re shopping or even during a commercial break on your sofa.

 

So how can Pilates be effective and convenient?

What makes Pilates “anytime and anywhere” possible?  First of all, most Pilates’ exercises do not require any additional equipment and only uses the resistance of your own joints and muscles combined with gravity. Secondly, the core Pilates’ principles: centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow all the time; can easily be incorporated in every activity in your day.

For example, through practiced controlled breathing, you will develop a method of breathing that controls the abdominal muscles, ultimately engaging them.

In Pilates, the positioning of your pelvis, ribcage, shoulder blades and head forms the foundation.  Through stability and control exercises that target the Pilates foundation, core muscles in your body will be engaged.

The idea is that through the Pilates’ principles your mind and body will work in unison, ultimately your muscles will be engaged all the time without your need to consciously work out.  

Too good to be true?  Here are some Pilates basics that surely will start you on the right path courtesy of www.activefitnessworld.com

 

Abdominal Strengthening

Pilates_abs_910818144.jpgThis exercise can be conducted in sets of 10-20 repetitions while alternative legs between repetitions:

1. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet face-down on the floor so that you are in the preparatory position.

2. Lift your legs, one leg at a time, such that both legs are bent at the knees at a 90 degree angle.  Ensure that your pelvis and ribcage are anchored on the floor.  Breathe calmly and place your hands by your sides.

3. While breathing out, extend a leg away from you.  Maintain optimal low-back stability.

4. While breathing in, return your leg to position #2.  Keep your shoulders down and your stomach in.

 

Double Leg Stretch

Pilates_leg_595453898.jpg

The one is an advanced progression from the single leg stretch that will require you to keep your pelvis anchored, and your abdominals flat.

This exercise can be conducted in sets of 5-10 repetitions:

1. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet face-down on the floor so that you are in the preparatory position.

2. Lift your legs, one leg at a time, such that both legs are bent at the knees at a 90 degree angle.  Ensure that your pelvis and ribcage are anchored on the floor.  Breath calmly and place your hands on your knees.

3. While breathing out, drop your chin and slowly roll your chest forward.  Extend your hands by your hips and lift them slightly off the floor.

4. While breathing in, raise your arms to the ceiling.

5. While breathing out, circle your arms sideways so that they are back beside your hips.

6. While breathing in, bend your knees, and then return to step #2.  Flatten your abs as you lie down.

 

Pilates_glutes_825798172.jpgGlute Pulses

This exercise not only will tone your bottom, but will also strengthen and stabilize the muscles to improve your posture.

The following exercise can be conducted in sets of 10 to 20 repetitions for each leg:

1. Kneel on your hands and knees, with your knees underneath your hips, and your hands underneath your shoulders.  Keep your spine level with the floor.

2. While breathing out with each movement, lift one leg backward, and pulse it with small lifts towards the ceiling (while keeping it bent).

 

Don’t forget to follow us on TWITTER @CFMlifestyle and @SusanLuckyWong (the author)

 

 

 

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SUSAN WONG

Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

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