It’s incredible what I’ve seen Pilates do for so many people. For most people it’s changed their lives, relieving everything from chronic back pain and sciatica to allowing someone to keep moving that other wise might not be able to and giving them the energy, strength, and determination to continue to live a healthier and pain-free life. I myself have lived with chronic neck and back pain in my mid-twenties, some days were hard enough just to get out of bed .
I’ve trained young and healthy athletes, clients with Parkinson’s, MS, strokes, neck fusions, and hip replacements. I’ve also had the privilege to work with ladies waiting to become new mamas, these clients are one of my favorites! I’ve worked with men who have huge muscles but can’t bend over to touch their toes, teenagers with sports injuries, and men and women in their 80’s who were determined to stay strong and keep moving to improve their over all health..
Pilates has completely changed my life forever. I’ve gotten to live both sides of the Pilates world, teaching and training is always life changing as you see the benefits in your clients and how much better they feel. And then I’ve gotten to experience the benefits of Pilates myself, watching my pain completely disappear, the changes in my body, muscles, posture, and energy level. I even did Pilates through both my pregnancies. Pilates helped me to stay flexible, strong, focus on my breathing. It helped with my weight gain, keeping me to only gaining 20 pounds with each child. It helped with delivery, to recover quickly, and get back into shape a lot faster.
Don’t get me wrong there are days when I don’t want to do any exercise but I give myself at least 15 minutes a day and I automatically feel more energized, less stiff, less pain and fatigue, and more motivated to take on the day. So for anyone who has ever wanted to try Pilates here is a simple warm up exercise to start you off. It’s great for any lower back pain, stiffness from sitting in a car or office chair too long, and it helps engage the pelvic floor muscles to start flattening those hard to reach lower abs.
- Start by lying on the floor with a mat or towel underneath you. Lie on your back with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Find neutral spine (the natural curves on your spine as you lie on your back) Arms are by your sides and shoulders drawn down away from your ears.
- With an inhale you are going to roll your pelvis back-as if you were smashing your lower back into the floor.
- Pushing through heels, engaging your hamstrings, pull your belly in towards your spine (think of sinking your belly button to your spine or for all us ladies-think of lying on your bed and zipping up a pair of jeans that don’t fit-we’ve all done that before!)
- Now, with an exhale peel one vertebrae at a time off the floor until you are in a straight line from your hips to your shoulders. (See photo-if you are unsure if your form is correct)
- Inhale at the top and pull the belly into the spine again, keeping the weight in your hamstrings.
- Slowly with an exhale stack each vertebrae back down on the mat one at a time working through your spine until your tailbone is resting back on the mat.
You’ve just done a pelvic curl! Pretty simple huh? Do 5-8 reps and you should feel more flexible through the spine and lower back and now you probably want to do a little more moving! Make sure to keep your abs pulled in tight, especially if you feel in lower back discomfort and keep the weight in your hamstrings. The slower and more controlled through your movements, the better and faster the results. Be careful not to roll on your neck, make sure just lift on to your shoulder blades when peeling up. If you have serious injuries to your neck and back always check with your doctor before doing any new exercises. Always better to stay safe.
So, this is just a small taste of Pilates. If you’re really interested in Pilates and its benefits and are in the Ocean City area this summer come take one of my classes on the beach, in the sand, breathing the salt air, while listening to the waves crash on the beach! Visit my website for more information www.beachpilatesandwellness.com.