Stretching is vital to your overall well-being and to help manage stress, especially as we age, and Pilates is one way to address this. I make stretching and Pilates part of every workout I do, in the form of a warmup and warm-down, and also practice Pilates stretching and flexibility exercises a few days per week. Sometimes I use a foam roller, and sometimes it’s me doing the movements on my own, like I show you in my Stop The Clock Fitness Plan. It’s an important part of any workout routine, as stretching and flexibility exercises can:
Pilates stretching exercises can also instill a sense of focus and calm, perfect to address all the chaos and stress we encounter in our daily lives! Doing these moves can not only leave you feeling calm, balanced and rejuvenated, but can help to strengthen your back and core – a win-win!. Check out these three moves, from my new Stop The Clock Fitness and Nutrition Bundle – everything you need to stay Fit and Fab After 40!
Before you begin, make the most of these movements by eliminating any potential distractions: Turn off the television and put your phone on mute. Also try to concentrate on your breathing and relax every part of your body. As you do each move, be sure that your body stays in proper alignment; don’t get sloppy. Each movement should be smooth and controlled. Try these movements today, and then add them to the days you do strength training workouts to help stretch out your muscles.
Spine Stretch Forward
This feels so good on your upper back and legs.
Sit up with your legs extended in front of you, feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms in front of you as if you’re sleepwalking. Tighten your abs as you lengthen your spine and lift your chest. Starting with your head, roll your upper torso down as you pull your abdominal muscles in. Keeping your arms elevated and your buttocks firm against the floor, continue rolling down until your spine forms a C (as if you’re rounding yourself over a beach ball). Exhale. Inhale as you roll back up and sit tall. Exhale. Repeat 3 times.
Seated Spine Twist
A great stretch for when you have been hunched over a computer all day!
Sit with your legs extended in front of you and your arms extended straight out to the sides. Tighten your abs as you lift your chest and pull your shoulders down. Inhale as you slowly twist from your waist (not your hips) to the right as far as possible. Keep your eyes focused on your right hand as you shift it behind your body; your left hand comes forward. Both arms should form a straight line from front to back. Exhale as you twist back to the starting position. Repeat, this time twisting to the left side. Continue alternating twists, for a total of 3 times on each side.
Rolling Like a Ball
This helps keep your back and spine healthy – give it a try!
Sit up with your knees bent in front of you, your buttocks as close to your heels as possible. Grasp your lower legs or ankles with both hands and “hug” them. Bring your chin in toward your chest, pulling your abs in and curving your back. Your body is curled up like a ball; your spine forms a C shape. Arch your feet so only your toes touch the floor. Inhale slowly as you roll back until your shoulder blades touch the floor, pulling your belly button into your spine. Exhale slowly as you roll back up to a seated position, maintaining a ball position. Repeat 6 times.
I hope these Pilates stretches help – you can see the entire Pilates Stretching workout in my Stop the Clock Bundle!
Let’s get fitter, together – inside and out,