As we age mobility does decrease unless you do exercise to prevent this. Pilates is an amazing exercise that has many forms and has evolved to assist us all whatever our age or physical capability. It is a brilliant
exercise for daily life or simply to facilitate any other sporting activity you like to do.
Rosa from Pilatespluswellness has given us a few exercises that we can do
daily to mobilise our whole body and ease any aches and pains.
NB please note this is a brief description and Rosa recommends attending either a Pilates class or having 1:1 sessions to make sure your technique is correct. Tip: With Pilates exercises, always pull your tummy in and pelvic floor up before you move
1. Spine curls:
Mobilise the spine, stretch out the front of hips which strengthens back of legs and bottom.
Start position: Supine (laying on your back) Back of the head, ribcage and tailbone are heavy into the floor (Neutral Pelvis and Spine) Breath in to prepare, pulling your tummy in and pelvic floor up. Then as you exhale, tuck your bottom under so you imprint your lower back and then lift your bottom and spine off the floor until you get to the lower border of the shoulder blades. Hold at the top and breathe in. Then exhale as you lower down from below the shoulder blades and lower your spine bone by bone until the lower back inprints into the floor and you can release your pelvis back to neutral start position. Repeat 8 xs.
2. Cat stretch:
Stretch and mobilise your back.
Start position as shown in picture 4 point kneeling. Breath in to prepare pulling tummy in and pelvic floor up. Exhale as you tuck your bottom under and then flex your spine sequentially from your tailbone to your neck and head last. Making a c shape in your spine as shown. Breath into the back of the ribcage holding the c shape and as you exhale, lengthen your tailbone and head together til you come back to start position. Repeat 8 xs.
3. Thread the needle:
Mobilise upper back and shoulders with Rotation.
Start position as shown; 4 point kneeling. Breath in to prepare pulling tummy in and pelvic floor up.
Exhale as you bend the elbows like a half press up and then thread the arm through as you twist your ribcage away from the supporting arm and the other arm threads through keeping your head in the midline but looking at the arm that threads through. Breath in to the stretch and exhale to come back to start position. Repeat on each side. 8 xs.
4. Chalk Circles
Mobilise upper body and spine as you keep your hips and knees still.
Start position as shown laying on your side with your arms shoulder level in front of you. Put a pillow under your head and neck for good alignment. Breath in as you raise your arm above your head and exhale as you then circle your head, neck and ribcage and let the arm circle around down past the hips and back to start position. As if you are drawing a circle around your body, but make sure you keep your spine long and not let the ribs flare at the front or let the back arch as you circle your arm around your body. Repeat 8 xs on each side.
5. Hip rolls:
To mobilise the spine.
Start position: Lying on your back with your feet and knees together as shown; neutral pelvis and spine.
Breath in to prepare and as you exhale let your hips roll over to one side making sure your lower body moves as a block and you keep the lower border of your shoulder blades grounded into the floor. Only take the
legs as far as you can whilst not letting your ribcage lift or back arch. Also, ground the shoulder blade down into the floor the side you are stretching away from. Breath in to the stretch and exhale, use your waist and tummy muscles to wheel back the ribcage, waist and the knees and feet come back last. Repeat 8 xs on each side
I have put together a video of all of these exercises so you can follow along, please find it here
Rosa Reeve has been running PilatesPlusWellness for 12 years and is a Supervising Pilates teacher for Body Control Pilates Students as well. She draws from her medical knowledge of conditions as well from when she used to be a Senior Radiographer at various London Hospitals.
This article was published in KCW Today