Exercising while maintaining a healthy work/home balance can be difficult. Often we find that finding just one hour during the day to do a tiny bit of working out is just not feasible.
There are many of us who have been in our gym gear about 10 seconds away from opening the front door to go for our workout, only to get a phone call from a friend, family member, or work.
If you are like us, you've probably sighed heavily at this frustration, but still decided not to go to the gym that day.
This is why many people have become enamored with home workouts. Working out at home is not only cheap, but saves mountains of time that you would otherwise be using when driving to the gym.
One of the most popular forms of these workouts is Pilates, which has taken the world by storm.
As such, we've decided to create a list for all the busy people out there of the best Pilates home workouts, so you can still get your exercise in, while not being pressed for time.
What Is Pilates?
Pilates was created by Joseph H. Pilates in the 1920s as an alternative form of exercising and rehabilitation.
He came up with the idea after he suffered two broken legs due to a car accident. His goal was to help rehabilitate his patients back into their lives without having them miss out on any activities they loved doing.
This meant taking part in sports and other physical activity, but also incorporating exercises that focused more on flexibility, strength, and posture.
So what does that mean exactly? It means that instead of going to the gym, you're going to your own personal gym at home!
In addition to helping improve body awareness, it also helps improve concentration and focus.
The main goal of Pilates is to strengthen core muscles, increase range of motion, and reduce tension. All of these things will make you feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally.
How Does It Work?
The premise behind Pilates is simple: strengthen and lengthen muscles through controlled movement and breathing. This allows the body to maintain proper posture and alignment.
In order for this to happen, the body needs to learn how to use gravity as resistance instead of relying on inertia alone.
For example, if you're trying to stretch your arms up over your head, you may think that you need to pull yourself up with force.
However, in reality, you should simply push down against the ground and allow the weight of your own body to assist you.
As your body learns to move more efficiently, you'll feel less strain in your back, shoulders, neck, and legs.
Best Pilates Workouts And Poses
It takes some time to master the art of Pilates. While you don't necessarily need to know every single pose, learning how to execute each movement correctly will give you greater long-term benefits.
With that said, here are the best Pilates workouts to try. You'll want to start slow and build up to more challenging poses as your skill level improves.
1. The Hero Pose
This is a great way to warm-up before starting any other poses. Start by sitting on the floor in a plank position (i.e., hands underneath your chest).
Lean forward until you reach a 90 degrees angle between your torso and thighs.
Next, inhale deeply and slowly lift your hips off the floor to come up onto your knees. Exhale fully and return to your original starting position. Repeat this five times.
2. The Reclining Leg Stretch
Lie flat on your stomach and place both elbows under your shoulders. Using your hands, gently roll your upper body forward to extend your spine.
Hold this position for 10 seconds, then exhale and release. Repeat three times.
To do this pose, lie face down on the mat. Extend one arm straight above your head, then bend your elbow to bring it towards your chest.
Keep your palm facing out. Slowly lower your hand toward your head until you feel comfortable.
Once you have reached your desired height, hold that position for 30 seconds, breathing normally. Then switch sides and repeat with the opposite arm. Repeat four times.
4. Child's Pose
Stand upright and take several deep breaths. Bend forward from your hips until your chest nearly touches the ground.
Let your belly rest on the floor or mat. Hold this position for 20 seconds, then release and stand tall again. Repeat three times.
To perform this pose, sit cross-legged on the floor. Stretch your right arm across your body, placing the inside edge of your right foot on top of your left leg. Place your left hand on the outside edge of your left thigh.
Take many deep breaths, allowing your rib cage to expand outward. Hold this position for 15 seconds, then switch sides. Repeat three times.
Plank strengthens the core, while simultaneously toning up the entire body. This makes planking an essential part of any workout regimen, and a popular choice of exercise for back fat.
Lie face down on the mat and place your forearms directly beneath your shoulders. Lift your body into a kneeling position, then raise your hips, so they form a 45-degree angle with your torso.
Your palms should be placed firmly on the mat in front of your shoulders. Hold this position for 60 seconds, then release and relax. Repeat this exercise three times.
Lie face down on the mat and place both arms below your body. Raise your legs and tuck them beneath your bottom. Allow your knees to drop slightly past your navel.
Begin to breathe deeply, lifting your ribs upward and pressing your shoulder blades together.
Hold this position for 30 seconds, then release and lay still for another 30 seconds. Repeat this sequence three times.
8. Side Angle
Lie face down on your side with your knee bent. Keeping your backside pressed against the mat, slide your foot closer to your buttocks until your hip reaches an almost perpendicular angle.
Hold this position for five seconds, then release. Repeat this move eight times.
Pilates is all about exercising without putting too much strain on your body, and so you should never feel bad about being unable to do a pose.
The idea is about learning and gradually strengthening your body, not immediately getting it.
As such, try these Pilates poses and stretches out, even if only for 5 minutes every day. It will make you feel so much better.
Little things like knowing what to wear to Pilates can also go a long way in making sure that you enjoy your time getting fit and healthy so make sure to consider those in your journey too.
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