3 Pilates Moves to Become More Active

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Do you spend a lot of time sitting?

Science is telling us that accumulating time spent sitting still or inactive that is slowly and steadily killing us. For the majority of us that spend the bulk of our time working from a seated position, the nightly or evening workouts serve as compensation. We make up for lost time by cramming our activity into allotted periods of the week. Well, apparently that's just not good enough.

Newer research shows we don't need to workout in chunks or blocks of time to make a significant difference in your physiology. In fact, it's just the opposite. Just as accumulating sedentary hours is a predictor of poor health, accumulating active hours is the best predictor or of good health.  The solution? Get out of your chair several times a day and move your body.

Thankfully you need to look no further than the Pilates syllabus for a few pearls.  And the only thing you'll need is a wall. Most rooms have a wall so you’re in good shape with this simple routine.  You can expect to reap immediate benefits in your posture, your stamina, strength and your flexibility from these three exercises. Even better, you'll improve your overall health simply by inserting this incidental movement into your daily life.

#1. The Wall Sit

Stand against a wall with your best posture and walk your feet out about two steps.

Position the feet hip-width apart and parallel. Hang your arms by your side.  Draw your abdominals in and up and bend your knees to slide down the wall. As your legs lower, raise your arms to shoulder height. Slide down until your hips are as low as your knees or as low as you can support. Your goal is to have the legs at a sharp 90-degree angle.

Hold the sitting position for 3 - 5 deep breaths digging your heels down into the ground. Slide smoothly back up the wall, lowering the arms. Repeat 2 more times.

Detail Check: Be sure the feet are far enough out that the knees don't bend beyond the ankles.

#2. The Wall Back Bend

Stand with your back at the wall and take one step out away from the wall. Begin with your arms at your sides and your tallest posture. Inhale and raise the arms overhead following with moving your head. Open the chest and lengthen up with the arms and head reaching for the wall behind you. Continue stretching the waist and torso higher and higher up allowing a slight arc to happen. Your goal is to allow the fingertips to graze the wall behind you. Once you've gone as far as you can reach return fully upright and lower the arms. Repeat 2 more times. 

Detail Check: Make certain to lengthen your waist and lower back up as you reach. Don't crunch your back or bend,slouch or slump. The hips should not move forward. 

#3.

The Roll Down - Push Down Combo

Stand with your back against the wall and take a small step forward. Raise your hands up overhead. Pull your abdominals in and up, and dive slowly forward rounding down towards the floor. Move slowly. Your hips will want to swing backward into the wall - don't let them. Go to your lowest point lifting your abs as you go. Keep your head tucked in. Pull your stomach in deeper and begin to roll up one bone at a time. Squeeze your seat as you uncurl upwards back to standing. Stay off the wall the entire time.

Detail Check: Make sure you are close enough to the wall that staying in front of it is a legitimate challenge. Re-position yourself to get the maximum benefit.

Perform these three exercises in a sequence at several predetermined times each day. Some simple ways to implement a steady routine are to find set times or events that trigger your internal alarm. Here are some examples:

  • Each time you leave your desk for a rest break or an errand
  • Each time to eat or drink 
  • Every 90 minutes

These exercises are great for beginners and advanced exercisers alike.  Whether you want to get back into moving more regularly or just need a little daily pick me up, work this wall routine into your schedule. No excuses. Really.

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