Exploring the basic moves

Let’s start with one of the better known pilates moves called The Hundred.  This is in intermediate move and should not be practiced until you have mastered the basics of pilates. It challenges abdominal endurance and hip and leg muscles.

Begin in relaxed position (see “fundamentals” page) and then lift your legs one at a time into a 90 degree “table top” knee fold. Keep your inner thighs and core engaged.

Breathe in to prepare and as you breathe out bring your chin to your chest slightly while at the same time lifting your neck, shoulders and upper back off the mat. Your lower back should remain pressed into the mat.

Bring your arms off the mat slightly and keep them in this position while reaching towards your feet.

Breathe in for a count of 5 while batting your arms up and down. Keep your arms strong. Then breathe out for a count of 5 while batting your arms up and down.  Repeat 10 times until you have reached the count of 100.

Once you have mastered this you can start to progress and challenge yourself by straightening and lowering your legs. The lower you have your legs the harder the exercise will be. Only lower your legs to the point where you can maintain correct alignment and keep your lower back pressed into the mat.

Tips –

expand ribs on inhalation and draw them in together on exhalation.

keep the chest open and shoulders down away from ears.

keep your had still, don’t be temped to bob it up and down with each breathe

move the arms from the shoulder and down lock your elbows

if you find it too challenging to have your legs in table top, then keep your feel planted on the floor in relaxed position

 

Feeling the Winter blues?

Try to get as much fresh air and exercise as possible. The vitamin D from sunshine will make you feel much better so it’s important to get outdoors whenever possible.  Even a 10 minute walk in your lunch break will improve your feeling of wellbeing and increase your afternoon productivity levels. Exercise is a great way to remove stress hormones from our bodies, another reason to go for a lunch time walk or attend an exercise class after work.

If you can’t get outdoors or the sun isn’t shining, which is often sadly the case in Winter in the UK, then try and increase your vitamin D intake through food or even a supplement. Vitamin D can be found naturally in cheese, egg yolk, fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil, fortified milk and orange juice, fortified breakfast cereals and tofu.