Improve your balance and posture
Your core abdominal muscles help you move your body and keep your balance. Ensuring these muscles are strong and flexible can prevent back pain and even improve your posture. (Note: this doesn’t mean you need to strive for six-pack abs!) Pilates is a low-impact workout that has a high impact on core strength. Start with these simple moves for a strong core and better balance. Just remember to check with your doctor before performing these exercises.
Start sitting in a V with your legs and torso at 45-degree angles. Extend your arms in front of you. Place a Pilates ball in between your legs to increase intensity. Round your spine and slowly lower your torso onto the floor as you raise your hands over your head. Lift back up to the starting position. Repeat this exercise six to eight times.
Lie on the floor with a flat back and knees bent. Your feet should be on the floor hip-width distance from each other. Stretch your arms overhead. Using your glutes, lift your hips about six inches off the ground while raising your arms up and over, making a semicircle until they reach the floor alongside your body. Slowly return to your starting position. Perform this series six to eight times. To further challenge yourself, place a ball in between your knees and use your thighs to squeeze it throughout the exercise.
Start with your back flat against the floor, knees bent, and arms alongside your body. Your feet should be flat and hip-width distance from each other. Lift your arms, head, and shoulders a few inches off the ground. Make a small pumping motion up and down with both your arms. They should hover about three inches over the floor. Pump your arms 100 times. You should breathe in for five counts and out for five counts throughout the entire series.
Lie on the floor with your body in a straight line and arms alongside your torso. Lift your right leg halfway, point your toes and draw a big clockwise circle. Engage your core to keep your body in place as you move your legs. Draw six to eight circles and then repeat this on the other side. To make this more challenging, place a Pilates ball under the supporting foot.
While lying on the floor with a flat back, lift your legs until they are over your hips. Engage your core by slightly lifting your torso off the ground. Lower your right leg until it almost touches the floor. As you bring your right leg back to the starting position, lower your left leg just as you did the right. Both legs should continually move until you’ve completed six to eight reps. To increase the intensity, hold your Pilates ball in one hand and pass it through your legs as you perform the scissor.
Lie flat on your back so your body is in a straight line. Place your hands behind your head. Lift your head and legs a couple of inches off the ground. Bend your right knee and bring it toward your chest. At the same time, twist your torso so that your left elbow taps your right knee. As you straighten your right leg, perform this move on the other side. Repeat 12 times on each side.
Start in plank position. You should immediately feel your core engaged. Lift your right leg until it’s aligned with your hip. Lower the leg back down and repeat on your left side. Point your toes as you lift and lower your legs. Perform this exercise six to eight times.
Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width distance apart. Your feet should be flat against the floor, and your arms should be alongside your body. Place your left ankle on your right knee. Using just your right leg, lift your hips and glutes off the floor. Lift your left leg straight up with your toes pointed at the ceiling. Lower the left leg and bring it back to its starting position with the knee bent and foot flat against the floor. Lower your hips and glutes back to the floor. Repeat on the other side. Perform this exercise six to eight times.
Lie on the floor with a flat back and legs straight up over your hips with your feet pointing at the ceiling. Lower your right leg until you feel your core engaged. Pulse the leg for a count of three. Lift your leg to the starting position and perform the move with your left leg. Repeat on both sides six to eight times.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your knees bent, lift your legs so they’re parallel to the ground. With your toes pointed forward, tap your right toes to the ground. Lift your leg back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. To challenge yourself, place a Pilates ball under your hips and try to keep your balance throughout the exercise. Repeat six to eight times.