Pilates has grown in popularity over the years because of its quick results and the ability to do it anywhere you can find a soft, flat surface. This is a daily routine from Fitness Magazine that should take you around eight minutes. In this routine, you will initiate all movements from your core and focus on moving your body in the same rhythm as your breath. For best results, focus on pulling your belly button to your spine, keeping your neck and back long and your shoulders relaxed.
Start with the Swan. To begin, lie face down on the floor with your legs extended and your hands flat on the floor by your shoulders. Keeping your elbows as close to your body as possible. Press your hands into the floor, and life your head, shoulders and chest. Arch your upper back and take two to three breaths. Return to the floor and repeat. Next try the Double Leg Stretch.
Lie on your back, and hug your knees to your chest. Focusing on your core muscles, lift your head and shoulders off the ground. Simultaneously extend your arms overhead, straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle off the floor, and hold for 1 count. Focus on holding your upper body off of the floor and keeping your legs together. Repeat.
Stretching Your Spine
Begin with the Spine Stretch Forward. Sit up with your arms and legs extended. Your legs can be slightly apart. Breathe deep and sit up tall. As you exhale reach head, neck and shoulders towards your toes. Imagine that you are bending over a ball. Inhale and hold. Exhale and deepen your abdominals. Inhale and roll up to a sitting position. Repeat.
Move on to the Seated Spine Twist. Sit up straight with your legs extended and your feet flexed. Extend your arms out to your sides at shoulder level. Sit up tall and inhale. As you exhale pull your abs in, and twist to the right. Only move your upper body, keeping your hips firmly in place. Inhale and face front. Repeat on the left side.
Full Body Movements
Start with the Leg Pull Front. Sit with your legs extended, and your hands on the floor. Point your fingers toward your body. Lift your hips off the ground and lift 1 leg off of the ground and hold for three seconds. Alternate legs and repeat. Move on to the Leg Pull Back. Start in push-up position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Lift one leg 2 to 5 inches off the floor and hold for a three count. Slowly lower. Repeat alternating legs.
Doing this workout daily will help you build long and lean muscles, improve your flexibility and help you have better posture. Pilates is also a great way to relax and unwind. Concentrate on your breathing, not the busy day ahead.