Keep your body youthful with an anti-ageing Pilates workout

·3-min read
AGE FOTOSTOCK

A lifetime of poor posture can lead to back muscles becoming weak and strained, potentially causing joint and disc issues.

Low intensity, low impact, and inclusive, Pilates is a great way to combat the effects of sitting and being hunched over computers or phones all of the time, as it is focused on spinal alignment and the tiny muscles that support your musculoskeletal system.

Plus, it's a form of exercise that can be done into old age without any negative impact on the body and joints.

Abby McLachlan, teacher and founder of East of Eden (eastofeden.uk), has shared her top Pilates exercises that can keep you feeling your best.

To help with back health

For those with back issues, the first move to master is the glute bridge.

"This strengthens your bottom and stretches your lower spine all at once. Think of your spine as a pearl necklace; you must pick your spine up, bone by bone, by curling your pelvis and pressing up with your bum until your body is in a straight line at the top. Then melt back down, ribcage first, still squeezing your glutes until you have landed your pelvis. These are great to do just after waking up, when your spine is still relaxed and malleable," she explained. "Second, try the hip twist. Lay flat on the floor with your arms out wide, palms down. Stabilise your core and bring your legs into a tabletop. Keep your back as flat as you can and twist your hips up and over to one side, then up and over to the other side, keeping your knees together."

Strengthen the pelvic floor

It is normal as part of the ageing process for the pelvic floor muscles to "relax".

"But as these muscles are responsible for the stabilisation of the pelvis and its organs it's important to keep the area strong in order to maintain control over the bladder, bowels and, in women, uterus," the expert shared. "There are a number of different ways to engage your pelvic floor. A simple yet effective way is a Pilates exercise known as Toe Taps. Lying on your back, take a deep inhale breath and on the exhale gently draw one leg at a time to a tabletop position (90-degree angle) focusing on engaging your pelvic floor and pulling your belly button towards your spine. Repeat 10 times each leg."

Protect bone density

We all know exercise is good for us but it can be hard to motivate yourself to do a gruelling HIIT workout at the end of a long day at work.

"Regular low impact workouts such as Barre and Pilates have been proven to be very effective in the improvement of cardiovascular health and therefore help maintain a healthy metabolism. Low impact workouts allow the joints to remain safe and stable (which is incredibly important as the body ages) whilst still working on muscular endurance and increasing the heart rate. Low impact workouts are especially beneficial for increasing bone density which is vital in preventing osteoporosis," she added. "Static lunges are my favourite way to get a quick fix workout in; lunges require you to focus on the alignment of the shoulders, engaging your abdominal wall and strengthening your quadriceps and glutes."

Always seek advice from a qualified Pilates teacher if you have any injuries or are pregnant or postnatal before trying any new exercises.

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