Stretch Your Way to Better Health
As many of us continue to work at home, it’s important for us to find time to stretch. Stretching allows our muscles to continue to remain healthy, strong, and most importantly flexible. It also has been proven to improve posture, range of motion, decrease back pain, prevent injury and decrease muscle soreness.
In Pilates, we incorporate dynamic stretches also known as active stretching into our workouts. Dynamic stretches concentrate on your muscles and the ability to lengthen. This allows your body to become longer and leaner with every movement.
When you’re outside of the studio, there are a number of ways you can incorporate stretching into your daily routine. We’ve included a list of our favorite stretches below. As always, make sure to warm up before performing any of these stretches.
Spine Stretch Forward
Muscles Worked: Back and Hamstrings
Items Needed: Pilates Mat, towels, or blanket (for modification)
Begin in a seated position on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
Engage your core while folding to reach your hands to your feet.
Return to your starting position.
Modification: If your hamstrings are tight, sit on a blanket or towel. You can also perform this exercise with a slight bend in your knees.
Scissors on Foam Roller
Muscles Worked: Upper and Lower Abs, Obliques
Items Needed: Pilates Mat and Foam Roller
Lay on your back with knees bent, hips on foam roller, and feet on the floor.
Bring your knees to your chest, your body weight should be resting on your shoulders and the foam roller.
Extend your hips and legs, while making sure your chest is open and your neck is long.
Scissor your legs open at, equal distance from one another.
Note: Make sure your legs are the only part of your body moving during this exercise.
Muscles Worked: Hamstring
Items Needed: A strap or Magic Circle
Lay on your back and place the balls of your feet on the inside of the Magic Circle or a strap.
Extend your legs while keeping your head down and tailbone down.
Stretch your legs back toward you making sure to bend your elbows.
Reach heels up toward the ceiling and toes toward you.