Traveling this summer? You can relax, get sun, stay connected and get benefits even from 15 minutes of Pilates a day–requiring no special equipment. In fact, taking a few moments to check in with your body will likely improve your vacation in more ways than one. It is always best to talk to a trainer to personalize a workout (call me, maybe!), but you can also try these ideas on for size.
I recommend finding five exercises to practice. Each one should move the spine in a different direction (there are four, basically, and I added neutral for stabilization).
1. Flexion: Curving the spine bringing the front of the ribs and front of the hips closer together. (Hundreds, Cat Stretch)
2. Extension: Curving the spine bringing the tail and the head further behind the body (still lengthening out). (Swan, Cow Stretch)
3. Lateral Flexion: Bending the spine to one side bringing the shoulder closer to the hip on that side. (Side Bend, Banana).
4. Rotation: Rotating the shoulders and upper spine one way while keeping the pelvis neutral (wringing out the waist). (Spine Twist, Obliques)
5. Neutral: No movement, but spine stabilizes in the natural position (with abs engaged). (Plank, Watchdog)
Important Note: Bones don’t move themselves! Think about the abs and other core muscles that are creating the movement from within, rather than mindlessly forcing yourself into a shape. It’s only 15 minutes–make it count, body mind and soul!
Make sure you warm up and start with neutral or flexion before moving on to the other directions. If you are feeling ambitious, warm up with a few yoga sun salutations, or go for a brisk walk to get the breath moving!
This short routine will prime both your mind and body for a longer, better, more relaxed vacation day. Encouraging your body to return to your hardcore workout schedule after vacation will also be easier since you kept in touch with your body while away–it’s the only one you have!
Thanks to my friends at Pilates on Fifth for making great Pilates accessible online. I tried to use their videos when possible.