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Many women are taking advantage of the mind-body exercises that make up Pilates. Pilates exercises are excellent for pregnant women as they help you develop a strong core, build flexibility and reduce stress. Pilates highlights proper breathing techniques and focuses on pelvic and spinal alignment, making you acutely aware of your body's movements and positioning. Here are a few beginner Pilates exercises you may want to try. Remember to focus on deep breathing in order to maximize the efficiency of each move.
Pelvic Curl: This is one of the best butt and thigh exercises. Lie on your back with your palms up and your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Make sure you maintain spinal alignment. Inhale and exhale, focusing on your abdominal and pelvic muscles. Lift your pelvis towards the ceiling, pressing down on your feet and curling your tailbone forward. Try to make a straight line from your shoulders to hips. Repeat the move three to five times.
The Hundred: This move is great for your abdominals. Lay on your back with your knees at your chest. Keep your pelvis and spine in alignment and exhale as you bring your chin towards your knees, using your abdominal muscles and curling your spine towards the floor. Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed. Next, extend your legs and arms outwards, pulsing your palms up and down for five seconds. Repeat the move three to five times. Focus on breathing.
One Leg Circle: This move stretches your abdominals, thighs and hips. Lie flat on your back, focusing on your spinal alignment and breathing. Pull your abdominals in and lift one leg towards the ceiling. Try to keep your leg straight, but if you have tight hamstrings you may bend your knee slightly. Keep your weight evenly distributed on your hips and shoulders. Drop your leg towards the floor a few inches and slowly move it in circles, practicing control and stability. Do five circles on each leg three to five times.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|