Hello Dear Reader,
I hope you are very well today!
I’ve put together some Pilates moves for you to help you achieve the mind and body connection required to get your tummy flatter, to reduce stress and get rid of bloating.
But first, I’d like to talk a bit about breathing…
Did you know that the way we breathe can affect our body size and shape?
I know it seems incredibly simple, so let me explain the science behind it.
When we use diaphragmatic breathing we activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the green zone of our brain that tells our body we are safe and not in danger. When we are in this zone, the body burns fat as fuel.
On the other hand, when we are in a panic situation we use the sympathetic nervous system (red zone). Our breathing becomes short and shallow, and we burn sugar as it is the fastest fuel available to escape the danger. However, the body cannot differentiate between physical stress (running from a tiger in the jungle) and psychological stress (deadlines, work, homework, house cleaning, relationships, health).
Pilates teaches you to use diaphragmatic breathing.
And it is really important to use this not only when we train but also in our daily lives, as this will reduce stress and our cortisol levels. Excess cortisol is one of the causes of weight gain around the waist area. The breathing technique is simple: inhale in through the nose and exhale through the mouth, moving the belly in and out, like a baby!
I’ve put together some Pilates exercises to help you achieve the mind and body connection required to get your tummy flatter, to reduce stress and get rid of bloating.
Using this breathing technique enables you to connect with your body and activates your transverse abdominals, which are the ones responsible for really firing our pelvic floor and to flatten our stomach. I use the Pilates ball for three of these exercises; I strongly recommend you buy one – good value ones are available here.
With the ball under the tail bone, the back is relieved, you don’t put so much weight on it and you can really focus on engaging those deep beautiful lower abdominals using the breathing with the movement of your legs. Also, the ball will destabilize you, meaning you need to work harder to keep those abs tight, so double the work!
By doing these exercises regularly and focusing on breathing, your digestive system will benefit too. When your digestive system works well and it breaks down food as it is supposed to, you will not feel bloated after eating. IBS affects many women nowadays and is mainly caused by stress, adrenaline and difficulties with digestion.
I recommend starting your day doing these exercises at least 4-5 times per week to see immediate results.
Before you start, let’s review the breathing: you want to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth (with pursed lips). Imagine you are blowing out a candle when you exhale. Every time you inhale the rib cage expands sideways, and every time your exhale the ribs push down towards your pubic bone. The feeling is almost like your ribs are closing your tummy inside them. Please try to have long exhalation to feel the internal abdominals engaging and to be fully connected with your mind and body.
1. Toe tap ( 10-15 reps): lie down on your back- keeping a small gap between the mat and your lower back- legs in table top. Lower one leg at the time as you exhale, inhale to come back in table top. Move the leg from your hip flexor, not from the knee. Put your hands on top of your tummy to feel your tummy going away from your hands when you exhale and getting closer to them when you inhale.
2. Single leg stretch – ball under bum: ball under the tail bone- lumbar spine off the ball- legs in table top- arms by your side to help balance. Extend one leg at the time as you exhale, inhale to return. 10-15 reps in total.
3. Bicycle – ball under bum: use the ball as in the previous exercise-start to cycle your legs, try to stretch them fully and go slow- 5 reps one direction, 5 reps opposite.
4. Double leg stretch- ball under bum: use the ball as in the previous exercise- legs in table top, arms by your side. Extend both legs fully as you exhale, inhale to come back. 10-15 reps. Try to go as low as you can while keeping your pelvis in neutral (don’t arch your back). If it is too difficult, extend your legs a bit higher towards you.
5. Plank: Hold plank 10 secs x 3 times. Engage your glutes and don’t forget to breathe in and out.
Please look at the video below if you are unsure how to do the exercises correctly.
I hope I convinced you to try these exercises, not only for your outside beauty but more importantly for your inner one. Remember that beauty comes from the inside.
Let’s breathe, let’s reduce our stress levels and let’s shape our body from the inside!
Benefits from breathing combined with these Pilates exercises:
- stress relief
- clearer mind
- more focused
- better sleep
- better digestion
- flatter tummy
- tone pelvic floor
- less sugar craving
- back pain relief
If you want to discuss anything, please leave a comment or contact me via email.
For more workouts with me online visit www.shapesstudio.co