If you’ve returned from a trip, your body is feeling a little stiff and sore. But don’t worry – ProHealth Pilates studio has the perfect exercises to get you back to your usual self in no time. In this blog post, we’ll teach you five simple Pilates mat exercises to try after traveling.
1. Standing Roll Down
Sitting for a long time while traveling puts a lot of pressure on your spine. Hamstrings tighten up which also decreases mobility in the lower back. Loosen things up with a Standing Roll Down.
Begin standing with feet parallel, hip width distance apart with good posture. Line up your shoulders over your hips. Begin rolling down with dropping the chin and rounding the shoulders. Arms stay relaxed and soften the knees. Roll the crown of the head down to the ground. Maintain a scooped belly and rounded back to open space between each vertebrae.
Stay down for 3 full breaths. Roll back up starting at the base of the spine. Keep your abs scooped until you come back up to a standing position. Complete the entire movement 3 times.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
Continue to loosen the spine and torso with a spinal twist. The rotation in the spinal twist nourishes the spine while opening the hamstrings.
Begin sitting on the mat, legs straight in front of your hips. If you have difficulty straightening your legs, bend at the knee or sit on a pillow to lift up your hips. Stack your shoulders over hips and scoop the belly. Extend arms out to the side, keeping them slightly in front of your chest. Inhale first. Twist at the waist to the right with an exhale. Inhale, return center. Repeat to the left.
Repeat on each side, 4 times. Be sure to keep the arms stable and move from the waistline, not from the arms or shoulders. Lengthen the spine toward the ceiling, hips reaching down for greatest spinal length.
From spinal twist, flow into saw. Keep arms open and move your legs mat width apart, flex the feet.
Begin with a spinal twist to the right. Then dive your left hand towards the outside of the right foot. Reach your left hand pinky finger towards the right foot pinky toe. Return center and switch sides.
As you reach the hand toward the foot, lift through the lower back, scoop the belly and round through the upper back. Remember to keep both hips reaching into the mat.
4. Front Back from Side Leg Series
Let’s open the hip extensors. The front of the hip tightens while we sit for long periods of time. Begin by laying on your left side. Hips and shoulders stack on top of each other, shoulders relaxed and belly scooped. Place your right hand on the mat for extra stability. Lift the right leg up, hip height. Kick the leg forward at hip height then swing the leg back, opening the front of the hip.
Continue to kick the leg front and back 10 times. As you move the leg, think of reaching your leg long, out of the hip joint. Keep your belly scooped and engage you leg muscles. Repeat on the left leg 10 times.
5. Chest Expansion
Finish with a chest opening expansion. Start in Pilates stance, heels together, toes apart. Or begin standing parallel, hip width distance apart. Belly scooped and the chest lifted. Face the palms of the hands back, inhale. On the exhale, press hands straight back past the hips and turn head towards the right. Inhale, arms and head return forward center. Exhale, press arms and palms back, head turns to the left. Repeat 3 times on each side. As you open your chest, still keep the rib cage knit together and belly scooped.
Pilates mat classes are a great way to strengthen your muscles after you’ve been on the road. After sitting in confined spaces and being cooped up for hours, take time for your body.