Whether you’re stuck in a tiny hotel while traveling, visiting your in-laws, or simply housebound with your family when the “weather outside is frightening,” you can still get a workout in. These five Pilates exercises from San Francisco-based Pilates ProWorks Director of Fitness, Ellie Houston, are design to help you feel more relaxed and rejuvenated after doing the stretches and movements.
Link: How to Be More Mindful During the Holidays
Stand with your left leg crossed in front of your right leg. Inhale arms overhead, exhale forward fold. Places hands on floor in front of feet and slowly walk out to twisted plank position. Hold for 2 breaths, then walk hands back in towards feet keeping legs straight. Roll up to standing. Repeat on both sides.
Reps: 15 reps, do 3 sets (add a pushup for higher impact)
Benefits: Stretches IT band and erector spinae muscles that get compressed with long periods of sitting in transit.
Back lunge/Glute Stretch: Stand with feet hip width apart. Lift right leg and lunge backwards, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Shift weight into left leg and bring right knee to chest as you return to standing, balancing on left leg. Lift right ankle towards chest, bringing right shin as close to horizontal as possible, stretching the glute and piriformis muscles (also located in your buttocks).
Reps: 10 reps per side, do 3 sets
Benefits: Increased circulation, stretches glutes and piriformis muscles that are chronically shortened during long periods of sitting.
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Supine Ab Carousel: Lie on your back, chest and shoulders lifted, hands clasped behind head. Lift legs to 90 degrees, toes externally rotated. Exhale to lower legs to 45 degrees (or lower, as long as you can maintain a neutral spine), inhale pulling heels in toward hips and spreading the knees in a reverse frog kick, send legs back up to 90 degrees, squeezing the inner thighs together as you extend upwards.
Reps: 10 reps forward, 10 reps in reverse, Do 3 sets
Benefits: Elevating legs increases circulation to the heart and prevents blood from pooling in the legs during long flights, core engagement prevents low and mid-back compression and soreness from long periods of sitting.
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Roll-ups with Forward Fold: Lie flat on your back, arms stretched overhead. Inhale slowly as you roll up, one vertebrae at a time, articulating the spine as you rise. Once you are fully upright with your shoulders over your hips, fold forward, reaching for your toes, exhaling completely and drawing in from the core. Inhale to rise back to upright seated position, exhale scoop belly and round back to roll down, one vertebrae at a time.
Reps: 15 reps, Do 3 sets
Benefits: Stretches erector spinae and hamstring muscles that compress during long periods of travel, increases circulation and spinal mobility.
Wall Squats with Isometric Leg Compression: stand with your back to a wall. Press your back flat against the wall and walk feet 18 inches away from the wall as you bend your knees and slide your torso down the wall into a supported sitting position. Draw the belly button in towards the spine to engage the core, relax the legs. Inhale. Exhale, squeezing all the muscles in your legs as tight as you can until your lungs are completely empty. Inhale and relax the legs. Repeat 5 times.
Benefits: This is prep for an exercise you can perform on long flights to prevent blood from pooling in the legs while you are seated for long periods of time. Squeezing the muscles without shortening or lengthening them (isometric compression) promotes circulation to and from the extremities by shunting old deoxygenated blood from the muscles and bringing in freshly circulated blood from the heart.