Beh Hwee Sze, our founder & manager, shares her top anti-aging Pilates poses to keep lithe and limber.
Side bend with fitness ball
Benefits: Stretch, strengthen & tone the sides of your body.
1) Sitting tall with your legs placed sideways, engage your abs to protect your lower back. With arms wide, place one palm firmly on the fitness ball for support with the other arm wide open.
2) Slowly lean over, sliding the ball laterally away from you, pull your belly button in towards your spine, round the other arm over your head.
3) Bend as much as you feel comfortable, placing weight into the fitness ball for a deeper side stretch. Hold for five complete breaths. Repeat each side five more times.
Modified cat-cow stretch with fitness ball
Benefits: Improve your posture and balance by strengthening and stretching the spine, neck, hips, abdomen, and back. This also increases coordination, and massages and stimulates organs in the belly, such as the kidneys and adrenal glands.
1) Sitting back on your heels, place both fists on a fitness ball with your neck straight and eyes gazing down.
2) Tuck your tailbone under, pull your belly button in, and engage your core, raising your body weight slowly onto knees.
3) Feel the articulation of the spine from a gentle C curve by sliding the fitness ball forward and lengthening the spine. Repeat five times.
Benefits: This classic Pilates dynamic warm-up exercise works the muscles of your inner thighs and abs. It lengthens the spine while strengthening the muscles near the rib cage. The intense workout strengthens the deepest abdominal layer, the transverse abdominal. When reinforced, these muscles can give your torso a slim and toned appearance. Additionally, it strengthens breathing and increases your blood flow.
1) Lie down with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
2) Inhale, and raise your neck & hands off the floor, with your arms parallel to your body.
3) Exhale and lift your legs to table-top or 45 degrees pointing up towards the sky. Inhale, pump arms for 10 counts. Exhale, continue to pump arms for another 10 counts. Continue to 100 counts.
Leg stretches with flex bands
Benefits: Improve your flexibility, range of motion, balance & circulation.
1) Start this intermediate hamstring stretch by lying on your back on an exercise mat. Bend your left leg and keep your foot flat on the mat. Extend your right leg up until it is perpendicular to the floor. Loop the middle of a resistance band around the arch of your right foot.
2) Grasp the ends of the band in both hands, while keeping your right leg as straight as possible.
3) Pull on the band to draw your leg closer towards your upper body. Stop when you feel the stretch in the back of your right leg. Hold for ten seconds.
4) Stretch your leg out sideways for an inner thigh stretch, hold for ten seconds, return your
leg back up to the ceiling, relax and repeat five times. Rest and continue with your left leg.
Shoulder bridge with arm scissors
Benefits: Build abdominal & leg strength. This also gently works your back, butt, and hamstring muscles.
1) Lie on your back with your knees bent, with your hands on the side holding weighted balls. Pull your belly button in towards your spine and ensure that your lower back is flat on the mat.
2) Squeeze your butt and abs and raise your butt and hips as high as you can while still keeping your shoulders on the ground.
3) Lift up your arms so that they are by the side of your hips. Gently raise your left arm into the air until your hand is directly above your face. Lower it and raise your right arm, all the while maintaining pelvic stability.
4) Lower your right arm so that both arms are by the side of your hips. Slowly lower your arms & body down on the mat. Repeat five times.