The Pilates Potion

Healthy Lifestyle Expert Danette May gives us a taste of the “Pilates potion.”

Pilates is one of the most popular exercise systems in the country. It is an innovative system of mind-body exercise evolved from the principles of Joseph Pilates.

Pilates dramatically transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs. It builds strength without excess bulk, creating a sleek, toned body with slender thighs and a flat abdomen.

It teaches body awareness, good posture and easy, graceful movement. Pilates improves flexibility, agility and economy of motion. It can even help alleviate back pain.

Professional dancers have known the benefits of Pilates for decades. Top athletes use it for strength, flexibility, and injury prevention. Hollywood celebrities and supermodels use it to maintain beautiful physiques.

Core strength is the foundation of Pilates exercise. The core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and back. When the core muscles are strong and doing their job, as they are trained to do in Pilates, they work in tandem with the more superficial muscles of the trunk to support the spine and movement.

As you develop your core strength you develop stability throughout your entire torso. This is one of the ways Pilates helps people overcome back pain. As the trunk is properly stabilized, pressure on the back is relieved and the body is able to move freely and efficiently.

A miracle? Not really. Pilates is a safe, sensible exercise system using a floor mat or equipment, that will help you look and feel your very best. No matter what your age or condition, it will work for you. Here are 5 effective moves that will help you slim down in your midsection and help with lower back pain.

1. Half roll back:feet placed on floor, pull in your midsection, create a C curve with your spine and roll back until your feet want to leave the floor, gently roll back up)

2. Half roll back w/ oblique twist: roll back and then maintain position as you extend your hand back, repeat on other side.

3. Roll up: body flat, gently roll up, sucking in midsection and reach over toes. Gently roll down, laying your spine down vertebra by vertebra.

4. Roll over: Reach your legs over your head, then gently place them down using your abdominal muscles.

5. Plank w/ knee extension: elbows down, body in plank position, hold abdominals in towards spine. Pull your knee in towards your elbow. Repeat on other side.