Although Pilates is not an easy form of exercise it can be used as a great method for relaxation!
The slow and controlled movements of Pilates in combination with breathing techniques can significantly reduce your stress levels and in turn make you feel more relaxed.
It is hugely important to look after our mental health as well as our physical fitness. Stress hormones such as cortisol are secreted from the adrenal gland to help us cope with day to day functioning through regulating blood sugar levels and the immune system. However, during times of high stress or anxiety the production of cortisol increases which can cause mood swings, depression and difficulty sleeping.
Physiolates is a great way to control your stress levels and promote relaxation through both exercise and friendly group interaction. My top 5 stress relieving Pilates exercises are:
- Corkscrew– I love this exercises as you can feel the stress and tension melting away after each repetition. Combined with specific deep breathing techniques this is an exercise everyone should do not only in a pilates class but on a day to day bases!
- Mermaid – Ever want to be as graceful as a mermaid or as fluid as the way they swim through the ocean? Well you should really take a look at the mermaid stretch. This is a great stretch that helps to elongate the lateral sling and your oblique muscles allowing for increased flexibility in your muscles and in turn that relaxed feeling we all need
- Shoulder bridge– The shoulder bridge exercise is extremely relaxing as you peel your hips up towards the celling and slowly melt back down onto the mat. You can feel this exercise working to increase segmental spinal mobility on each repetition and it is also great for core and glute activation too! There is nothing like an exercise with more than one function!
- Cat stretch- Ever wonder why cats are always looking nice and relaxed. Well there is reason that the cat stretch is named after one of the most relaxed species. The cat stretch is a great relaxing exercise as it works to engage your core while also stretching your back and shoulder muscles that often become tense during times of stress.
- Roll Down– Finally, we have the infamous roll down. Standing with your feet hip width apart; you start that relaxation process as you take a deep breath out and start descending to the floor by unravelling your spine one segment at a time. Concentrating on your breathing as you roll down to the floor, you are sure to become more in tune with your body and those stresses that we hide away in it.