3 Pilates Tips To Relieve Tightness

 In Old Towne Orange, People Stories, Top Posts

Mother’s day is this Sunday and as we think about our moms and all they do for us, wouldn’t it be nice to give them that one thing that they rarely get? Time for themselves, of course! As a mother of two myself, ‘me’ time is precious and oh-so-hard to carve out. With this in mind, we turned to my dear friend, and local business owner, Liza of Pilates Encore, located at The Potting Shed. Now, I’m super lucky and get to see Liza each and every Thursday for a Pilates session followed by lunch in the Plaza. But I will say, it’s not always easy for me to get away, I have to remind myself that I need to take the time to take care of myself, but I honestly often fail at this and put work and family first – I’ll deal with you later, me!

So, when I was chatting with Liza a few weeks ago about putting this piece together, we talked about what kind of tips she could pass along to those of us working hard out there as moms, bosses, employees, students, really anyone. Working hard, even if that means sitting at a desk all day, takes a toll on your body and we need to take care of these bodies of ours! So, we came up with a few tips on dealing with those aches and pains, focusing on the back, legs and simply how to start the day off right. Liza explains that when you do Pilates, your body and mind become free allowing you to focus on solely yourself.

Liza and her fellow teachers, Linda, and Lisa, took some time out of their day to each share one thing you can do for yourself, at home. But, as a wonderful bonus, they are also running a special for Mother’s Day, so if you’re still on the hunt for that perfect gift for mom, turn to Pilates Encore. Click here for their May Specials!

Now, on to those tips!


1. Liza’s Tip: Relieving Back Pain

Liza has a lot of clients that come to her to help change their bodies and minds in a positive way. Many of them have injuries that they’ve tried to fix through physical therapy. When that fails they turn to Liza, who’s passion is transforming lives through Pilates. Liza herself survived a car crash years ago so she knows first hand what it’s like to live with pain.

If you are someone who has back pain (like I often do myself), Liza demonstrates a useful exercise you can do any time of the day. For this simple exercise, you can use dryer balls, tennis balls or anything similar in shape and firmness. Here’s how you do it:

  • Lie down and place two balls under your lower back while keeping your knees bent
  • Gently move your torso up and down and side to side, rolling on top of the balls
  • There are many variations to this exercise but the most important part is to take your time to feel every movement (it’s a glorious massage that will relieve some of that back pain!)

2. Linda’s Tip: How To Start Your Day Without Pain

Linda started Pilates in her early sixties and was instantly hooked. Before Pilates, she did various exercise routines to stay in shape but none of these routines made her feel good mentally AND physically. Pilates provided a completely new level to her regimen. Linda is a great example for the 50+ crowd who might think changing an exercise routine is impossible.

Linda is showing a pose that everyone, especially moms, should do first thing in the morning. As soon as you roll out of bed give yourself a full spine stretch. This exercise is called the Cat and the Cow:

  • Get on all fours lining up your shoulders with your wrists, and put your knees below your hips
  • For the Cat pose, round your back as much as you can while staying on all fours, pulling your stomach in and stretching your lower back out
  • For the Cow pose, reverse the shape of your back lifting your eyes (and your behind!) to the sky and stretching out those stomach muscles, chest and lower back
  • Slowly repeat this at least 5 times and enjoy every delicious second
  • Do this and you WILL notice those tight morning muscles loosening right up!

3. Lisa’s Tip: Relieving Leg Pain

Do you work in retail, a restaurant, or any other job that keeps you on your feet all day? It’s important to give those tight leg muscles some relief. That’s why our friend Lisa is demonstrating an exercise for those of you who tirelessly run around serving others all day.

What’s great about this exercise is that it’ll give you immediate relief in your legs. As a former gymnast, Lisa is very familiar with pain from overuse and stress on these muscles. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Simply lie on your back, grab a belt or a tie, whatever you have handy and wrap it around the arch of your foot and lengthen your leg, as straight as you can
  • Then gently pull your foot towards you creating resistance with your tie or band
  • If you are stretching your right foot, hold the belt with your right hand and vice versa when you switch legs
  • This will absolutely stretch your hamstrings and will feel amazing!
  • Lisa notes that you don’t have to overdo this, you can bring your foot as close or far from your body as it will allow, just find that yummy spot and sink into it
  • Hold for a solid 2 minutes, then switch

Remember, Pilates Encore is running some May promotions, including a super fun sounding Weekend Warmup happening Friday night! Here’s to health and happiness in mind, body and spirit!

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