Stress is something that everyone experiences in their day to day life. Whether it’s stress caused by work, family life or relationships, they can all affect our mind, body and health. Stress can manifest in forms of stomach aches, headaches, digestive issues, sleep disruption and many more hindering ways. Although we all experience stress, some people are able to adapt to these stresses better than others.
Pilates is a great way to help cope with these stresses to have less of an impact on your day to day life. Joseph Pilates (founder of Pilates) established six principles of Pilates that help you with your ability to control these everyday stresses. These include breathing, precision, concentration, centring, control, and flow of movement. With each Pilates exercise, these six principles are utilised to aid with stress reduction and relief.
Top 5 exercises to help reduce your stress and anxiety:
1. Rolling Like A Ball- This exercise is performed exactly how it sounds. But with this rolling motion, it helps you become more in tune with your body, using the floor you’re rolling on to control your movement, centre your body and become more aware of where you are in space. It allows you to know exactly where each spinal segment is located and how each muscle is going to act to allow you to continue to roll.
2. Roll Downs– This is the ultimate exercise to assist you in your relaxation following a long day at work. Roll downs allow you to let go of all the stress you have accumulated throughout the day by simply allowing your spine to unravel as you allow your arms to hang by your side. That being said, after you roll down, you always have to roll back up; something that will require you to activate your core and be aware of your posture.
3. Spine Twist- Do you feel as though all your tension is accumulating in your mid back and shoulders? Do you start to get back aches after being at work for a few hours? Lack of mobility and stress can often do that to you. The spine twist is the perfect exercise for you and your unexplained mid-back tension! With this exercise you’re allowing mid back to relax and move into a more normal range, not to mention giving it a nice big stretch!
4. Cat Stretch– Most of you might be familiar with this exercise if you have ever done yoga. If you’re stressed and hold yourself quite tense throughout the day, you are likely to have aches in pains throughout back and neck. The cat stretch is the perfect stretch to allow you to get rid of the stiffness in your spine and allow your body to move more freely.
5. Corkscrew- Do you find that you are constantly rubbing your shoulders? Or that you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? If the answer is yes, then the corkscrew is the exercise for you! With this exercise, it has you contract your upper traps and then allows them to relax to their maximal potential. While doing the corkscrew you will feel the relief through your neck and shoulders almost immediately!