Pilates is a form of exercise that is developed by Joseph Pilates. The aim of it is to improve your posture and movement. The movements during this exercise mainly focus on lower abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles and back muscles that are very important for your posture, balance and strength. The exercises could be practised easily with the help of a mat or equipment like exercise balls, resistance bands, trapeze tables and reformers.
Take a look at some of the exercises, specifically pregnancy Pilates that are effective and safe for you.
· Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercise
This helps in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and prevents complications related to pregnancy during childbirth. Lie down with elevated head and knees bent. You have to think that you are controlling the urge to urinate. The muscles would squeeze so that you feel it. Retain this position for around ten seconds and then relax gradually. Repeat the same ten times.
· Deep tummy strengthening
This exercise can help in increasing back support. To perform this exercise, lie on one side of the knee by bending it slightly. Breathe in, breathe out and try to pull the tummy towards the spine. You could also squeeze the pelvic floor muscles. Retain the position for some time. Relax the stomach muscles and repeat this gently around ten times.
· Pelvic tilts
This exercise helps in strengthening the lower back and pelvis. It involves lying in the supine position. Never try out this exercise without consulting the person in charge of pregnancy physiotherapy. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your shoulders and head elevated on a pillow. Keep the knees bent and breathe in gently. When you breathe out, press the lower back down using abdominal muscles. The pelvis would tilt and the tailbone would rise gently. Hold for about five to ten seconds. Repeat this ten times.
· Upper back stretch
This exercise is good to improve posture. You have to sit cross-legged by keeping your back in an upright position and placing your hands behind the head. Slowly breathe in. When you breathe out, draw in your tummy and extend the back as you look up the ceiling. Take another breath and squeeze your shoulders. Resume to the starting position. Repeat this around ten times.
· The cat stretch
This helps in strengthening the back muscles. You can begin by keeping your hands under the shoulders and knees beneath the hips. Breathe in and relax the tummy. When you breathe out, draw the tummy inwards and arch the back upwards. Bend your head down and glance at the tummy. Breathe in again by returning to the starting position. Repeat the same around ten times.
· The Sword
This exercise helps improve balance and strengthen abdominal muscles, back and legs. You could begin by standing with your feet apart, wider than the hips. Bend the knees and move the right hand towards the left knee as shown in the picture. Raise your right hand upwards to the right like you take a sword out from the hip belt. Keep looking at the hand when you do so. Repeat the same with the left side as well.