There are a number of ways to strengthen your muscles, but when it comes to core strength, Pilates is one of the best. Of course, you might not have the desire or available income to hit the studio a few times per week.
Thankfully, you can get the benefits of core-strengthening Pilates work out from the comfort of your home.
Why focus on core strength? Because it is extremely important as you age. Your core represents the muscles in your abdominals, lower back, and butt. These muscle groups play a major role in balance and mobility and can help decide if you fall or stay upright, or even maintain independence in the future.
One method of strengthening your core is performing Pilates-style exercises at home with a mat and stability ball. These two affordable tools can help you engage and strengthen your core muscles so you can reduce the risk of injury and have the strength to live an independent life.
A few core-strengthening exercises you can try are:
- Lie on your mat with your back down and ball under your right calf, just above the ankle.
- Point toes of both feet, then make circles with your left leg, lifting it up and to the left in a counterclockwise direction. Repeat 5 times, then make clockwise circles.
- Switch legs and repeat.
- Lie on your back on the mat with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
- Place the ball between your thighs and bring arms behind your head, palms up, during an inhale.
- Exhale and lift your hips off the mat into a bridge position, while sweeping your arms to a forward-facing position at your sides.
- Inhale while lowering your hips and moving arms back overhead.
- Sit on your mat and place the ball between your legs.
- Make sure if you were lying flat, your head would be on the mat.
- Raise legs and slightly lower your back so your body is making a V-type shape.
- Position arms straight out in front of you.
- Keeping legs elevated, engage your pelvic floor and abs to slowly roll down your back, one vertebra at a time, until your back is flat on the floor.
- As you move back, reach up with your arms behind your head so they are also flat on the mat.
- Touch down briefly and roll back up.
- This is a challenging exercise. Try doing one, then building on your total over the coming days and weeks.
These three exercises can help you mimic a Pilates core workout without the fancy equipment. Give them a try and build your core strength to reduce the risk of falls and promote independence.