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Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety

Welcome To Chapman Physiotherapy

The Pilates method is essentially a mind-body centring technique that emphasizes the importance of beginning movement from a central core of stability, namely the lower back and pelvis. Exercises aim to strengthen, mobilise and stretch muscles to correct muscle imbalances caused by habit, posture and movement abnormalities. Often when we have a weakness in a certain area, we compensate or over-develop another area to achieve a certain functional movement. Correcting these abnormal movement patterns can achieve a greater sense of well-being, posture, confidence and even skill level within your chosen sport.

Pilates not only sculpts and changes the way your body looks and feels, it also clears your mind, giving you more space to think, inner calm and more energy. Doing breathing exercises which are one of the key principles of classical pilates, can help trigger the brain to calm down, which naturally decreases our anxiety and stress.

We hold stress in different parts of our bodies, chest & shoulders & hips. Try these basic exercises to reset, destress & relax your body.

A towel or carpet can replace a Pilates mat, couch cushions come in useful too.

To calm the mind in stressful times 

Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety

1. Breathing

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Lie down with hands cupped over your ribs.
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Have your knees bent, with feet flat and hips, shoulders and head resting on the floor.
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Inhale deeply, lifting and expanding the lungs for a count of three. On the last breath exhale deeply for a count of three into your lower abdomen and draw them back into your spine.
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Do this four to six times, relaxing the face and jaw on each breath.
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety

2. Bridge

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Lie down, make sure that your knees are bent and in line with your hips and heels.
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Relax the upper body, chest and head, making sure your torso, or box, is square (shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip).
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Inhale, lift your hips without arching your back and keep your abdomen drawn into your spine. Hold your breath for three seconds.
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Exhale, articulating your spine (working down each bone) – start from the back of your neck, making sure your bottom is the last thing to touch the floor.
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Focusing on the breath and the articulation of the spine will open up the hips, back and chest, relaxing the nervous system and releasing any built-up tension.
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety

3. Spine rotation

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Lie on the floor, knees bent and together.
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Making a ‘T’ position with your arms, draw your stomach into your spine as you take both legs to the left and your head to the right.
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Take deep breaths here, focusing on filling the ribcage and stomach with oxygen.
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Hold your stomach into your lower back as you draw the knees into your chest (to protect your lower back) and switch to the other side. Do this two or three times.
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Rotation of the spine is key to releasing tension around organs, chest and abdomen.
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety

4. Spine stretch forward

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Sit up with legs straight out in front of you and a little wider than your hips. If you have tight hip flexors keep your knees slightly bent.
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Lift your arms up so your wrists are in line with your shoulders.
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Inhale, lift the spine and exhale. Reach your hands forward towards your toes whilst pulling your stomach back into your spine – this creates opposition and a stretch in your upper and lower back.
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Inhale, re-stack the spine bone-by-bone, keeping your arms forward to lift up tall and exhale deeply. Do this three times.

5. Saw

Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety

a. Saw Starting Position

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With legs still out in front of you, take the hands behind the head with elbows wide.
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Inhale, lift the spine, exhale and twist to one side, imagining you’re rinsing your spine out like a towel, using the breath.
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety

b. Saw

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Inhale, lift back to centre, exhale and turn to the other side.
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This is a great move to open up the chest and release tension in the spine.
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety

6. Lift heart up to the sky

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Place your hands on the lower back, making sure you don’t arch.
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Stretch your chest whilst lengthening the spine and lifting the crown of the head to the ceiling.
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Take deep breaths here to release tightness in the chest, which can suppress the ribcage and restrict the lungs.
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Keep breathing deeply, constantly finding ways to mindfully stretch the chest and spine as you breathe. Even on the exhale, lengthen the spine and chest to create opposition – which in Pilates terms means space all over the body!
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Take four to six breaths.

About Chapman Physiotherapy

At Chapman Physiotherapy Ltd we pride ourselves on offering a first class physiotherapy service in South Yorkshire. Based in Doncaster, our easily accessible location provides full disabled facilities and appointments are available from early morning to late evening.

Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety
Pilates Exercises to help stress & anxiety