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Baby Got Back

Posted Aug 24 2008 9:44pm

Have you ever noticed that, while carrying children is fun, it just kills your back?

I'm going to guess that in a typical day, you pick up and carry your kids around (possibly while carrying your own bag and talking on the phone), load a stroller into the car, take toys out of the car, push a stroller down the street, lean over and put your kids to sleep... on top of it all, you have your job, your house, yourself, and the rest of your family to take care of- exhausting! Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, my next guess is going to be that the between of taking care of other people and lack of sleep, your back is not happy right now. Pilates to the rescue!

Pilates strengthens your core muscles- mainly abdominals and inner thighs- not just so your body looks hot (though that is an added perk) but also to support your back effectively, especially when you're at a point in life when your abdominals have become weakened.

As a pilates instructor, my first suggestion is to find a pilates studio in your neighborhood with certified pilates instructors and sign up for a few private, one-on-one sessions. The private sessions will help you learn how to properly engage your abdominals and position your body during the exercises. Pilates is very specific and its very important that you know how do move properly, so you really get the most out of classes in the future. You will most likely feel ready to join a group class after some private sessions.

Here is a pilates move you can do right now to help alleviate back pain while you dial to phone to make a pilates appointment!

1. Sitting in your chair, with both feet flat on the ground, center your body weight on your sitz bones, which are the two pointy bones in each buttcheek that you can sit on top of. Make sure you're not arching your back with your weight forward on the sitz bones, or slumping with your weight behind the sitz bones.

2. Inhale, then as you exhale pull your belly button in towards your low back.

3. Imagine your spine as an elevator. When you first pull your belly button in, its pulling into "the first floor". On your next exhale, pull your belly button into the first floor again, and also in and up to the second floor as well. Continue with this exercise, trying to bring the belly button in and up all the way to the eighth floor with each exhale.

4. You should feel that this connection of bringing your center in and up along your spine lifts your weight upwards, out of your low back. Your posture should feel different and you should feel taller already.

5. You can continue to practice anytime and anywhere: when you're driving, standing in line, sitting at the computer, etc. As you advance in your ability to connect in, try keeping your abdominals in and up on each "floor", even as you inhale.

This exercise that I just gave you is a fundamental theory in pilates, the abdominal connection. When you go to a private session or a class, you can expect to connect into your abdominals in the same way, with added, flowing movement of your arms, legs, head, and spine.

With pilates, you'll find that not only are you able to rid yourself of back pain, but you'll also feel a sense of total renewed energy throughout your whole body. More energy, better posture, relief from back pain... clearly, pilates has got your back! Read more!

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