Most of us recognise those achey, crunchy, tight and weak feelings we often get during or after a long journey. Whether it's cramped behind the wheel of a car, squished into an airplane seat with little to no legroom, or hanging around on the hard seats of waiting rooms and departure lounges, sometimes all you can hope for is a little relief. Well, why not try a few of these Pilates Exercises, (all of which can be performed seated!) and see how you feel…
1) Ankle and Wrist Rolls
Great for improving circulation through the extremities and waking up the hands and feet. Flex your fingers, opening and closing your fists several times before making fists and rolling your wrists 10 times in each direction. Perform the same exercises with your feet. First, flex and point each foot independently as you simultaneously curl and straighten your toes roll each ankle to the outside 10 times, then one at a time, roll each ankle to the inside 10 times.
2) Heel Slides
After sitting cramped up, it can feel wonderful to stretch out the large muscles spanning the back of the thigh between the glutes and the knees. Sit with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-distance apart. Extend the right leg and flex the right foot, so the heel remains in contact with the ground, but the toes are pointing up toward the ceiling. Engage your glutes and hamstrings, using these muscle groups to drag your right heel back toward the chair while it remains in contact with the floor. Repeat on both sides
3) Sit & Stands
Great in a departure lounge or at a service station stop, coax a stretch into those legs and hips!
Start seated, feet planted on the floor hip-distance apart. Engage your core and tip forward from your hips, try not to use your hands and arms. Stand and extend your knees and hips fully. Reverse the movement and lower yourself back to the seated position. Repeat a few times
4) Seated Torso Twists
Protect your lower back from all that slumping! This exercise engages the core, particularly the obliques, while also encouraging spinal mobility when seated. Sit tall, your feet flat on the ground about hip-distance apart. Place your hands lightly behind your head. Keep your pelvis steady, exhale and twist your torso to the right as far as you comfortably can. Inhale and return to center, keeping your hips stable. Repeat to the other side.
5) Shoulder Circles
Sit in a tall upright position, engage your core. Circle the shoulders forward, up, down and back for 5 repetitions. Reverse the circles the other way for 5 more repetitions. The slower you go, the more tension you’ll release.
6) Chin Tilt
Sometimes simple is best. The tension relief from this simple move is instant! Sit or stand while putting as much space as possible between your ears and shoulders. Then gently nod your chin down towards your chest, you should feel a stretch down your neck and spine. Repeat several times without curling the shoulders or upper back.
7) Neck Stretches
Woken up with a crick in your neck from an awkward sleeping position? Sit looking straight ahead. Tilt your right ear toward your right shoulder keeping the left shoulder from creeping up.
Once you’ve stretched your head as far to the right as you can, place your right hand just above your left ear and apply a little bit of pressure, as if you are pulling your right ear even closer to that right shoulder. Feel the tension melt out of that left shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
Hopefully after completing these exercises during your journey, you’ll feel a little looser, less tense and more relaxed by the time you reach your destination. And, once you’re back home, we’ve got plenty of weekly Pilates classes to iron out any of those aches and pains that still linger. Check out our class schedule HERE.