It’s never too late to begin

Have you ever asked yourself is it too late?  – Too late for what? – Movies, theatre, school drop off, church, education, apologies, your marriage, your health, you? Debatable isn’t it? Or is it only debatable with yourself?

Well, it really isn’t a train smash if you are late to the movies, theatre, school drop off or church. Apologies are usually appreciated, and a marriage can go either way, as can your health. Do you want to stand swaying in the wind with your health? I think not!

It’s never too late for you!! 

So, step out and get a move on, whether it is two months, two years or even two decades after you have been cleared to move freely again by your physicians.

Depressing? Challenging, loathsome or even boring? Perhaps it is, but better than to wallow in the hollows or fall in a sinkhole never to return. Therefore, if you have won your debate, let’s go over a few basic exercises to get you going on the right foot.

Firstly, let’s get your breathing in motion and open your chest wall. Kneel on all fours (your hands and knees). Inhale, and lift your right hand and arm up towards the ceiling, taking your eye line with it.

Then, lower your arm back down and bend the other arm, exhale and twist under. This is a version of the exercise called thread the needle. Repeat this sequence eight to ten times on each side.

For your abdominals, you can lie supine and gather both legs in a bent position towards your torso. The upper body or sternum will be lifted so that only the tips of the scapula are on the floor or mat. Slowly extend one of your legs as you inhale, keeping the hands on the shin of the bent leg, and then change the legs as you exhale. Pay attention to the alignment of your bent leg as you pull it in towards your chest. Repeat this sequence eight to ten times and then you may repeat this exercise changing the breathing pattern to begin with the other leg extending the inhale. This is called single leg stretch.

Remaining supine, you can go directly into bridging just by lowering your feet approximately a fist width apart, flat on the floor, or on your mat. Place your hands at a 45° angle from your hips with the palms down. If you feel tightness in your chest or shoulders, turn the palms upwards. Inhale, feel the ribs expanding to the sides and towards your spine. As you exhale, slowly peel the spine off the mat leading with the pubis. Raise your hips to a level that is comfortable for your back, and lift no further than the back of the shoulders.

Inhale at the top and exhale to come down feeling that the ribs are melting towards your navel, then away, as you relax into a neutral spine. Again, repeat this exercise eight to ten times feeling the articulation of the spine as you peel.

Once you are finished with bridging, remain in this position and slide your hands behind your neck for support on the next exercise, the half curl. In fact, if your pectorals are still tight after surgery and treatments, just sliding the arms like this is a great exercise in itself. Try to relax the back of your arms on the floor or mat. In this open position, inhale, then exhale and feel the chest moving upwards towards the ceiling and then towards your thighs. You won’t get near your thighs; just aim your chest in that direction. When you have mastered both the bridging and half curl, you can alternate between the two exercises to create a better sense of fluidity and mobility for your spine.

Lastly, roll over to your right or left side placing your bottom leg straight and slightly in front of your plumb line. The top leg will be bent and floating over the bottom leg. Ensure that you are stacked or aligned once you have decided if your upper torso will be up or down. This of course will be dependant on your mobility after treatments and surgery. This exercise is called side kick and is executed by taking the bent leg forward as you inhale, and back as you exhale. Going forward you feel as though your knee is coming to your chin, and going to the back, that your heel is going towards the back of your head. Repeat the sequence eight or ten times on both sides.

These exercises should get you started on a fresh exercise regime for the new year. Don’t leave yourself without an opportunity to have a second chance, and remember, it’s never too late. Enjoy!

MEET THE EXPERT

Heidi Wright is certified in Pilates Mat, Allegro, Studio and Post Rehabilitation with Polestar Pilates and Pilates elder Lolita San Miguel. She is also a member and certified instructor with Pilates Method Alliance and a Post Rehabilitation practitioner with Pink Ribbon.

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