This is a picture of one variation of the Swimming exercise that can be done on the hands and knees or lying flat on a mat. A fantastic exercise for working the back and stomach muscles, helps with posture and lower back pain. Do make sure that the hips don't tip up as the arms and legs are lifted.
My tip would be is take your hand to the edge of mat hold there, stabilise your hips, take out the opposite leg and hold there, stabilise the hips again and then lift both leg and arm in unison and repeat when lift back to the floor.
I was chatting on the phone to Sarah from Belfast about wheelbarrows and it emerged that she had suffered from lower bad back pain but never got around to taking up Pilates. She had been advised by her Chiropractor to take it up but just never got around to it but was constantly nagged by chronic pain. Every fortnight Sarah would dutifully traipse back to her friendly Chiropractor who would manipulate her back, make her feel tons better and she would just carry on as normal at her desk-bound job, but racked with pain until her next appointment.
Of course, being a Pilates teacher I launched into 'oh but you must' and 'it's amazing, you must try it' and so on because I do think it is amazing and it is my passion. I explained to Sarah about the benefits of Pilates and how it could help someone like her who had a sedentary occupation. I told her how the exercises are specifically designed to re-align the spine by correcting the muscles which get too long or short which leads to the pain. I told her about how Pilates would improve her posture, increase her flexibility - I even introduced Sarah to Pilates' famous quote:
"In 10 lessons you will feel the difference
In 20 you will see the difference and
In 30 you will have a whole new body"
I really thought I'd won her over but I was met with a pause, I thought she wanted to return to the subject of boring wheelbarrows but no, Sarah was a bit puzzled she thought that she needed only to go to a couple of Pilates sessions and her problem would be solved! Sarah's husband had given her 5 Pilates sessions as a Christmas present but she'd never used them.
So it was a bit of a revelation for Sarah BUT she now going to search Belfast for Pilates instructor locally and will give Pilates a try and I really hope she does find a lovely teacher who will show her the joy of Pilates and help Sarah with her back pain.
Pilates does take some while to learn, especially if the person not exercised due to injury and is still sore, lacking mobility/flexibility and uncomfortable . The very thought of getting up and down off a mat is enough to put some people off, although Chair Pilates is always an alternative. After about five or six sessions things do get easier as the exercises become more familiar and the body grows stronger.
Pilates really isn't just for Christmas and could become a long term weekly passion that keeps people flexible, improve posture, increases internal strength and mobility.
If you've been advised to do Pilates or always wanted to try a class you could do worse than come along to one of my free 'taster' sessions. What have you got to lose?