Christmas indulgence is hard on your digestion and can leave you feeling bloated and sluggish.
Luckily, Pilates can be a great way of restoring digestive health. It does this by stimulating your digestive system through encouraging deep breathing and by massaging the stomach organs. This is mainly achieved through twisting exercises, inversions and abdominal work.
Below we’ve chosen 4 simple Pilates exercises to boost digestion to get you started – so grab a mat and give them a go.
Top Tip: Do these every day, ideally in the morning before eating, or at least an hour after your last meal.
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor with legs bent, hip-distance apart and parallel to one another. Allow your arms to rest down at your side with the palms facing up or down.
Imagine there is a clock on the front of your pelvis. The 12 o’clock points up at your belly button, while the 6 o’clock points towards your pubic bone. 3 ‘o clock and 9 o’clock point towards your bony hip points.
Tilt the pelvis so that the 6 o’clock (your pubic bone) is pointing upwards and 12 o’clock (your belly button) has sunk down to come nearer the mat.
Tilt your pelvis the other way so that the 6 o’clock is now nearer the mat and the 12 o’clock is higher. This should create a bigger curve in your lower back.
Now, circle the pelvis like you are rolling a marble around the clock. Allow each number to touch the floor one by one. Then reverse the swirl.
Lie on your back with your arms by your side. Place the soles of your feet flat on the floor with your legs parallel.
Take a deep, full inhale. Start to exhale slowly through an open mouth as you press into your feet. As you do so, allow your spine up to peel up into the bridge position, remembering to send your tailbone to the back of your knees.
Pause at the top of your bridge and take an inhale here. Exhale and allow your chest to soften. Then let the rest of your spine move segmentally back to the mat.
Repeat 5 times.
Twisting movements like the criss cross are great for detoxing the digestive system.
To perform this move, start by lying down on your back on a mat. Next, take your hands behind your head and bring your legs to table top. Inhale to prepare and on the exhale curl your upper body up until your shoulder blades are off the mat, using your hands for support.
Rotate your upper body and bring your right elbow to the left knee. Extend your right leg out. Swap sides quickly to keep this movement dynamic.
Follow these instructions for the Pilates hundred if you experience neck pain during this exercise.
Repeat this 8 – 10 times each side.
Start by lying on your back on the floor with your legs straight. Place your arms on the mat behind you.
Inhale to prepare. Exhale and bring your arms back overhead in an arc. When the arms move past 90 degrees, start to curl your head, neck and shoulder blades off the mat.
Inhale again here and exhale as you roll up the rest of the way. Focus on the sensation of your ribs sliding towards your pelvis as you do so.
Once you’ve curled all the way up, pause with your fingers stretching towards your toes, maintaining your spine in that “C” shape. Remember: don’t allow your arms to drop. Instead, keep them lifted and parallel to the floor.
Now, inhale to extend your spine from the pelvis up through your lower spine, middle spine, neck and head until you are sitting on your sit bones. These are the bones in your butt cheeks.
Exhale and roll back to the starting position.
Before participating in any exercise program that may be described and/or made accessible in or through our website, we strongly recommend that you consult with a physician or other healthcare provider.
This site offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.