Pilates at Home – Top Five Tips to get you in shape this summer!

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Most people will have put on an average of three pounds over the winter, leaving them with unwanted love handles, unflattering back fat and those dreadful muffin tops!  Summer always marks a time when people get an incentive to change their lifestyle and give up unhealthy habits.


Although joining gyms and slimming clubs are the more popular options, the recession, along with post-Christmas spending, has taken a grip on those purse strings and many may not be able to afford them.


One of the reasons Pilates has radically increased in popularity is because it can be easily done in your own home.  It aims to work both your body and mind and is an exercise system focused on improving flexibility and strength for the total body without building bulk. Additionally, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get started as a lot of the equipment needed for doing it is affordable. Here are some simple tips to get you started on your Pilates workout at home. 

1)  Choose the right Space

 When setting up a space to do Pilates, you will need an adequate amount of room to accommodate your body movements during the session. To test how much space you need, lie on the floor and stretch your entire body out as much as you can in as many directions possible. This is to make sure you can move freely in the room and accomplish the maximum workout.  


2) Choose the right mat 

Choosing your Pilates mat will depend on the type of surface you are exercising on. If you are exercising on a carpet, a simple Yoga or Pilates mat will be fine to use but if you are doing it on any type of wood flooring, you will need a thicker Pilates mat to protect your spine and keep you comfortable.  


3) The Pilates workout DVD  

There are a lot of Pilates DVDs on the market and whether you are a complete beginner or more advanced, you will be able to find a DVD just right for your level.  Some DVDs will focus more on the weight loss aspect of Pilates, while others will concentrate on using it to help tone specific areas of the body, like your arms, buttocks and legs. Depending on your level and what you want to achieve, the DVD workout at home is a great alternative to going to expensive classes.  


4) Stretch, Stretch and Stretch some more!  

Although stretching is really important as part of an exercise routine, it seems to be the most ignored aspect of a workout. Aside from the fact that it improves circulation, posture and range of motion, stretching also reduces the stiffness that occurs with physical training if done before and after a workout.  In Pilates, the chest stretch is a wonderful warm-up if you are doing a more rigorous workout. Simple and effective, it will limber up your body and reduce soreness and aching the next day. Be sure to stretch for at least 15 minutes both before and after your routine especially as a beginner.


5)  Choose your Pilates Equipment for the Home


Once you’ve got the first couple of sessions are out of the way, there are a some basic Pilate’s equipment you might want to buy to support your practice and make your work out a bit more interesting. Inexpensive and effective types of equipment include the soft ball, flexi band and head block but the most popular would probably be the Pilates Ring as it excellent for toning your main muscle groups in your chest, arms and legs.


 Do keep your Pilates workouts going if you want to see results.  The important thing is not to lose momentum and make it as enjoyable and interesting as possible so you can make it part of your daily lifestyle.

Here’s an example of a kit you can buy for your Pilates sessions


Pilates Spacemate Portable Pilates Gym in a Bag with Resistance Cords, Mat & DVD
QVC Price £44.00 Item Number 432838

Practice Pilates in the comfort of your home with the Spacemate gym in a bag. The gym comprises a door attachment, a mat, a roll down bar, resistance cords and hand and foot straps to get you started. Simply place the door attachment high (on top of the door) or low (just below the door knob), securely close and lock the door and use the resistance cords and straps accordingly. It’s a total body workout using resistance to strengthen and tone. Watch the video presentation to see the gym in action

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