Fitness

How Pilates Changed My Body

Forget spinning or Bikram yoga, at-home Pilates is the best workout I've ever tried

After having a baby, I wanted to get back in shape. (Shout-out to all the new moms out there -- I know it's not easy.) I decided to try Pilates because it's all about core strength, I can do it at home and it doesn't require much sweating. (Sweating means showering, which is not at the top of the New Mom Priority List.)

Because I was clueless about form, I had an instructor come to my house and show me the ropes. After just a few sessions, I felt stronger, longer and leaner. After a few more sessions, I could see a huge difference and I was hooked. Because Pilates targets small muscle groups, you're forced to be present and think about every movement. You simultaneously get a workout and relaxing "me" time, which is just what every mom needs.

If you're new to Pilates, try these three moves to get started:

The Curl: Like a crunch, but slower -- and better. Start on your back, hold your chin to your chest, and slowly curl up until your shoulders are off the mat. Hold it for a breath and then slowly lower down.

Double Leg Stretch: Lying on your back, pull your knees into your chest and hold them with your arms for a breath. Then, slowly stretch your legs and arms out to a 45-degree angle so your body is in a "V" shape. Repeat.

The Hundred: Lying on your back, stretch out your legs to a 45-degree angle. Lift your chest, hold your arms parallel to the ground, and pump them up and down 100 times.
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