Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston both know Pilates tightens the abs and gives the body a long and lean look. But, did you know it could also boost your health?
"I believe in the power of Pilates exercise to lower risk of not only cancer but others illnesses as well, like heart disease," states Pilates guru Mari Winsor, who's worked with Bullock and Madonna.
"It is widely thought that cancer cells like fat cells. Pilates exercise, when performed correctly, is designed to help you lose weight, especially when you combine your exercise with a well balanced diet," adds Mari.
Take care of your body and it will take care of you!
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and in honor of that Ms. Winsor is releasing The Mari Winsor Pilates for Pink Slimdown. This DVD will teach you exercises, plus donate $1 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation for every DVD sold. Besides firming up your body, Pilates is also known to increase flexibility and lessen stress.
"When you are stronger your body is able to fight disease easier," and Mari also adds, "I believe it is a little more difficult for cancer cells to grow under all these positive results of a good Pilates workout regime and a proper diet."
Need another reason to practice Pilates? I think not! No Pilates studio nearby or at-home exercise tape - no worries! Here are 3 moves to get you started.
The Pilates 100: The Pilates 100 is generally the first exercise we do in the mat series. It warms up the heart and lungs, expands your lung capacity, increases circulation, and works your powerhouse.
The idea is to breathe smoothly in through your nose for a count of five and out through your nose for a count of five as you pump the arms at a vigorous pace by your side. If breathing through your nose is an effort you can use your mouth to breathe - just make it deep and calm.
Lie on your back with head down and knees into your chest. Put hands on your ankles and shoulders relaxed. Take your arms by your side as you stretch your legs straight up and lift your head and shoulders off the mat. Start your deep breathing and the pumping of the arms. You will breathe 100 counts. In other words, ten sets of five counts in and five counts out. When you start pumping your arms, they move from your hips to about eight inches up and then back down.
SIngle Leg Stretch: Lie flat on your back. Draw your right knee into your chest inside the line of your right shoulder. Take your right hand on your right ankle, left hand on top of your right knee. Then, lift your left leg to a 45-degree angle from the floor or higher if your back is tight. Make sure your lower back is down on your mat and your tummy is pulled in as you lift your head and shoulders off the mat. Breathe out as you switch the position of the legs, taking your left hand to the left ankle and your right hand on top of the left knee. Keep your torso stable as you switch your legs at least ten to twenty times. Keep the legs inside the frame of the body at all times and breathe deeply and evenly. Make sure your shoulders stay down and keep your elbows open to the side.
Double Leg Stretch: Now, bring both knees into your chest. Hold on to your ankles, head and shoulders are still off the mat, shoulders relaxed. Inhale as you stretch the legs together to a 45-degree angle or lower straight out from the body and reach arms long past your head. Exhale as you come back to your starting position. It is like you are folding and unfolding the body with length and control. Do the double leg stretch six to ten times. Keep the lower back on the mat.
For more info on Mari's Pilates DVD, go to www.amazon.com .
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