After pilates fixed her crippling back and neck pain, Sigourney begged the the instructors of her favourite studio for the moves that everyone can do outside of classes. These are the easy exercises that you can squeeze into your day commitment-free.
I’m not exaggerating when I say Pilates changed my life. I’ve struggled with terrible neck and shoulder pain for more than 20 years. Strengthening my back and core has been a game changer. My studio of choice? Feels Pilates. The stylish sun-lit space looks like something out of an interiors mag and also has the most adorable crèche to give carers an all-important break. They are located in North Narrabeen and Avalon and have more locations to come. I caught up with the impossibly lithe and fit Feels co-founder and Naturopath Lauren Wilmott, and begged her for some of her secrets to fitting exercise into a busy life.
“After the birth of my first child, I had severe abdominal separation – we’re talking 10cm, a year post partum,” says Lauren, who runs the studio with fellow teacher and former flight attendant Sam Nelly. “I Googled ways to fix it and it lead me to reformer Pilates. It changed my mind, my body, my life and I knew I had to share it with the world. I’ve been teaching Pilates for 6 years now.”
Lauren says that one of the keys to feeling stronger and more flexible is to look for sneaky ways to wedge a few practices into your day.
START THE DAY RIGHT
“When getting out of bed try for a few roll ups to get the abs firing and take some time to stretch. Think forward folds, twists, side bends to loosen up the spine,” says Lauren, who also suggests using incidental down time while you’re getting ready to wake muscle groups up.
- I love balancing on one foot at a time when bushing teeth to improve balance and ankle stability
- Calf raises (lifting up onto your tippy toes and back down) for toned calves are a great one while waiting for the kettle to boil
- Squats are easy to fit in anywhere and involve a lot of big muscle groups so they are good bang for your time. Give yourself a challenge every day to fit 50 squats in.. a couple while you wait for the shower to heat up, toast to toast, egg to boil etc. youll be surprised how easy it is, then go for 100 😉
- When driving to work or taking the bus you can squeeze in (no pun intended) some pelvic floor exercises, contracting and releasing your pelvic floor.
“When we sit at the computer all day we generally sit with our shoulders rounded forward, our back hunched and we are flexed at the hips so counteract that with some lovely extension work and hip flexor stretches will make you feel better,” she says. “If you work in an office with other people, you can do these at home in front of the TV.
- Lie on your belly with your hands in close to your shoulders, push down into the palm of your hands and with a inhale lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor, enjoying some extension through your spine
- Kneel on the floor and then place one foot forward, pushing your hips forward to come into a runners lunge. If available to you, you can place a hand on the floor and twist through the spine to enjoy a deeper stretch.
Lauren shared her three favourite moves that you can easily do at home (while on the phone or watching TV).
- Squats – wide stance, narrow stance, jump squats, squats with heels elevated – so many variations and all work great to tone your legs!
- Planks – can be done on your hands or forearms with knees down or elevated depending on your strength. You can move through planks and pikes, knee tucks, shoulder taps etc.
- Ab curls – the humble sit up will always be my favourite. Try some cross body action (opposite hand or shoulder to opposite knee) to get those obliques burning too.
It’s about making it fun and work for you, no matter what your lifestyle. Lauren shares her best tricks to finding the joy in movement:
- Walk, walk and walk some more – its free, its not intimidating and it can take you places!
- Most studios and gyms have an Intro pack which is a great, cost effective way to find out what exercise you actually enjoy doing without signing up. At Feels we give you 5 classes for $50. Once you find something you love, it won’t feel like a chore. With Feels, we wanted to create a space that was sunlight filled, white, clean, beautiful, calm, spacious and uplifting. We also wanted to make a boutique Pilates Studio that was inclusive where everyone felt welcome.
- Put some exercise equipment out in the lounge room, a couple of bicep curls or tricep extensions with dumbells while watching the TV is so simple to do if they are right there in front of you.
Story by ; Photography by