Pilates to Back Pain in 15 Minutes
Say it with me now...
‘There aren’t enough hours in the day’.
We all say this to ourselves when thinking about work, relationships, and of course exercise, but we don’t often find a lot we can do about it. Getting in the best shape we can be often dictates that we sacrifice other aspects of our lives, and though there’s a lot of strength in a choice like that, there are ways to find a compromise if you’re really stretched between other commitments.
Enter the ‘Fix in 15’ movement, a fairly new concept which breaks down essential exercises into easy chunks that you can fit into your busy schedule. Today we wanted to focus on 6 exercises that you can do in 15 minutes bursts throughout the day so that you can increase core strength, reduce back pain and overall stay spry as you go about your daily routine!
Exercises You Can Do in 15 Minutes
Okay, so the clock is ticking and we need to do 15 minutes of exercise. First things first, clear a space in either your living room, or move somewhere else with enough space that you can swing your arms out wide without any risk of touching anything. Got an exercise mat? Chuck it down! Got a water bottle? If not, go get one! Not wearing your workout clothes? Better change that straight away.
Once you’re all set, start with a couple of basic stretches:
- Swing your legs back and forth like a pendulum (one at a time of course), gently waking them up and getting a basic range of movement started
- Take your arm and stretch across the top half of your body, with the other arm pulling your elbow in to your body so you feel a light strain behind your elbow (no more than when picking up a shopping bag)
- Lean over slowly and try to touch your toes. Don’t worry not many people can actually do it, if you can you’re already ahead of the game!
- Lie on your back (on an exercise mat if you have one) and reach up to the roof, then stretch out as much as you can (rinse and repeat for a minute or so to get nice and limber before starting a workout)
All in all this should only take about 3-5 of your 15 minutes, so that’s 10 left to get a really nice workout in, and because we stretched out and prepared properly we haven’t left anything to chance.
Single Leg Lift
We can transition straight into this from your warmup, as once again you’ll need to be lying on your back. The only main difference here is to keep your arms on the floor, at your sides, with your palms flat against the floor and your knees bent as pictured:
(Picture from the NHS Website)
From here bring your knees up slowly to your chest, one at a time, and then lower them back into the pictured position repeatedly. Maintain a pace you’re comfortable with and try to get as many of these repetitions in as you can in the space of around 2 minutes. If you find this exercise a bit easy, maybe consider speeding up a little bit, and then increasing that over the 2 minutes to make sure you’re getting a workout suitable for you by the end of your time.
Squats are fantastic for getting the whole body moving. Just stand with your hands held together, feet planted firmly on the floor facing forward an equal distance apart, and lower yourself using your knees as pictured below:
A slight difference between this and some of the other exercises on this list, is that you can work on increasing both the form, and the speed of each rep, so that you can get a better workout. Squats will get some decent tone and back strength across your body, but the main benefits come in the form of some serious leg strength as well as some major boosts to stamina (although care should be taken to slow down if you experience any joint pain).
Your shoulders and back will get a good workout from this next exercise, so please take very special care to perform is slowly, safely, and stop if you feel any pain beyond the very understandable mild soreness that comes with trying a new movement for the first time.
Sit upright on your floor or mat with your legs together facing away from your body. Pivot onto your side while trying to keep your feet together and support yourself entirely with one arm, as pictured below:
Reach for the skies! Or at least once you feel like you can comfortably balance in this position, which for many people is going to take a fair few tries and a bit of a sore bum after the first few attempts will likely end up a bit wobbly. Once you can do this though, try to improve the accuracy of your form, the length at which you can hold it, and how slowly (or more importantly how controlled) can your ascent and descent be, especially when swapping hands and trying your other side.
Feeling brave? Ready to take on one of the all time toughest? Chances are this isn’t going to be something many people at all can do for any extended period of time without a fair bit of practice, but it’s benefits are without question worth learning it for. This one is deceptively simple, just lie on your front, then raise yourself off the ground using your forearms like, then (and this is important), lower your back into a position that you’re straight as a ‘plank’, with no arch whatsoever as seen below:
This might seem a little sadistic, especially if you’re new to the whole pilates game, but we’re recommending this one for good reason. Even if it takes many attempts to get it consistently, there’s few more beneficial exercises a person can do than a good old fashioned plank.
Benefits range from:
- Stronger core muscles
- Improved posture
- Reduced back pain overall
- Improved tone in arms and abs
This will be a slow but steady climb with every attempt you make, but the differences will be the most significant of any exercise we’ve read about today, so try to get in one go at this one every time you do a 15 minute session, especially as a way to top off an amazing workout.
And relax! You just finished a 15 minute workout and you back, your muscles and your mental health will all be so much better for it. Just remember to always have fun and take your time, 15 minutes is convenient for sure, but nothing will help you more than a fun first few attempts that aren’t to be taken too seriously. You want to find the fun in exercise if it’s going to be a part of your life, and a few unintentional belly flops while trying the side bend for the first time was a great morale booster around the Bamae office, so we’re sure it’ll be a boost for you as well.