Practising Pilates by Julie Regan

AT last spring seems to have arrived and now is the time for us to strip down to our lighter, show-more-flesh type of clothing.

Sandals now replace winter boots, short sleeves replace comfy, safe, covered arms and shorts or shorter trousers reveal more leg, so I’m going to target legs and arms as a focus for honing and toning this week.

Here are two some simple Pilates exercises you can do at home using just a chair for balance and to add resistance to get extra quick results.

Lunges are a fabulous leg-shaping exercise. Make sure you use correct technique so you don’t end up putting unnecessary strain on your joints.

You can lunge anywhere – at home, out walking the dog, even while brushing your teeth!

This exercise not only targets and shapes your legs but will also give your butt a great workout, too.

It’s a win-win situation with this one!

Stand with your shoulders back and relaxed, chin up (ie look straight ahead) and gently pull your navel in.

Take a big step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.

Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle.

Try to get your body weight in your front heel as you push back up to the starting position. Repeat six times on each leg.

And now for your arms. Tricep dips seriously help to tone your upper arms (getting rid of saggy bingo wings!).

Sit on a heavy chair and place your hands with fingers pointing forward on the edge of the chair.

Now lift your bottom off the chair and lower it 
towards the floor, keeping your shoulders pulled away from your ears. Bend your elbows as you lower, and then push back up to the start.

If you want to work twice as hard, walk your feet further from the chair and make sure your bottom stays close to the seat.

Do three times six repetitions.

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