Working out doesn't need to mean lifting weights or sprinting. If you prefer a more relaxed approach to strengthening your body, why not try this Pilates routine?
It uses four core strengthening exercises to develop your mid-body muscles in just seven minutes. You won't need any equipment to take part either, although a yoga mat is a smart addition if you're exercising on an unforgiving floor.
This swift but effective routine was created by Georgia Weibel, a certified Pilates instructor. You'll perform each of the four exercises 10 times, moving in a slow but intentional manner to properly engage your muscles.
Watch Georgia Weibel's core strengthening Pilates workout
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Weibel says this workout will target your "deep core muscles". As a quick explainer, your core muscles are found in your mid-body, around your abdomen, hips and spine. While some of these muscles can sometimes be seen near the surface (like your rectus abdominis, your six-pack muscles) others sit deeper within your body.
Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. Those deep core muscles are vital for all kinds of body mechanics; they help your balance, posture, mobility and even stabilize your spine. So it's well worth putting some time aside to strengthen the area.
Pilates is particularly good for core work as it involves a lot of floor-based moves that challenge your mid-body. Yoga, too, can help with building muscle in the area; have a look through our round-up of core yoga moves if you want to try another gentle routine.
After a core workout like this, you may feel some post workout pain. This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and, while annoying, it's completely normal. Rest up the following day and make sure you're eating adequate amounts of protein, which will help your muscles repair themselves.
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Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea.
Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors, Metro.co.uk, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.
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