5 reasons to start Pilates

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering why I’m giving you another workout suggestion when you’re struggling to make time for a sit up.

There are more than five reasons to start Pilates. A reduction in stress, better sleep and improvement to your pelvic floor (wink) aren’t on this list, but they could be. If you practice yoga, you’ll love Pilates. Now I’m not an expert, but thanks to the lovely team at John Lewis, Pilates babe Lottie Murphy & Hayley from The Nutrition Coach, I’ve discovered some new health & fitness tips, and I’m going to share them with you.

PS excuse my weird feet. No amount of photoshop can save them.

Pilates

Breathing

Pilates is a mind-body workout, it emphasises on proper breathing techniques. You’ll be surprised at the number of people who do not breathe properly during workouts. I was encouraged to breathe through the nose and exhale via the mouth.

Total Body Workout

Pilates works the body in a practical way; the movements are designed to prepare you for the physical challenges of daily life. The sequences encourage the use of all muscles in the body.

Core Stability & Postural Alignment

Many of us suffer from poor posture. Pilates teaches you to maintain optimum alignment in the spine and core.

Muscle Tone and Strength

Pilates elongates and strengthens the body, developing muscle elasticity and joint mobility. Due to the nature of holding positions for extended periods of time, you’ll improve your stamina.

Improved Body Awareness

Pilates encourages you to be aware of your body. In practice, you’ll notice how far you can push yourself and which areas of the body that you should pay particular attention.

Smoothies

As part of the John Lewis Wellbeing Campaign, we made delicious smoothies at the Oxo Tower (recipes below).

There are more smoothie and juice ingredients that you can pop into your blender than you think. Let’s start with the basics. Add in your favourite: fruits, vegetables & herbs (I love orange, carrot, mint & spinach). Then combine with water or coconut water. If you’re making a berry-based smoothie, it’s a treat with milk (almond & soy are great vegan alternatives). If you have nuts/seeds and olive/flaxseed oil lying around, pop those in too. If you’ve got spices; add a pitch of those (turmeric is a good one as it’s anti-inflammatory). I’ve recently discovered Matcha, Spirulina and Cacao powder; oh boy they’re delicious in drinks.

To cover all your juicing needs, here’s what I learnt from the event:

  • Don’t forget to fill your smoothie cup to the brim! It keeps it fresher for longer.
  • For best results, drink your juice straight away or within twenty-four hours. Methanol levels in stored fluid can develop a naughty formaldehyde, which is toxic in the body.
  • Post workout, the thirty-minute recovery window is when the body is at peak for juice uptake.

As promised, here are the smoothie recipes that we made on the day:

Get your game on green smoothie

This glass of green goodness has lots of leafy greens, teamed with the benefits of electrolytes in the coconut water; this is perfect for an energy boost!

Ingredients
Two handfuls baby spinach leaves
300ml coconut water
One ½ cups fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
One tsp coconut oil
One scoop whey protein powder
½ tsp cinnamon
Manuka honey to taste
One tsp maca powder (optional)
One scoop spirulina powder (optional)

Red ambulance recovery shake

Packed full of antioxidants, this alkaline shake is a yummy way to muscle recovery. The turmeric provides anti-inflammatory benefits which help with body retrieval.

Ingredients
1/3 can coconut milk
100ml coconut water or plain water
1 banana
One scoop whey protein powder
½ cup frozen berries
One handful cos or romaine lettuce leaves (not iceberg as this is the lowest in nutritional value)
1-2 tsp Manuka Honey
One tsp cinnamon
One tsp turmeric

I hope these health & fitness tips have helped you. If you’re a Pilates guru, did I miss anything?

Location: Bedfordshire
Photographer: The fabulous Simon Richardson 
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