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Pilates Practitioner 101: Take Five with Winter Warm Up Tips

Kristen Howe has been practicing Pilates at her local gym for 3.5 years, and even at home during the winter season.

The Swimming Inversion Exercise is a Great Warm-up Exercise in any Pilates Routine for Your Arms and Legs


Sink or Swim?

For almost a month, I’ve almost completed my home practice guide with About.com on Pilates. So far, I’ve added additional warm up exercises and ventured doing the ten classic ten Pilates exercises and added more so this week. Pretty soon, I’ll be doing it on my own and with the quick weekly guides via email. I’ve attended five classes at the gym and getting better too. Although I’ve been practicing almost every day, except when it got too late or when I had back pain. And for the past two weeks, I’ve struggled in doing some exercises in class or at home. I’ve kept trying to get it down pat. And I didn’t give up. Within time, I would get better.

In class, we continued to use the mighty exercise circle for our mat class workout routines. Most of the exercises done in class I’ve already done in home for practice to get a leg up. It doesn’t hurt to take a refresher course, if you don’t remember it by heart or need it as a referral. I’ve been having trouble with swimming on the mat, especially with lifting the arms up. I had no trouble with my legs. That tripped me up last week and this week as well. And my latest struggles are doing the roll over, since I’ve finally accomplished an open leg rocker by landing on my shoulders, and doing my hundred on my stomach.

Pilates gear poll

Home Practice Schedule

When we do a home practice of Pilates, we should stick to the same time every day, whenever possible, to be consistent. And if we miss a practice, due to the holidays, the weather, or other reasons, we need to resume it the next day. Although we could practice it everyday, the norm should be three to four days to fit in the schedule. I tend to do it late at night before i go to bed, if not in mid-afternoon. And if you count your Pilates class or classes, that should be at least once per week.

Since over here in Ohio, we had an Arctic blast of freezing cold winter weather this week to make my walking commute to the gym tricky and almost impossible. I would do my best to attend my class every Monday afternoon, depending on the weather, the wind chill factor, and the sidewalks. Since December and winter is around the corner, it's best for us to warm up with Pilates to keep it going every day throughout the winter.

Getting Some Vitamin D From Sunshine Will Warm you up This Winter When You're Outside


Winter Warm Up Tips

According to the SmartHealthyWomen.com article by Sally Anderson from June 13th, 2013, here are some helpful tips to stay warm and well this winter, inside and out. This season, with home and studio practice, our abs would be tightened, our spine lengthened, and our posture improved. When we do Pilates exercises, while including the major muscle groups, the main focus would be working on our body's intrinsic muscles. It would create much deeper circulatory responses and movement of fluids, offering us a direct stimulatory effect on our internal organs and thereby stimulate the respiratory, digestive and endocrine system, for our immunity and well-being. A deep internal warmth would keep us warm outward.

Every Morning

To internal metabolic heat, increase blood and oxygen circulation around your body and lymphatic circulation to remove toxins, it's important to do a simple morning warm-up Pilates sequence to move all the joints in your body for five to ten minutes to energize you and warm you up.

During the Day

Before lunch or a snack, if you get cold or have been sitting down for awhile, do a set of simple 3-5 Pilates exercises at regular intervals during the day for 2-3 times. It can be from the warm-up sequence to repeat, or have your Pilates teach provide you with tailored ones for you to do at any place. Keep in mind to move with an internal focus to use "scooping" in of your abs, lengthening your spine and breathing deep.

During the Week

You can do a supervised Pilates session of 2 or 3 sets. Your Pilates teacher can make sure you're doing the exercises right and will give progressive changes and challenges for your body. It can be matwork or specialized equipment work in a studio, like with the exercise ring, exercise ball or resistance band. Choose a format to suit your schedule and your budget. Let your teacher help you find the correct movement patterns and the deep connections you can do at home.

Sally's Complimentary Tips

Here's a couple of Sally Anderson's complimentary tips that are easy to do and pack a punch for immune boosting and toxin cleaning.

  • Add lemon or lime slices into filtered or spring water. Sip it throughout the day. As much as you can. Warm water is even better.
  • Whenever you can, get some sunshine during the day, and however it works best for you..
  • Eat warm, nourishing foods, like vegetable soups and stews, curries, and grains. Perfect for winter are warm foods, root vegetables and spices.

Final Notes

If you're like me, since we don't have any money to do Pilates reformer at the studio, there are other alternatives to do in the winter, like if we're snowed in. We can continue our Pilates practices by reading online articles or tips in the books, watch it on DVDs, On Demand, or Youtube videos to keep up with our regime.

It's never too late to find a fitness buddy online, with the app, or in person. That's my goal for next week to get one, first thing. The more the merrier, right? And an update on Standing Pilates, it's still on the fence and will be retried in the spring. I haven't heard anything back from the gym on its fitness skill level. I was supposed to have a meeting with the land class director, whenever she was available to meet with me. Hopefully before the end of the year, I would get my answer. I would keep you posted.

If any Pilates Practitioners out there who have excelled in the roll over, swimming, or the Hundred on the stomach, please feel free to drop me some helpful tips to practice with this winter.


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on January 22, 2017:

You're welcome Deborah. i'm glad they can be useful to warm up in the winter. Namaste.

Deborah Demander Reno from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on January 22, 2017:

These are great tips. I will add a pilates workout to my morning exercise routine. Thanks for posting.


Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on September 30, 2015:

Vellur, that's awesome. Thanks for stopping by.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 29, 2015:

After reading your hub am considering choosing Pilates, seems to be a great form of exercise.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on July 14, 2015:

Thanks Venkakatachari for commenting and recommending it to your son.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on July 13, 2015:

Very interesting and useful hub. You have provided much guidance and tips here for new beginners to start on it. I think I can recommend this to my son who is going to gym nowadays.

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on May 20, 2015:

Pilates isn't for everybody, Audrey. But it's a challenge and great for the core.

Audrey Howitt from California on May 20, 2015:

You do make pilates seem great! Although I tend to be a yoga person myself!

Kristen Howe (author) from Northeast Ohio on March 19, 2015:

Go for it, Alicia. I've been at it for five months now and getting better with each practice. Keep me posted. I'm so happy spring's around the corner. I'll be posting a new Pilates hub real soon.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 19, 2015:

Pilates is an interesting form of exercise. I tried it many years ago but didn't get very far with it. After reading your hub, I think I should try it again!