Allowing your body days to rest and recharge is just as important as the days you push yourself to go a little harder. The next time you’re sensing a need for the former and feel like you can handle nothing but to curl up on the couch and catch up on last season’s (insert guilty-pleasure TV show here), why not give one of the following moves a try instead?

1. Sitting at your nine to five desk job all day takes a toll on your spine. Despite our best intentions, slouching and poor posture will inevitably create some kinks in your back. Humans were simply not meant to spend that much time in a stationary seated position. Building your back strength helps to make better posture easier, and prevents back problems in old age.

The move: Lie on your stomach with your legs extended and your arms by your sides (your arms only act as light support in this exercise). Lift your head off the floor and slowly allow your chest to follow. As you lift higher, focus on the lengthening aspect, you should not feel compression or pinching. Slowly lower back down. Repeat.

2. When friends and family visit for a weekend in the Windy City, they will undoubtedly want to spend a day shopping on Michigan Ave, taking silly pictures with the bean, and checking out the museums. Despite your continuous argument for walking everywhere, you have to admit that your hip flexors and quads are feeling a little sore the next day. 

The move: Lie on your back with your arms out to the side in a “T” position and your knees bent in a 90 degree angle. Inhale and slowly drop your knees to the right keeping your shoulder blades on the ground and feeling the stretch in your outer left hip and thigh. Exhale and engage your abs (why not work on your six-pack too?), to slowly pull your legs back to center. Repeat each side.

3. Life is just stressful sometimes. Whether it’s deadlines, bills, or family drama, everyone has those days when anything could make you snap. At times like these it’s important to take a few moments by yourself, realize that everything will work out, and just breathe.

The move: Take a couple round back and arch positions. Getting down on your hands and knees, exhale out all frustrations and negativity as you round your back and shoulders. Then, as you lift your head and let your belly drop, breathe in acceptance, hope, and positivity. Repeat until the world seems just a little more manageable.

Movements based in the mind body philosophy offer healing options (physical, and beyond) for just about any ache or pain. During your Pilates sessions here at the studio you can count on a bevy of new ideas for targeting your specific aches and pains (in addition to all your other goals, of course!). No denying that on the recharge days your body can feel a little lackluster; movement sounding like the worst idea ever. You might actually feel better, though, if you can get moving – and trust me, by the time you get to jumping on the couch, the low-key lounge time will feel all the better!

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