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Stretching and Pilates: The Workout When You Don’t Want to Work Out

Stretching and Pilates: The Workout When You Don’t Want to Work Out

We’ve all been there – those days when the idea of a high-intensity workout seems impossible. Maybe you’re exhausted from a long day, feeling a bit under the weather, or simply lacking motivation. On these days, it’s easy to skip exercise altogether. However, staying active, even in a gentle way, can do wonders for your body and mind. That’s where stretching and Pilates come in. These low-impact exercises are perfect when you want to stay active without the intensity of a full workout. Here’s how you can incorporate stretching and Pilates into your routine to keep your body moving on those low-energy days.

Why Choose Stretching and Pilates?

Stretching and Pilates offer numerous benefits, making them ideal for days when you’re not up for a more vigorous workout:

  1. Low Impact: Both activities are gentle on your joints and muscles, reducing the risk of injury.
  2. Improves Flexibility: Regular stretching and Pilates enhance your range of motion and flexibility.
  3. Reduces Stress: These exercises help to calm the mind and reduce stress levels, promoting overall well-being.
  4. Strengthens Core: Pilates, in particular, focuses on core strength, which is essential for good posture and balance.
  5. Boosts Circulation: Stretching improves blood flow to your muscles, helping to relieve tension and promote recovery.

Quick Stretching and Pilates Routine

This routine combines stretching and Pilates exercises to give you a balanced, gentle workout. You can do this routine at home with minimal equipment – all you need is a mat and a quiet space.

Warm-Up (5 Minutes)

Start with a gentle warm-up to get your blood flowing and prepare your muscles for stretching.

  1. Deep Breathing: Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this for 1 minute. 
    breathing
  2. Neck Rolls: Slowly roll your head in a circle, first clockwise for 30 seconds, then counterclockwise for 30 seconds.
  3. Shoulder Rolls: Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion for 30 seconds, then reverse for another 30 seconds.
  4. Side Stretches: Stand with feet hip-width apart, reach your right arm overhead and lean to the left. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Main Routine (20 Minutes)

  1. Cat-Cow Stretch (2 Minutes)
    • Get on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
    • Inhale. Then exhale and round your spine (cat). Inhale again, arch your back (cow).
    • Continue for 2 minutes, moving with your breath.
      cat-cow
  2. Child’s Pose (2 Minutes)
    • Sit back on your heels, stretch your arms forward, and rest your
      forehead on the mat.
    • Hold this pose for 2 minutes, breathing deeply.
  3. Pelvic Tilts (3 Minutes)
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
    • Inhale, then exhale as you tilt your pelvis towards your belly button, flattening your lower back against the floor.
    • Inhale to release. Repeat for 3 minutes.
  4. Single Leg Stretch (3 Minutes)
    • Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees.
    • Inhale, pull your right knee towards your chest while extending your left leg.
    • Exhale and switch legs. Continue for 3 minutes.
  5. Spine Stretch Forward (3 Minutes)
    • Sit with your legs extended in front of you, feet flexed.
    • Inhale, sit tall; exhale, and reach forward, keeping your spine long.
    • Hold for a few breaths, then return to the starting position. Repeat for 3 minutes.
  6. Seated Forward Bend (3 Minutes)
    • Sit with your legs extended and feet flexed.
    • Inhale, reach your arms overhead; exhale, fold forward from your hips, reaching for your toes.
    • Hold for 3 minutes, breathing deeply.
  7. Supine Twist (2 Minutes)
    supine twist
    • Lie on your back with your arms extended out to the sides.
    • Bring your knees to your chest, then lower them to the right side, looking to the left.
    • Hold for 1 minute, then switch sides.
  8. Leg Circles (2 Minutes)
    • Lie on your back with your left leg bent and foot flat on the floor.
    • Extend your right leg towards the ceiling and draw small circles in the air.
    • Circle for 1 minute, then switch legs.

Cool Down (5 Minutes)

  1. Reclined Butterfly Pose: Lie on your back with the soles of your feet together and knees open wide. Hold for 2 minutes.
    reclined butterfly
  2. Corpse Pose: Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides, palms up.
    Close your eyes and relax for 3 minutes, focusing on your breath.
    corpse pose

On those days when you just don’t feel like working out, this can be your body’s way of telling you that it is okay to take a step back. In order to keep up with staying active, we want to stay mindful that going all in does not have to be the only way. 

This low-intensity workout can  reduce stress, and improve flexibility without the intensity of a full workout. Plus, these exercises can be done at home with minimal equipment. So, next time you’re tempted to skip your workout, try this gentle routine instead. Your body and mind will thank you!

Functional Fabrics For Support

Functional Fabrics For Support

The right sports bra is made up of the right fabrics to provide you with the support you need. At Bounceless, we place a high emphasis on function, which is why functional fabric is important to our design. 

As a customer, there are several factors to consider when shopping for the sports bra to best meet your bounce reduction needs. Here are some details to consider on your next sports bra shopping trip. 

Moisture-Wicking Fabrics

Sweating during a workout is inevitable. The fabric of your sports bra can make a

significant difference in how comfortable you feel. Moisture-wicking fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex are designed to pull sweat away from your skin, keeping you dry and comfortable even during intense workouts. Look for bras with moisture-wicking properties to ensure you stay cool and dry throughout your exercise routine.

Compression Fabrics

Compression fabrics are known for their ability to hug the body tightly, providing excellent support and reducing bounce during high-impact activities like running or jumping. These fabrics, often made of nylon or polyester blends, help minimize movement and offer a secure fit, which is essential for maintaining comfort and preventing discomfort or chafing during workouts.

Mesh 

While not the primary fabric of the bra, mesh is strategically placed in sports bras to enhance breathability and ventilation. Mesh can be placed inside of the sports bra as an additional layer. It can also be used on its own as a panel or for decoration.

Wherever and however it is used, mesh allows air to circulate freely, helping to regulate body temperature and prevent overheating, especially in areas prone to sweating. When choosing a sports bra, consider options with mesh to ensure optimal airflow and comfort, particularly during intense workouts.

Elastane/Spandex Blends

Elastane, also known as spandex or Lycra, is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity and stretchability. Sports bras with elastane or spandex blends offer excellent support and flexibility, allowing for a wide range of motion without sacrificing stability. These fabrics provide a snug, personalized fit that moves with your body, offering the support you need without feeling restrictive.

High-Quality Elastic Bands 

 The elastic band is a crucial component of any sports bra, providing support and stability around the ribcage. Look for bras with wide, high-quality elastic bands that sit snugly against the body without digging in or rolling up. These bands help distribute weight evenly and prevent the bra from riding up during movement, ensuring maximum support and comfort throughout your workout.


 

The fabric of your sports bra plays a significant role in determining its supportiveness and overall comfort. Moisture-wicking fabrics, compression materials, mesh, elastane/spandex blends, and high-quality elastic bands are all key features to look for when selecting a sports bra that provides the best support for your active lifestyle. By choosing the right fabric and construction, you can enjoy a comfortable, supportive fit that allows you to focus on your workout without distractions.

What Is Going On When the Breasts Bounce?

What Is Going On When the Breasts Bounce?

What happens to breasts when they bounce? 

We may not notice the changes in our breasts immediately, but something is definitely going on when we don't have the support to keep the breast from bouncing.

Think about it. What goes up must come down. And sometimes coming down results in unintended stretching.

Our breasts are made up of tissue. We have to be mindful to take care of them as best we can or they will change shape a lot faster than we intended.

Let's take a moment to learn about a very important part of our bodies. Our breasts.

The breasts are composed of glandular tissue, fat, and ligaments, all suspended within the chest wall. During physical activity or even everyday movements, the breasts experience a certain degree of bounce. This movement is influenced by factors such as breast size, elasticity of the skin, and the strength of Cooper's ligaments, which provide support.

The ups and downs and side to side.

bounce

Breasts not only move up and down, but side to side. In fact, they move in a figure-8 motion while running. While many women want the bounce to be reduced from the motion associated with jumping (that IS how we test sports bras, correct?), we have to be mindful that there are other motions in play. 

Breast pain can be attributed to ill-fitting sports bras that do not support the three dimensional motion of breasts during running. Sports bra cups with stitching are designed to reduce the breast from moving up and down and side to side. This can be helpful when choosing a sports bra for medium to high impact activities. 

Cooper's Ligaments 

coopers ligaments

Cooper's ligaments are crucial connective tissues that help maintain the shape of the breast. Think about them like the wood that frames the inside of

a house. Now, the ligaments are not as sturdy as the wood, but we can see how the framing of our breast is set and the support the ligaments provide.

Excessive and unsupported bouncing can strain these ligaments, leading to loss of elasticity over time. This can result in sagging, a common concern for many women. Wearing a properly fitted sports bra during physical activity can significantly reduce the strain on these ligaments, mitigating the long-term effects.

As we age, change in shape due to weight, or have pregnancies, the ligaments begin to stretch and our breasts will naturally begin to sag. What else contributes to the sag? The BOUNCE!

Bounce

The bounce is a stressor to the breast. The larger the breast, the more they weigh. The more they weigh, the more intense the bounce is. 

running

Selecting the appropriate sports bra is crucial for minimizing breast bounce and preventing long-term damage. Consider factors such as the level of impact associated with your chosen activity, your breast size, and personal comfort preferences. Compression bras work well for smaller breasts, while encapsulation bras are more suitable for larger cup sizes, providing individual support for each breast.

The less bouncing your breasts have to do, the longer you can keep them from sagging.

Sagging

sagging

Sagging is going to happen eventually and cannot be reversed naturally.  There are some exercises we can incorporate into our daily lives that will help strengthen the chest muscles, which we will get to shortly.

Remember those ligaments? Well, as the ligaments stretch, they provide less support, causing the breast to sag.

Pain

Women often experience discomfort or pain during physical activities due to breast bounce.

breast pain

This is especially true for those with larger breasts. High-impact activities like running or jumping can exacerbate the issue. Investing in a sports bra that provides both compression and encapsulation can help minimize discomfort by reducing movement and providing better support.

 

 

 

The Perks (pun intended)

We now know that our breasts will not remain as perky as we would like for them to be.

We can purchase bras that make us look perky. We can also do exercises that will help strengthen the ligaments, lift chest muscles, and slow down the inevitable of sagging breasts.

Hey, if men can tone up their breasts, surely we can too! Don't let the extra weight we have to carry in that area fool you. It is important to note that the results will not be drastic and the building up of those muscles, particularly with larger breasts, may not look any different on the surface. It's quite likely that we won't get back to being as perky as we'd like, but something is better than nothing. Right?

Incorporate the following exercises into your daily routine to strengthen the chest muscles.

*Please consult your physician before performing any physical activity.

Cobra pose

 cobra pose

Start by laying flat on the ground with your hands flat and arms bent next to your chest.

Slowly raise your chest off the ground until your arms are straight.

Slowly lower your chest to the ground.

Repeat. 3 sets of 8 reps.

Push ups

push up

Start by ensuring your body is straight (not bent).

Depending on your comfort level, place your hands shoulder width apart (or wider, if needed).

Modify push ups by bending knees to the ground.

Repeat 3 sets of 12 reps.

Dumbbell behind the head

dumbbell

Start by holding the dumbbell in both hands at your chest.

Raise over your head towards your back, keeping your elbows bent.

Raise back in front of your chest.

Repeat 3 sets of 8 reps.

bounceless sports bra

Take time to take care of your breasts during physical activity by wearing a sports bra that provides the support you need.

For daily support, ensure you are wearing the correct size bra that provides support so that your breasts are supported, not just covered.

With the right support, our breasts can maintain their strength structure.