We’re constantly bombarded with the news that America’s fat. It’s exhausting. You walk, but there must be other ways to work in extra activity. How about when you’re in bed? Yes, you can whittle down your waistline without even getting up.In Pilates, there is a series of ab exercises that are just as effective when you do them on a bed. For those days when you want to keep up your healthy habits but are having a hard time with your get-up-and-go, here’s a sampling of her exercises plus a few more.
1. Single Leg Stretch
Lie on your back with your sit bones (that’s Pilates for “butt”) near the edge of the bed. Bring your legs up, knees bent, until your thighs are pointing toward the ceiling, lower legs parallel with the floor. Curl your shoulders up and rest your hands on the outside of your knees. Exhale as you extend your right leg straight out, parallel to the floor, keeping your left leg bent. Hold for 4 seconds, return to starting position, and then repeat with the opposite leg. (Too challenging? Omit the shoulder raise.) Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions on each leg.
2. Double Leg Stretch
Lie on your back with your sit bones near the edge of the bed, knees bent, shoulders raised in a partial curl position. Bring your legs up, knees bent, until your thighs are pointing toward the ceiling, lower legs parallel with the floor, and rest your hands on the outside of your knees. Exhale and reach your arms overhead while simultaneously extending your legs out until you’re balanced on your sit bones in a relaxed “V.” Inhale and return to the starting position. Do for 30 seconds or 10 to 12 repetitions.
Another Harris favorite: Lie on your back with your sit bones near the edge of the bed, both legs extended up toward ceiling, toes pointed; curl up at the shoulders and reach your hands up on your legs toward your ankles. (If your hamstrings are tight, keep a slight bend in your knees.) As you exhale for 2 counts, drop your left leg down until it’s parallel to the floor while holding your right leg behind the knee. Inhale and release your right leg and let it drop as you scissor up with your left. Grasp behind your left knee. (For more stretch, slide your hands up toward your ankle as your knee comes toward your chest.) Hold for a moment, then continue to scissor your legs.
4. Leg Drop
Lie on your back with your sit bones near the edge of the bed, both legs extended up toward ceiling, toes pointed, arms at your sides for support. Slowly drop your legs until they’re at a 45-degree angle to the floor, taking care to keep your lower back flat and pressed against the bed. Hold for a moment, then return to the starting position. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.