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A 30-Minute Pilates Workout Is a Great College Stress Buster

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A simple Pilates move for stretching and toning

A simple Pilates move for stretching and toning

It's no secret that college is stressful, but squeezing in a 30-minute Pilates workout before classes or after finishing a paper is a great way to stay healthy while in school.

Like many college students, I fell victim to the dreaded "Freshman 15," even though I played a sport. I was also pretty stressed just getting accustomed to dorm life, spending hours at the library trying to keep up with reading in addition to various clubs and activities.

My field hockey coach would have us do some Pilates on the field to warm up, and soon, I was hooked. I started doing Pilates on my own, and it helped me remember to take deep breaths, gave me better posture, slimmed me down, and, above all, helped me relax. Here are some easy ways to get started.

Don't Be Intimidated if You're a Beginner

A great way to introduce yourself to Pilates is to watch a video or look up an online tutorial. It doesn't matter if it's a DVD or a free YouTube video; watching someone else is really helpful. And all you need is a mat and a bit of space.

I didn't even know what Pilates was before college, and after I had tried it a couple of times, I bought a DVD, a mat, and a light set of weights. The DVD provided several 15-minute routines, so it was easy to combine two for a quick 30-minute workout. I did it right in my dorm room and found that 30 minutes of exercise in the afternoon gave me more energy than taking a nap.

Mix It Up

Create your own routine. Keep it fresh by mixing it up with a different series of moves. I rarely did the sets from my DVD in the same order; sometimes I wanted to do arms and abs, and other days I wanted to concentrate just on legs. If you start getting bored with your routine, try some new moves. Start mixing in a biceps exercise with your sun salutations. I started seeing better results when I kept challenging myself. Pilates even helped me keep a healthy weight into my sophomore year.

Make your 30-minute Pilates workout work for you. If you don't think you have time, remember that it's only 30 minutes out of your day. You can even do it while watching TV, as long as you remember the moves!

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons