Leaving the head, neck and shoulders comfortably on the mat, the Pilates foam arc can be slipped under the torso and pelvis leaving the legs free to move in motions mimicking running, biking and swimming without any impact on the hips, knees, or ankles. This has become a wonderful accessory for people wanting aerobic activity without instigating their sore joints or tender limbs.

My favorite aerobic workout is to mimic the motion of running very slowly at the start to get let the legs stretched and tight hamstrings released. Then I increase the speed from slow to medium speed when I feel warmed up. Then I do another round at a fast speed working up a sweat! It is so joyful to get to move quickly without any impact on my legs. The position of the back lying on the arc allows for the abdominal muscles to be constantly pulled flat against the arc surface. This allows for the body to stay stable and for the abdominal muscles to become toned.

After the running series I mimic the motions of a bicycle ride with my legs. Both the forward bicycle motion and the “reverse bicycle” ride motion can be used.. For these leg movements I also start out slow and move up to a medium speed and eventually going to fast speed once the motion is coordinated.

The swim series is by far the most dynamic movement of the arc series. I imitate a simple flutter kick as if I was doing the “crawl” swim move.The legs face straight up at a 90 degree angle at first and flutter to warm up. Then once I have warmed up I let the legs come over my torso and head (parallel to the floor) as if I were going into the traditional move called “Jackknife”. I do not stay in the still pose of the “Jackknife” though….I keep flutter kicking for a long time in this pose with the legs over my torso and head. It is an excellent active stretch of the hamstrings! It is also a wonderful position to release tension in the lower back, and the flutter kick is known to tone the muscles of the legs and glutes.