Try this Pilates routine from trainer Caroline Sandry for a relaxed mind and a toned body in just 15 minutes a day


Sleepless nights? Sweaty palms? Pounding heart? You sound stressed.

Although you can’t always avoid it, a gentle home workout could help. OK, so a gym session may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you want to relax, but exercise is as key for your head as it is for your heart. And it’s easy to tone up and de-stress with Pilates.


Exercise reduces the levels of adrenaline and cortisol, your body’s stress hormones, while stimulating the production of endorphins – chemicals in your brain that act as mood elevators. So, what better way to start the day than with Caroline’s 15-minute Pilates routine?


Apart from helping you develop a firmer core and toned limbs, Pilates can help chill you out. ‘With each movement, listen to your breath and focus on the body part you’re moving,’ says Caroline. ‘This will improve the physical results, but also help you feel calmer.’ A flat tum and tranquil mind in just 15 minutes? You need to see it to believe it.

R&R pilates moves 

Perform these moves in one continuous sequence – first thing or whenever you can

1. Roll down


Stand tall and straight with feet and knees hip-width apart. Inhale and then exhale to slowly roll down one vertebra at a time, until hands are down by your toes. Inhale and hold. Exhale to roll back up one vertebra at a time. Repeat once more.


2. Tuck/tilt


Now roll down until your hands are on your knees and bend your knees slightly. Exhale and tuck your tailbone under, drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Inhale and stretch your tailbone out behind you. Repeat six slow tucks and then exhale to roll back up to standing.


3. Plank position


From standing, exhale to roll down one vertebra at a time, walking your hands out into a plank position. Stay for 30-60 seconds. Reverse steps to roll back up one vertebra at a time to standing. Use your abdominal muscles to rebuild your spine.


4. Swimmers position


On all fours, exhale, draw your belly button in towards your spine and lengthen your opposite arm and leg out until they’re off the floor. Inhale, return to centre, then exhale and switch sides. Repeat on each side. On the last rep hold the ‘out’ breath position for three breaths.

5. Twist exercise


Inhale, then exhale to roll down one vertebra at a time. Walk your hands out to kneel on all fours with your hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips and a neutral spine (neither flat nor arched). Inhale and reach your left arm out and twist, looking up towards the ceiling. Exhale and draw your belly button in towards your spine as you thread your left hand under your trunk and through the opposite side. Repeat three times.


6. The dart position


Lie on your stomach, hands down by your sides with legs together. Inhale, and draw your shoulders away from your ears and lift your head, shoulders and arms from the floor, reaching your hands down towards your toes. Exhale to return to the floor. Repeat eight times, slowly.


7. Child’s pose


Kneeling on the floor, press your bottom back to your heels and let your arms relax by your sides. Take long, slow, deep breaths for approximately one minute. Then roll back up to kneeling and circle your shoulders backwards 3-4 times to complete your workout.