We hope that summer means time for you to embrace the sun, warmth, and the joy of outdoor activities. As we all get drawn to the great outdoors, it’s essential to remember that maintaining your movement routine and staying active during the summer months is crucial for your overall well-being. Remember, “motion is lotion.” Whether you’re planning a summer vacation, dealing with travel schedules, or juggling a busy life, finding ways to keep moving can be challenging.

In this blog post, we’ll explore strategies to keep up your movement routine and workouts over the summer. We’ll cover a range of topics, from incorporating fun outdoor activities into your routine to staying active during vacations and travel. We’ll also emphasize the significance of consistency and cadence in maintaining your success, especially when life gets hectic.

So, let’s dive in and discover how you can make the most of your summer while keeping up with your movement routine and achieving your weight and fitness goals!

Embracing the Summer Lifestyle into Your Workout Routine

Adapting your movement routine to the summer season brings forth a multitude of benefits that go beyond just physical fitness. One of the primary advantages is the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and soak up and feel the invigorating warmth of the sun.

Engaging in outdoor activities during summer allows you to breathe in fresh air, bask in natural light, and connect with nature, promoting a sense of overall well-being.

Summer presents an array of outdoor activities that are perfectly suited to the season’s climate and energy.

summer hiking for exercise
  • Hiking: Hiking, for example, can not only offer an excellent cardiovascular workout but also allows you to explore picturesque trails, immerse yourself in stunning landscapes, and reconnect with the beauty of nature.
  • Swimming: Swimming is another fantastic option, providing a refreshing full-body workout while helping you stay cool in the summer heat. Whether it’s in a pool, a lake, or the ocean, swimming engages various muscle groups, improves cardiovascular health, and is gentle on the joints.
  • Cycling: Cycling is yet another activity that thrives during the summer months. It allows you to pedal through scenic routes, whether it’s on city streets, countryside roads, or along the coastline, while reaping the benefits of cardiovascular exercise and lower body strength building.
  • Body-Weight Exercises: Beach workouts offer a unique opportunity to combine exercise with relaxation. From jogging on the sand to using weights and performing the foundational Pilates mat exercises against the backdrop of crashing waves, beach workouts provide a challenging yet enjoyable way to engage your muscles and enjoy the beach ambiance.

Incorporating fun and enjoyable activities into your movement routine is essential for maintaining motivation and engagement. When you genuinely enjoy the activities you’re participating in, exercise becomes less of a chore and more of a source of joy and fulfillment.

Summer offers countless options for enjoyable activities, whether it’s joining a beach volleyball league, trying out paddleboarding, or organizing outdoor yoga sessions with friends. And remember, both Pilates and the GYROTONIC® Method have mat and chair-based exercises you can take on the go with you. By infusing your routine with these exciting elements, you’ll find yourself looking forward to your workouts and feeling more motivated to stay consistent.

So, as you adapt your movement routine to the summer season, embrace the advantages of being outdoors, explore the diverse range of activities available, and prioritize incorporating fun and enjoyable elements. By doing so, you’ll not only enhance your physical fitness but also boost your overall well-being and create lasting memories of a summer filled with adventure, vitality, and personal growth.

Staying Active on Vacation and During Travel

Vacations and travel adventures are often seen as a break from our regular routines, including our workout regimen. However, it’s important to remember that staying active during these times not only helps maintain our progress but also enhances our overall enjoyment of the experience.

When planning your vacation, consider incorporating movement and fitness into your itinerary. Research local fitness facilities, explore outdoor activities specific to your destination, or simply pack some portable workout equipment like resistance bands or a jump rope.

Exercises for the Entire Body

If hitting the gym or finding fitness studios isn’t feasible, don’t worry! There are plenty of upper body-weight exercises (and lower body exercises) that require little to no equipment and can be done in the comfort of your hotel room or any open space.

Pilates and barre both have you covered with variations on all of the following bodyweight exercises including push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks. These exercises engage multiple muscle groups and provide an effective full-body workout. You can even create your own mini-circuits, combining exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and high knees for a quick burst of high-intensity training.

Integrate Movement into Your Vacation

Consider turning your vacation adventures into opportunities for movement. Explore your surroundings by going for a jog on the beach, taking a hike in a nearby nature reserve, or renting bicycles to explore the local area.

By incorporating some form of physical activity into your travel plans, you not only maintain your fitness but also create lasting memories of a vacation filled with adventure and discovery.

summer exercise on vacation with weights

Benefits of Exercising While on Vacation

Remember, planning and scheduling your workouts in advance can greatly increase the likelihood of staying active during your travels. Pack your workout clothes and sneakers, eat well and allocate specific times during your trip for exercise. By prioritizing movement, you’ll not only maintain your progress but also experience the benefits of increased energy levels, reduced stress, and improved mood while enjoying your vacation to the fullest.

With MOVE Wellness as your trusted companion, you can continue your workouts seamlessly during travel. Whether you access our virtual classes, utilize the MOVE On Demand options, or follow our YouTube videos, you’ll have a variety of resources at your fingertips to help you stay on track no matter where your adventures take you. So, go ahead and explore the world while keeping up with your movement routine and staying committed to your fitness goals.

Keeping Your Normal Workout/Fitness Routine Schedule:

Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining progress and reaching your fitness goals. Summer may bring changes to your schedule and routine, but it’s important to find ways to adapt and stay consistent with your workouts. By maintaining a regular workout schedule each week, you reinforce positive habits and ensure steady progress towards your fitness goals.

To fit your summer schedule, consider adjusting the timing of your workouts.

Early morning or evening workouts can be particularly effective during the summer months when temperatures are cooler. Starting your day with exercise can provide a boost of energy and set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Alternatively, evening workouts can help you unwind and relieve stress after a busy day. Find the time that works best for you and commit to it consistently.

When it comes to workout locations, summer opens up a world of possibilities.

Take advantage of nearby parks, outdoor spaces, or even your own backyard. These locations offer fresh air, natural scenery, and a change of environment from indoor gym settings. Whether it’s a park with running trails, a beachfront for yoga sessions, or a local outdoor fitness area, finding alternative workout locations can make your exercise routine more enjoyable and invigorating.

Involving friends or family members in your workouts can bring added accountability and support.

Consider organizing group workouts or fitness challenges. Not only will you have a support system to keep you motivated, but you’ll also foster a sense of camaraderie and make exercise a social activity. Working out with others can be fun, inspiring, and help you stay committed to your fitness goals.

Remember, consistency is not about perfection. It’s about making a commitment to yourself and doing your best to stick to your workout schedule even amidst the summer festivities.

By adapting your routine to fit your summer schedule, finding alternative workout locations, and involving loved ones in your fitness journey, you’ll create an environment of support and accountability that keeps you on track.

Stay dedicated, stay consistent, and enjoy the rewards of progress and growth throughout the summer season.

Utilizing MOVE Wellness’s Resources

MOVE Wellness is your ultimate companion in maintaining an active summer movement routine. With a range of resources at your disposal, you can stay motivated, engaged, and on track towards your fitness goals throughout the rest of the season.

Participating in virtual classes offered by MOVE Wellness brings numerous benefits to your summer workout routine.

These classes provide flexibility and convenience, allowing you to join from the comfort of your own home or wherever your summer adventures take you. Virtual classes offer a structured workout experience led by professional instructors who guide and motivate you in real-time.

Whether it’s yoga, Pilates, cardio, or strength training, these classes offer a diverse range of options to cater to your preferences and fitness levels. With flexible scheduling, you can easily incorporate virtual classes into your summer routine, ensuring you never miss a workout.

Elaine Economou working out on vacation

MOVE Wellness’s On Demand options provide a treasure trove of workouts that can be accessed at your own pace.

Whether you’re looking for a quick workout on a busy day or want to dive into a more comprehensive session, MOVE On Demand allows you to choose workouts that suit your time availability, body, and specific goals.

The beauty of MOVE On Demand is that it empowers you with the freedom to exercise whenever and wherever you choose. With a variety of workouts to choose from, you can customize your summer movement routine to fit your needs and preferences.

In addition to virtual classes and On Demand options, MOVE Wellness’s YouTube videos serve as an excellent resource for additional guidance and inspiration.

MOVE’s YouTube channel features a collection of workout videos, tips, and educational content that can enhance your understanding of movement, exercise techniques, and overall fitness. These videos offer a wealth of knowledge and support, serving as a valuable complement to your summer routine.

By utilizing MOVE Wellness’s entire body of resources, you gain access to a wide range of workouts, expert guidance, and the flexibility to fit exercise into your summer schedule. Whether you prefer the live interaction of virtual classes, the convenience of On Demand options, or the educational value of YouTube videos, MOVE Wellness is there to support you every step of the way.

Take advantage of these resources to elevate your summer movement routine and make the most of this season of growth, vitality, and personal transformation.

Cadence: Frequency and Consistency for Success

Establishing a regular cadence for your workouts is essential for long-term success in your fitness journey. Consistency is the key that unlocks progress and helps you reach your goals. By committing to a consistent workout plan and routine, you build discipline, develop healthy habits, and set yourself up for lasting results.

Setting realistic goals and creating a manageable schedule are crucial components of establishing a consistent cadence. It’s important to set goals that are achievable and aligned with your current fitness level and lifestyle.

Break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable milestones that you can work towards over time. This approach allows you to track your progress and experience a sense of accomplishment as you reach each milestone along the way.

Tracking your progress is not only a way to measure your success but also a powerful motivator. Keep a record of your workouts, noting the exercises, duration, and intensity. This tracking allows you to see how far you’ve come and provides a visual representation of your dedication and hard work.

Celebrate even the small milestones you achieve, as they indicate progress and reinforce your commitment to your fitness journey.

Remember, establishing a regular cadence for your workouts is a commitment to your health and well-being.

By setting realistic goals, creating a manageable schedule, tracking your progress, and seeking support from the MOVE Wellness community, you position yourself for success.

Stay consistent, stay focused, and embrace the journey towards a stronger, healthier, and happier you.

Summer Workout Routines

To recap: we’ve explored various strategies for keeping up your movement routine and workouts over the summer, even amidst vacations, travel, and a busy schedule. We highlighted the importance of maintaining consistency, adaptability, and embracing the summer lifestyle to stay active and engaged in your fitness journey.

Remember, summer should not be a time to pause your progress, but rather an opportunity to elevate your fitness goals and experience new adventures. By adapting your movement routine to the season, exploring outdoor activities, and incorporating fun and enjoyable elements, you can stay motivated, energized, and committed to your health and well-being.

In your pursuit of maintaining a movement routine, MOVE Wellness stands ready to support you. We have a wealth of resources to keep you on track no matter where you are. Take advantage of these tools to ensure you have the guidance and inspiration you need to achieve your fitness goals.

Embrace the summer season as a time of growth, adventure, and self-care.

Let the warmth of the sun and the beauty of the outdoors ignite your passion for movement. Stay consistent, track your progress, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way. And remember, the MOVE Wellness community is here to cheer you on and provide the support you need.

Here’s to a summer filled with strength, vitality, and a renewed commitment to your health and well-being.

“If you are just starting out or coming back to movement from a break or injury, low impact workouts are gentle on your joints. These types of workouts can ease you into the process of getting stronger, while giving your body a chance to build up the load tolerance on your tissues to avoid injury.”

—Elaine Economou

If you’ve made the decision to bring more movement into your life, congratulations! That commitment to yourself is the first step. And it’s a big one. Now it’s time to find the right workout.

Benefits of low impact workouts

Benefits of low-impact workouts include:

  • Strengthening your body
  • Improving flexibility
  • Minimizing your risk of injury
  • Helping you focus on the mind-body connection
  • Improving your form and range of motion when working out

These benefits make low-impact workouts like Pilates a great choice for beginners or people who are returning to exercise after a break.

Elaine Economou‘s latest blog post for popular website Sixty and Me shares how a low impact workout can be a smart choice for beginners. Getting started with a mind-body movement system like Pilates can build strength and minimize your risk of injury.

Read the full blog post on Sixty and Me.

What is the best low impact workout?

The best low impact workout is the one you can commit to for at least a few minutes every day. Pilates is a great example. At MOVE Wellness we’ve seen its impact on clients again and again. Doing things you love regularly and getting outside to walk are also wonderful choices. As you build your commitment you can start increasing the pace and adding in workouts like the one I’ve provided below.

Can you lose weight with low impact exercise?

Low-impact workouts can support weight loss by helping you create a stronger, leaner body.

Low impact workout routine

Try this sequence of low impact movements perfect for beginners. You’ll be on your way to reaching your movement goals in no time!

Learn the essentials when you’re ready for more

Elaine Economou’s new Movement Essentials: Getting Started with Pilates is a 28-day program at MOVE On Demand designed to get you moving safely and keep you on track. Each week Elaine introduces you to the basic principles of Pilates with a consistent warm up, weekly classes, and a variety of special topics to enhance your journey. And, it comes with an easy-to-follow calendar that will guide you through a clear progression and provide a foundation for healthy movement.

Watch the trailer to learn more. Support the activities you love to do in life by starting today!

About Elaine Economou

As co-founder of MOVE Wellness®, Elaine Economou helps people move with ease, strength, and joy. Her passion is empowering people to understand their unique bodies and build strength to support moving well through their unique life. Elaine has created Movement Essentials: Getting Started with Pilates to help people move well and live a life they love – wherever and whenever.

Find all of Elaine’s Sixty and Me blogs on her author page.

What is Pilates breathing?

Pilates breathing is a way of breathing mindfully from your diaphragm in coordination with your movements.


How do you breathe when doing Pilates?

You can start Pilates breathing by learning how to use a diaphragmatic breathing technique. You want to optimize a full three-dimensional inhalation without overusing any one set of muscles.

What is diaphragmatic breathing in Pilates?

According to Harvard Health, diaphragmatic breathing is breathing deeply from the diaphragm, which “encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide.”

Why is breathing important in Pilates?

Joseph Pilates said that “The breath shapes the movement and defines its dynamic.”

Some benefits of Pilates breathing include:

  • Improved focus
  • Increased control
  • Abdominal engagement
  • Higher energy levels
  • Better circulation
  • Tension relief
  • Lower blood pressure

How can I start a Pilates breathing practice?

You can start now! Watching our video above is a great first step. We’ll talk you through the basics of Pilates breathing and practice some breathing exercises to get a feel for it.

When you’re ready for more, you may want to look at Elaine Economou’s new program Movement Essentials: Getting Started with Pilates. We know the more you move, the better you feel. Sometimes we need a little push to get started. Movement Essentials is a 28-day program at MOVE On Demand designed to get you moving safely and keep you on track. Each week Elaine introduces you to the basic principles of Pilates with a consistent warm up, weekly classes, and a variety of special topics to enhance your journey. And, it comes with an easy-to-follow calendar that will guide you through a clear progression and provide a foundation for healthy movement.

Watch the trailer to learn more. Support the activities you love to do in life by starting today!

About Elaine Economou

As co-founder of MOVE Wellness®, Elaine Economou helps people move with ease, strength, and joy. Her passion is empowering people to understand their unique bodies and build strength to support moving well through their unique life. Elaine has created Movement Essentials: Getting Started with Pilates to help people move well and live a life they love – wherever and whenever.

Find all of Elaine’s Sixty and Me blogs on her author page.


Our 2022 Local Gift Guide is here! We’re feeling so much gratitude for our local community—our MOVE community and beyond. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a “Curated Community Gift Guide” to make it easy for you to shop locally this season. We are HUGE fans of all the products below.

Please share and shop!
Elaine & Robin xo


Signature Cakes and Desserts — with a focus on local and high-quality ingredients. Check out the Holiday Mixed Cookie Boxes and Citrus Olive Oil Holiday Cakes — both make amazing gifts! Shop a wonderful selection of signature cakes, cookies and desserts — the lucky recipients of your gift giving will thoroughly enjoy and be grateful for your great taste.


Shop an unusual and eclectic collection of handmade and local goods at Thistle & Bess. From quirky ornaments to stunning fine jewelry Thistle & Bess has a truly special curated collection of gifts. The perfect place to find something for that person on your list that seems to have everything. Stop in their Kerrytown shop or shop online as well.


Handcraft bean-to-bar chocolate in small batches, using only the purest and best-tasting ethically-sourced ingredients. Shop in store or via their online catalog of products, including gift boxes and bundles, cooking and baking products, Ecuadorian Drinking Chocolate, unique flavored chocolate bars and of course, their classic award-winning chocolate.


Gift hunting for the tree hugger in your life isn’t as easy as one might think. You’re searching for something beautiful, useful, and made from natural materials. Jessica’s Warming Massage Oil with juniper berry & ginger is the perfect gift! Shop customized facials, massage therapy, herbal soaks, body treatments, waxing, skin consultations, and plant-based products online or at Jessica’s Spa.


At University Flower Shop we believe in the power of locally sourced flowers, seasonal ingredients and a commitment to our environment. Our designs are inspired by the cycles of nature and we strive to design with the most fresh and unique flowers and foliage throughout the year. Consider the gift of fresh flowers or plants this holiday season — shop online or come see us at Nickels Arcade!


BYOC Co. is a zero waste and refill shop in downtown Ann Arbor started by a 2020 UM alum focused on helping you gift sustainably and practically with locally made, low waste soaps, candles, and reusable household and personal care goods! Shop some of their best-sellers and bundles like this “GIVE LOCAL BUNDLE“.


Nancy’s designs are from the heart — jewelry for the everyday woman! It all goes together and it’s easy to wear. Jewelry that becomes a part of you. “Melet Stacks” is a wonderful, fun & incredibly hip gift for anyone in your life who enjoys the beauty of hand crafted original design – check it out online or at one of the upcoming shows.


Ann Arbor’s local retailer for all racquet sports! Have you or someone in your life wanted to try pickleball? Do you have an avid tennis or badminton enthusiast and need the perfect stocking stuffers? Cayman is your one stop shop for shoes, racquets, socks, strings and accessories. Shop online or come into the shop! Gift cards available.


The Little Seedling is committed to providing families with the products they need. With a full range of products from baby gear to toys, clothing and children’s shoes, The Little Seedling is a one-stop local shop. Mom owned, parent run, and a focus on customer service make The Little Seedling Ann Arbor’s destination for kids and families. Shop online or in-store.


An Ann Arbor shopping destination for favorite shoes for over 80 years, our team of shoe and fit experts are devoted to helping people feel great, starting with their feet! Give the much appreciated gift of foot comfort this holiday season! Favorites include Haflinger house shoes, soft wool socks, and gift certificates (they always fit perfectly). Shop online or in the store.


Expertly trained Pilates instructors at MOVE Wellness are the perfect way for you or someone you love to start a Pilates or GYROTONIC® program. Our gift card for a $49 1-hour Intro Session is a perfect gift for a beginner or consider the $99 Intro Package gift card which includes a 50 min (1:1) Introductory Session AND two small group training sessions. Call, text, email or purchase online. Come visit soon!

This week is the official start of the holiday season. We hope our curated community gift guide with suggestions to shop local helps you find just the right thing for the right people in your life.

Be fit. Be well. Be inspired. Be done shopping. ❤️❤️

The GYROTONIC Expansion System® is a popular movement system that uses specialized equipment and fluid movements to build muscle strength, decompress the spine, and increase your range of motion. It can be made easier or harder to accommodate any age or fitness level.

MOVE Wellness currently offers small group Gyrotonic and virtual Gyrokinesis classes and private sessions at our Ann Arbor fitness studio.

What is Gyrotonic exercise?

Gyrotonic training is a three-dimensional movement system based on the principles of yoga, dance, tai chi, and swimming. The Gyrotonic method uses specialized equipment that helps continuously move the body through fluid, circular movements, with an emphasis on balanced and healthy spinal motion. These exercises build muscle strength, increase circulation, and promote decompression of the spine and joints.

The Gyrotonic method is a refined version of the “Yoga for Dancers” system that Juliu Horvath developed in the 1980s. It is now taught in more than 80 countries around the world. 

MOVE Training Davy Darnton on the GYROTONIC Tower

Gyrotonic vs Gyrokinesis

Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis were developed by dancer Juliu Horvath as refined versions of his “Yoga for Dancers” method and have the same technique, philosophy of movement, and benefits — including increased circulation, balance, muscle strength, and joint mobility,

The key difference between these two movement systems is that Gyrokinesis is done with minimal equipment, primarily on a stool with some standing balance and mat work. Gyrotonic, on the other hand, requires larger pieces of specialized equipment like the Gyrotonic Tower, Gyrotoner, Jumping Stretching Board and Archway. 

Both Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis can be done at our studio in small group classes or private sessions

Learn more about Gyrokinesis here.

Gyrotonic vs Pilates

Both Gyrotonic and Pilates build core abdominal strength, increase flexibility and balance, and are scalable for all skills and fitness levels. However, the movement systems do have some key differences.

Gyrotonic promotes a three-dimensional, circular form using a series of exercises performed with continual motion, using rhythm, repetition, and flow to create gradual change. This movement system focuses on muscles, fascia, the nervous system, and the skeletal system (including joints and spine).

Pilates, on the other hand, promotes a two-dimensional linear form using a prescribed number of repetitions with the idea that the more precise the form, the fewer number of repetitions are required to create change. This movement system focuses on key alignment principles and how the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems work together to reeducate movement patterns.

Compare and contrast Pilates and the Gyrotonic Expansion System here.

Who can take a Gyrotonic class?

Gyrotonic exercises can be done at any age or fitness level. It can be adjusted to be slower and more gentle for clients just beginning their fitness journey or scaled up to be made more challenging for clients who want a more intense workout. 

Why take Gyrotonic classes? What is Gyrotonic good for?

There are many benefits to Gyrotonic exercises:

  • Stronger, leaner muscles 
  • Better joint stability
  • Increased circulation
  • Better spinal mobility
  • Increased range of motion 
  • Better balance 
  • Stronger core 
  • Better coordination of the pelvic floor
  • Improved posture 

Does Gyrotonic build muscle?

Gyrotonic exercises promote strong, lean muscles. 

Do you need special equipment for Gyrotonic classes?

Yes. Gyrotonic exercises are done on weight and pulley-based machines. At MOVE Wellness, we use Pulley Towers, the Jumping Stretching Board,Gyrotoner and the Archway.

This specialized equipment helps you move your whole body through rhythmic, circular spiraling motions, with an emphasis on healthy spinal motion.  


Where can I take Gyrotonic classes?

You can take small group or private Gyrotonic sessions in-person at our fitness studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our experienced trainers will work with you to develop a customized wellness plan so you can have safe and effective workouts that help you meet your fitness goals. 

Can’t make it to the studio? Check out our other classes offered via livestream.

Pilates is sometimes recommended as a rehabilitative exercise after physical therapy to help avoid re-injury. Physical therapy and Pilates can work together to help build a stronger, more balanced body. 

What is Pilates?

Pilates is an exercise system developed by boxer and gymnast Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. It uses resistance and your own body weight to stabilize your core and strengthen your body. Pilates exercises can be done on a mat or on specialized equipment.

Pilates focuses on key alignment principles and how the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems work together to reeducate movement patterns. 

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is a form of health care that “aims to ease pain and help you function, move, and live better.” It can be used to relieve pain, improve mobility and balance, or as rehabilitation after illness or injury. (source)

Is Pilates the same as physical therapy?

No. Although Pilates and physical therapy can both help strengthen the body and improve your range of movement, the methodologies behind them and the techniques used are different. 

How do Pilates and physical therapy work together?

Pilates is sometimes recommended as a rehabilitative exercise post-therapy to help further support functional movement and prevent re-injury. There are a number of ways that Pilates and physical therapy complement each other: 

1. Improves coordination, flexibility, and balance

Pilates exercises help lengthen the muscle and improve flexibility, which allows you to achieve a greater range of motion. This helps reduce the risk of re-injury after physical therapy. 

As ability, strength, and coordination increase, your instructor can add complexity and more challenging Pilates exercises to help you keep progressing safely. 

2. Strengthens the pelvic floor

People who have received treatment for issues like urinary incontinence, frequent urination, or pelvic pain through pelvic health physical therapy will find that Pilates is useful in continuing to work and strengthen the deep abs and pelvic floor. 

Pilates for the pelvic floor can release stress, relieve lower back pain, and help improve pelvic floor disorders, including urinary incontinence. Some Pilates studios even offer special prenatal Pilates classes that help strengthen the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth and to help prevent common delivery issues.

3. Safely builds muscle strength

Pilates is an effective strength training workout for all ages and fitness levels. These types of weight-bearing exercises can be used to safely continue building strength post-therapy.

Pilates and physical therapy in Ann Arbor, MI

MOVE Wellness offers both Pilates and physical therapy services out of our studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Our Pilates trainers specialize in working with special populations, including those who are injured. We can even coordinate with other therapists and physicians on your treatment team to provide optimal support. 

Let us know what issues you are working with and we will help you schedule with a trainer that can support you on your fitness journey. With our private Pilates training, you’ll get one-on-one attention and a workout plan customized to your goals.

Physical therapy

MOVE is partnering with physical therapist Melissa Trauger to provide on-site physical therapy services at the studio to pelvic health and orthopedic populations.

Collaborating with area physicians and physical therapists like Melissa is important to providing our clients an excellent continuum of care. Working in partnership with a physical therapist allows us to help to provide manual therapy, assess injuries, and collaborate on movement goals. 

Interested in learning more about these or other services? Contact us today!

MOVE is thrilled to be partnering with Melissa Trauger to provide on-site physical therapy services at the studio to pelvic health and orthopedic populations. 

“We know that a continuum of care is important to our clients as they work to get stronger and care for their unique bodies. Partnering with Melissa means that it will be easy for clients to have collaborative care right in the building. Working with a PT who understands the impact and scope of Pilates and GYROTONIC® exercise is the best service possible for our clients. Not only is Melissa a highly skilled orthopedic and pelvic floor specialist Physical Therapist, she shares our values and commitment to care for our clients. We could not be more excited to welcome her to the studio.”

—Elaine Economou, MOVE Wellness Co-Founder 

“I am extremely excited to partner with MOVE Wellness to provide on-site physical therapy services to the pelvic health and orthopedic populations of Southeast Michigan. My mission is to improve and maintain your quality of life when it comes to your specific goals, as well as, to bring awareness to an aspect of life (ahem, pelvic health) that should be talked and taught about, early and often.”

—Melissa Trauger, Rhapsody of Motion Concierge Physical Therapy

Benefits of physical therapy at MOVE

Collaborating with area physicians and physical therapists is important to providing our clients an excellent continuum of care. Quite often, when clients are working through a particular issue in their body, it is helpful to work in partnership with their physical therapist (or another medical professional like a DO or Physiatrist) to provide manual therapy, assess injuries and collaborate on movement goals. Post surgical clients can benefit in particular. Our scope of practice is movement and working with healthcare professionals for diagnosis and care plans for post-surgery, neurological issues or pain is the best service possible for our clients. 

Long time clients may recall our previous partnership with Julie Simpson of Mend PT so we know how well this kind of partnership can work. We are now so happy to be partnering with Melissa Trauger and Rhapsody of Motion to again offer PT services within MOVE. Melissa works independently inside MOVE Wellness studios, but is knowledgeable about the systems we teach. She is also an eager student of Pilates and GYROTONIC® exercise herself, which is key for us. 

Melissa works with orthopedic issues and has a special focus on pelvic floor dysfunction. We know that this affects both women and men and can play a role in low back pain, and hip issues. Pelvic floor PT can also be part of the solution for imbalances throughout the body. At MOVE we work a lot to help people have a healthy functioning pelvic floor. So much of what we teach focuses on coordinating breath with movement and the pelvic floor is part of the musculature involved in breathing. Working with Melissa can help clients identify pelvic floor imbalances and learn to release the muscles and regain coordination. She will be a wonderful resource for our clients to help resolve a number of issues.

Meet Melissa Trauger

Melissa Trauger is a physical therapist who treats patients with the mindset that everything is connected in the chaos of the body. This view, along with her love of music, led her to finding the rhapsody within the human body. Both require many moving parts working in concert creating harmonious movement.

Melissa received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Dayton in 2016, and continues her education to diversify her skills when treating pelvic health and orthopedic populations. Her undergraduate was spent at the University of Michigan where she earned a B.S. in Movement Science. She followed that up with several years spent in Chicago working as a massage therapist and personal trainer.

When Melissa isn’t helping her clients relieve their physical pain, she spends her time with her husband, Ryan, and their dog, Coco. She enjoys writing and playing music, running, and providing comedic relief among friends and family.

Start Now

By partnering with MOVE, Melissa can promote early access to physical therapy through individualized care that includes manual therapy, neuromuscular re-education, therapeutic exercise, and more. Please feel free to reach out to Melissa directly via the contact information below to schedule a call and learn more!

Rhapsody of Motion Concierge Physical Therapy
Phone: 734-519-0020
Email: info@rhapsodyofmotion.com
Website: www.rhapsodyofmotion.com
Instagram/Facebook: @rhapsodyofmotion

Book your appointment directly with Melissa online, by email, or by calling 734-519-0020.

by MOVE instructor Davy Darnton

Pregnant bodies are forever at the mercy of public discussion, whether we want them to be or not. And women experiencing the physical, psychological and emotional weight of pregnancy need strong supportive communities available to them before, during and beyond childbirth. As I reflect on the arrival of my second and third children, I can feel the weight of the social expectations surrounding my body nearly everywhere I go.

Public expectations of the pregnant body

I remember once, at 29 weeks pregnant, I was asked by a complete stranger if I was having twins, while another person casually commented that I “looked like I was about to pop.” I explained to them that I did in fact have only one baby in my belly and that I wasn’t due for another couple of months.

As a Pilates instructor and mother, I wanted to shout from the rooftops, “This is what a healthy woman who is five feet tall and seven months pregnant looks like!”

The goal during pregnancy is simple: Keep yourself healthy, keep your baby healthy. And a healthy you and a healthy baby mean weight gain and a big belly. And I’ll never understand why people expect pregnant women to look small. Sure, the weight gain bothered me a bit during my first pregnancy. But now looking back on my third pregnancy, I know exactly what my body is doing: it’s transitioning into “milk truck” mode. And if becoming rounder and fuller means I birth a healthy baby and am able to feed that baby, great. Bring on the soft, supple body.


The myth of the postpartum body “bouncing back”

Recently, a male friend of mine whose sister is pregnant asked me, “So, you bounce back pretty quickly right?” I looked him right in the eyes and said, “There’s no bouncing back. Your body is never the same after pregnancy and birth.” It wasn’t the answer he was expecting.

The whole idea of bodies bouncing back is pretty silly. Our bodies aren’t basketballs, and that’s a good thing. Life moves forward, not backward. We should be encouraging women to celebrate the new bodies they have, not stigmatizing the changes that accompany them. This shouldn’t be a revolutionary concept, and yet somehow it still is.

I can’t tell you how many clients I work with who are experiencing multiple pelvic organ prolapses and incontinence because of the counterproductive expectations and narratives surrounding the pregnant and postpartum body. During pregnancy, our bodies are preparing for birth. That means opening and loosening, not restricting and tightening. After pregnancy, our bodies work and move in new ways, and we should embrace that. There’s no going back to “maidenhood” after motherhood. And why would you want to?

Pregnancy, celebrities and the media

If there were every two ideas perfectly at odds with one another, they would be a healthy pregnant body and the media’s representation of pregnancy. We see celebrities on television and in magazines (with a full arsenal of personal trainers and nutritionists behind the curtain) basking in the glow of their pregnancies until about six or seven months in, and then they disappear until they’ve magically “bounced back” to their prenatal bodies. Or so the media would have us believe.

Pilates is for every body

One of the most troubling aspects of social expectations surrounding body image, of the pregnant body or any body, is that they fail to acknowledge that we are all individuals with unique body shapes and sizes.

A pregnant woman who is six feet tall with wide hips is going to carry a baby differently than one who is five feet tall with narrow hips. Similarly, someone who’s just given birth is going to look and move differently than someone recovering from a stroke or spinal surgery. Which is why focusing on the health and function of your body from the inside out (rather than what it looks like on the outside) is the key to feeling better and stronger, and living longer.

My favorite thing about teaching Pilates as a movement practice is that it helps you feel better and more balanced, whether your motivation for doing it comes from wanting to fix lower back pain from years of sitting at a desk or just a basic desire to look better in a swimsuit.

A fit pregnancy and the GYROTONIC® method

One of the fundamental problems with the word “fit” is that, for most people, that means tight and toned, or more accurately, constricted. Pregnant women need their bodies to open and release, not tighten up.

We need mobility and stability. We need our spines and sacrums to glide through their full range of motion. We need our femurs to articulate properly in our hip sockets and we need our tailbones to wag.

A “fit pregnancy” isn’t about weight lifting and more traditional exercises methods, although it can certainly include those things when done safely and thoughtfully. Prenatal exercise should include a harmonious blend of fascial stretching and muscle strengthening.

In July 2017, I started learning the GYROTONIC® method to get out of my comfort zone a bit and learn a more dynamic way of moving my body. At first I was overwhelmed, and moving that way felt foreign to my body. But then I fell in love with it.

I started working toward certification as a GYROTONIC® instructor later that year completed my final certification course at 28 weeks pregnant in April 2019. It was a joyful and empowering physical experience. I left feeling energized, strong and ready to enter and embrace my third and fourth trimesters.

After the birth of my first child, I grew tremendously as a Pilates instructor because I was able to apply that knowledge base and movement practice to my own body as it healed. And now, I’m geeking out on movement in anticipation of the healing process again, this time with GYROTONIC® also in my toolbox. And beyond my own postpartum healing, I look forward to bringing this deeper knowledge to my work with clients when I return from maternity leave.

I feel nourished and supported through the movement work I’m doing now, and like I’m working with my body and my baby, rather than against them.

Community support and movement practices for pregnant women

If you really want to be supportive of and say the right thing to women who are expecting, here’s my advice: stop commenting on their bodies. Instead, try saying one of the following:

  • You look so healthy and wonderful.
  • When are you due? (with a tone of genuine curiosity, not judgment)
  • I really hope everything continues to go smoothly and that you have a joyful birth.
  • What are you most looking forward to?
  • After the baby is born, can I help by bringing you dinner or anything else?

Along those same lines, it’s also important to know what not to say. Pregnant women do not want to hear about your cousin’s traumatic high-risk birth story, or about their pregnancy “waddle,” or anything else that might compound the natural amount of anxiety and uncertainty we experience while pregnant.

Pregnant women need access to the wisdom and resources of other women who have already given birth and/or movement instructors who understand how prenatal and postpartum bodies work, move and heal. We need to understand what physical challenges are normal, common and treatable after we give birth.

We need a supportive team of experts including physicians, midwives, pelvic health physical therapists, pre/postnatal fitness instructors, friends and family who will collectively help us feel empowered rather than helpless. We need nourishing foods that help our babies grow, and that help us heal mentally and physically.

It often feels to me like our culture has lost so many of the communal support structures for women before and after pregnancy. Women aren’t supposed to do this alone. We can’t heal from childbirth if we’re not resting enough. We can’t just jump back into the daily grind without risking pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence and a range of mental health challenges.

Investing in smart, safe prenatal movement practices and a postpartum period that celebrates the new body you have, rather than clinging to the old body you left behind, is an investment in the health of your whole family, whatever that family may look like.

Want to learn more about the benefits of Pilates and GYROTONIC® for before and after pregnancy? Looking for a supportive and knowledgeable community to help you support and celebrate the body you have? Visit movewellness.com or call 734-224-2560.

Davy Darnton is a STOTT Pilates and GYROTONIC® instructor at MOVE Wellness in Ann Arbor and can be found on Instagram at @davydarnton.movement.

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Movement Essentials: Foundations in Pilates is a 28-day program designed to set you on a path to feeling stronger and more confident in your movement. Each week Elaine Economou will introduce you to the foundational principles of Pilates exercises with a warm up, weekly classes, and a variety of special topics to enhance your journey. The program comes with an easy-to-follow calendar that will guide you through a clear progression and provide a foundation for healthy movement.

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Elaine Economou doing Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life

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Elaine Economou doing Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life

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