MOVE Pilates trainer guiding a client in an exercise

Back pain can make even everyday activities challenging. Learn relatively easy, natural ways to alleviate back pain, many of which can be done from the comfort of your own home.

We are so excited to share our new six-week Pilates program, “MOVE Well in Midlife” with you. MOVE Co-Founder, Elaine Economou, has created this program to help women in midlife (ages 45-65) safely and efficiently build strength and mobility, learn mindfulness tools to relieve stress, and to be a part of a community of women with a shared experience of this time of life. 

Our MOVE Well in Midlife Program allows you to join a small cohort of women and incorporates a daily, customized movement approach with additional coaching support. The goal of this program is to help you understand how to care for your unique body with an eye toward aging well and getting as strong as you want to live the life you love. Read on to learn about the program details.


I. Challenges Faced by Women in Midlife

Midlife is a time of change for women and is often accompanied by certain challenges. Some common issues women in midlife experience include:

  • Surprising aches and pains
  • Worries about bone health and aging posture
  • Concerns about maintaining and practicing balance
  • Struggles with incontinence
  • Confusion about what exercises are safe and appropriate 

We often think that aging is accompanied by a decline in health with certain unavoidable changes in our bodies, but this is not the case. It is true that midlife is a time of change in your body but by incorporating consistent and focused movement practices, you can make sure you’re building and maintaining strength and stability in your body. In addition to having a strong body, research suggests healthy lifestyle changes during midlife may also prevent illness from occurring later in life (site). Our team at MOVE feels passionately that midlife does not need to be a time of fear and anxiety, but rather a call to action to take ownership of your body and provide it with the tools it needs to support you.

II. The Program: A Solution to Midlife Challenges

The truth is that it is possible to keep doing all the things that you love as you age. The MOVE Well in Midlife Program is designed to directly address challenges of midlife. With slow and steady attention to your physical health, mobility and strength, the principles of Pilates and the GYROTONIC Expansion System will help you move well and feel your best. 

Here’s how:

  • By moving consistently and building strength, you’ll notice fewer aches and pains
  • Your daily movement practice will also bring mobility and ease to your joints and spine
  • You’ll have personalized exercises that are designed for your unique body that you can incorporate at home to keep your momentum going on days you don’t have a full class
  • Your workouts are also designed to maintain healthy bone density 
  • You’ll also spend time on breathwork geared towards mitigating stress, supporting healthy digestion, and strengthening the muscles of your pelvic floor 

And remember, you’ll be surrounded by a supportive community of women. As a group, you’ll build connection and community while you learn to care for your unique body.

Pilates Instructor Training schedule

III. What’s Included in the Program?

The MOVE Well in Midlife Program is organized into the following: 

  • (1) one on one coaching session 
  • (2) in-studio classes per week
  • (1) at-home virtual workout per week
  • (1) personalized homework exercise routine (to be done on non-class days)

Overall, the MOVE Well in Midlife Program is a custom-designed program for women in their late 40s, 50s and 60s. You’ll have two weekly in-studio classes and one weekly virtual class. These workouts will be Pilates or GYROTONIC-based movements. You’ll focus on low impact training and also incorporate certain props to help you get the most out of each workout. Each workout has been created from scratch by Elaine specifically for women in midlife, so you’ll know each exercise is targeted just for you. 

Finally, as movement experts we know that consistent participation and practice at home and in the studio is going to allow you to see clear progress and strength gains over the six weeks of the program. In addition, you’ll exit the program with new (or renewed!) exercises habits that will carry forward into your daily routine.

IV. Get Lifestyle Support in Your Coaching Sessions

In addition to classes, you’ll also have one coaching session as well as weekly accountability check-ins. You’ll have one coaching session before the program begins. This session will allow you to establish where you are at the start of the program and we’ll be checking in regularly to see how you’re feeling and progressing during the program. The coaching session will also provide you with information to look back and reflect on. 

In your initial coaching session, we will check in on the pillars of well-being including stress management, sleep, and nutrition and provide you with resources to support you in these areas if you are interested. Your mid-program call will give us a chance to work together to be sure you are getting the support you need and the most out of the program.

You’ll also have weekly accountability check-ins after your at-home workouts. We know it’s not always easy to workout at home without the accountability of having to show up to a studio at a set time. That’s why we’ve incorporated these mini check-ins. You’ll be expected to confirm you’ve completed your at home class and this will help make sure you’re completing all portions of the program. Research shows that setting goals and following up with a plan for where and when to exercise helps assure that you’ll actually end up following through on your workout (site). The MOVE Well in Midlife Program does all of the planning for you, all you need to do is show up.

V. Benefits of Enrolling in the MOVE Well in Midlife Program

We’ve already touched on many benefits of the program but to recap, you can expect:

  • Improved pelvic floor health and decreased risk of incontinence
  • Improved balance and coordination, meaning your risk of having a fall is also reduced 
  • Strengthened core muscles, which can improve posture 
  • Increased flexibility, reducing joint stiffness and improving range of motion
  • Enhanced cardiovascular fitness, improving overall heart health

To review, the MOVE Well in Midlife Program includes three weekly classes, two in-person and one virtual, plus customized, daily movement homework for you to do on non-class days. You’ll also have two coaching sessions and weekly, accountability check-ins so you’re able to stay on track as well as monitor and measure your progress throughout the program.

The program will directly address common challenges in midlife and you’ll leave feeling confident about your movement practice with a clear plan post-program on how to maintain your achievements during the program. As we’ve noted above, midlife is an important time where it’s critical to prioritize self-care and health to create a strong and healthy body that will support you as you age. Our program is meant to encourage women in midlife to take control of their wellbeing with the support and guidance of our team of movement experts.

Interested in joining? The program is limited to six participants so don’t wait to enroll!

Learn more and sign up here.

In the age of home workouts, we’ve come to realize the many perks of creating a space and routine at home that complements your in-studio practice. But for many of us, working out at home just doesn’t have the same draw as going into a beautiful, fully-equipped and expertly-staffed studio.

We get it! We look forward to hopping on the Pilates Reformer or Gyrotonic Tower just as much as the next person. Plus, we love the accountability of coming in to see our favorite trainer on a set schedule. We know it can be tough to keep up motivation and consistency when exercising solely at home. 

But who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?

In this blog, MOVE Trainer, Jane Sheets shares her 3 Essential Exercise Props: the foam roller, resistance bands and light hand weights. All three of these props and the suggestions below can be used to level up your home fitness routine. Jane’s favorite three props are easily purchased online or at your local fitness store. Also, each prop has a wide range of applications (that means the prop possibilities are endless!). Read on as Jane unwraps her prop insights, pro-tips, and creative exercise ideas.

And don’t forget to leave us a comment below – share your experiments and, if you’re already a prop enthusiast, let us know how incorporating props has enhanced the effectiveness of your home workouts.

The Benefits of Using Exercise Props

While Pilates, the Gyrotonic Expansion System®, and Barre all provide challenging workouts without props (we’re looking at you Pilates teaser and Barre squats!), after you get the basics down and start looking to add another layer of difficulty, it can be beneficial to add in small props to your routine.

So what’s the lowdown on props?

Well, props add variety and versatility to exercises. Jane says,

“We can use props for many different reasons: to increase challenge, to help with mobility and balance, and to make an exercise more accessible OR more challenging. We can also use props to highlight a specific aspect of an exercise and encourage enhanced muscle engagement.”

Jane also notes that props can even channel the vibes of high-tech equipment, like the Pilates Reformer, right in your living room. So let’s dive in and learn how.

Exercise Equipment: The Foam Roller: Unleashing Muscular Recovery and Flexibility

What is a Foam Roller and What Are Its Benefits?

A foam roller is a cylindrical tool made of – you guessed it – foam, typically used in fitness routines for self-myofascial release, also known as self-massage. By applying pressure to specific muscle groups, the foam roller helps release tension and improve blood flow, which can lead to increased flexibility, reduced soreness, and overall enhanced muscle function. 

Foam rolling is commonly used as a recovery technique in fitness routines to enhance mobility and optimize workout performance. However, as you’ll see below Jane also loves to get creative with the foam roller to use it for stability work as well as core strengthening. In general, we recommend you purchase the soft or medium hardness rollers. Some companies also make half foam rollers which are flat on one side and curved on the other. This style is still just as useful and is perfect for those who need a slightly more stable surface.

Foam Roller Exercises

Beginner Exercise: Arm Circles

Set your foam roller down lengthwise along your mat and lie on top of it on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Make sure you feel stable and grounded with the entire length of your spine, head, and neck resting on the foam roller. From there, slowly begin your arm circles, taking care to keep your abs engaged as your body adjusts to the added instability of the foam roller. The video below will show you arm circles without the foam roller as a guide for the foundation of the movement.

Intermediate Exercise: Back Extension

Start by laying on your stomach and either hold the foam roller or place it under your arms. From there, move through your back extension letting your arms gently move the roller and your spine lifts. Back extension is great for strengthening the entire back chain. As with the first exercise, the foam roller provides great feedback and helps your body build both stability and strength. The video below will show you exactly what to do!

Advanced Exercise: Hip Rolls

Level up by placing the foam roller under your feet in hip rolls. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat resting on the foam roller. Engage your glutes and core as you slowly roll up one vertebrae at a time into your hip bridge. Roll back down slowly and repeat for a few repetitions. In the video below, Jane does a fun variation for added hamstring and glute challenges.

Fitness Equipment: The Resistance Band: Adding Resistance and Strength to Your Workout

Resistance bands are highly portable and versatile props. They also have the added bonus of being compact, making them perfect to tuck into your suitcase when you’re traveling. With its elastic properties and various levels of resistance, you can control how much intensity you’re adding, making resistance bands indispensable companions for both beginners and seasoned fitness enthusiasts.

Advantages of Using Resistance Bands

Jane points out that these unassuming bands can help you feel greater muscle engagement, as well as build muscle flexibility and strength. Resistance band exercises effectively target and activate specific muscle groups, promoting gradual and balanced strengthening. They also provide constant tension throughout the entire range of motion, which can lead to improved muscle tone and definition.

Jane notes that it’s nice to have a couple different tensions of bands and for everyone to also consider purchasing the loop style band for leg work. In the exercises below, Jane highlights three different ways resistance bands can be useful: to offer support in a movement, to encourage a greater range of motion, and as added resistance to an exercise.

Resistance Band Exercises

Beginner Exercise: Chest Stretch

Using a light or medium tension band, hold the band with your arms straight out in front of you. Pull your arms to your sides, bending your elbows, and lift your sternum/chest slightly into the band as it stretches. Focus on the movement coming from your shoulder blades and sternum, rather than your lower back. Try repeating 4-6 times. This movement will both stretch your chest and improve mobility.

Intermediate Exercise: Leg Circles

To get started, hook the band around the ball/arch of your foot, just like Jane in the video below. While gripping each end of the band in one hand, begin to circle your leg. When used in leg circles, the resistance band offers support and enhanced control of your leg as it moves. For many this allows the movement to feel more accessible and easeful.

Advanced Exercise: Banded Squats 

This is where the loop-style band is useful but you can also securely tie a standard resistance band to create your own ad hoc loop. You can choose what feels most comfortable but either place the band around your thighs or calves. From there do your squats. Using the band here not only adds resistance but it can also help to activate abductors and glutes which will help you get the most out of the movement.

Workout Equipment: Light Hand Weights: Elevating Your Home Strength Training

The Benefits of Light Hand Weights

Light hand weights (1-3 pounds max!) introduce an element of external resistance (i.e. weight), intensifying home workouts to stimulate muscle growth and enhance strength. By adding weights into your repertoire, basic exercises can become more challenging. Anyone who has taken Jane’s virtual Barre class knows that 1-2 pound hand weights are more than enough to feel the burn after rounds of bicep curls and tricep extensions. Besides enhancing muscle definition, incorporating light hand weights can also increase caloric output during your workout.

Light Hand Weight Exercises

Beginner Exercise: “Reformer” Arm Work 

We love to mimic some of the arm exercises from our reformer repertoire at home using weights.  For example– “offering” from the front rowing reformer series. Sit with your legs crossed or out in front of you (whichever feels most comfortable and allows you to sit upright). Have your elbows flexed at 90 degrees by sides, palms up and holding the hand weights. Then, extend your arms forward, keeping palms upward.

Take a breath in and as you do open your arms to the sides, maintaining the grip and upward palms. Exhale and return your arms forward. Lastly, inhale to flex the elbows to return to the starting position. The breathing in this movement helps you keep a nice intentional pace, but don’t worry if your inhales and exhales don’t match up, just move slowly with good form.

Intermediate Exercise: Roll-Up With Weights

See the video below for basic guidance on how to do a roll-up without weights. You’ll simply add in the weights by holding one in each hand as you perform your roll down. The weights will actually offer you some assistance as you roll up off of the mat. As you roll back down, the added weight will help you articulate your spine slowly which is great not only for spinal mobility but also core engagement and strength.

Advanced Exercise: Bicep Curls in Half Roll Back 

Adding weighted bicep curls or other arm work to your c-curve/half roll back: Adding arm work while holding the c-curve/roll back means that you stay in this challenging position while having to work your biceps/arms, increasing abdominal work and challenging co-ordination. Watch the video below and then give it a try yourself!

Creating a Balanced Home Routine with Fitness Gear

Want more guidance on how to incorporate these fitness props at home? At MOVE Wellness, we’re all about seizing the power of virtual movement to supplement your in-studio routine. Our favorite online options include our free Youtube channel, our dynamic livestream classes, and our ever-accessible on-demand workouts and guided programs.

Virtual options are functional and effective because they offer flexibility for scheduling (you set the schedule however you want!) and are also a low, or even no-cost, option for classes meaning you can supplement an in-person practice without a big impact on your health or your monthly budget. But perhaps most importantly, our virtual options allow you to have a class-based format guided by our fabulous instructors. This means, Jane and our other instructors plan a great workout for you and all you have to do is show up ready to move!

Here’s a sample workout schedule that incorporates all three props into your weekly routine:

Just getting started in your fitness journey? We’d recommend scheduling your Introductory Private Session with us. This 50 minute movement session will take you through a great workout individualized to your unique body and goals.

Jane’s Final Tips for Success

  • Always warm up your body before moving into more demanding movements. When you do take on a challenge, listen to your body and avoid overexertion. 
  • Make sure you have the basics down of any movement before adding in a prop. We love to add in props for greater creativity and fun, but only as our bodies are ready. Having time one-on-one or in a small group class setting where a trainer has their eyes on your form and is offering corrections when needed will help you build the body awareness you need for a great solo practice. 
  • Know that growth takes time and consistency. Keep up with your weekly practice and know that you’re building the foundation for greater strength.

Incorporating the foam roller, resistance bands, and hand weights into your home fitness routine offers an abundance of advantages. To recap just a few, Jane reminded us that even though we often think of the foam roller as a tool for muscle recovery and flexibility, it can also be a great way to challenge balance and stability. She taught us how resistance bands amplify resistance training with their adaptable tension, helping to sculpt and really home in on targeted muscle engagement. Last but not least, Jane showed us how to add in hand weights to infuse your workouts with heightened intensity and take strength-building to the next level.

Ready to dive in? We encourage you to experiment with these props and feel the benefits for yourself. MOVE offers numerous virtual class options that incorporate these great tools into your workout routine. From our livestream classes (check out our FREE trial if you haven’t yet!) to our Youtube Channel there are workouts for all experience levels and schedules. 

We’d love to hear your experiences and your favorite exercises using props. Comment below!

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.

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
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 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.

Your Workout. Your Choice.

We’re here for you—however you want to move with us. We recognize that some of you are eager to join us in-studio while others would prefer to wait for now. We respect whatever decision is best for you—your workout, your choice. Safety protocols are in place in the physical studio and MOVE Wellness is currently scheduling private sessions and small group classes. Our livestream classes continue to be available, and virtual private and small-group training sessions are also an option to meet a wide-range of client needs. We invite you to choose the mix of in-studio or at-home training that’s right for you.

Your Safety in Our Studio

When you’re ready to visit MOVE in-person, we want you to feel safe. So we’re taking important steps to make sure you’re comfortable. Here are the primary COVID-19 protocols we have in place.

  • The studio layout has been redesigned to allow for physical distancing and a streamlined flow of clients. 
  • The number of people allowed in-studio at any given time will be limited.
  • New windows and ceiling fans have been installed to allow fresh airflow.
  • We have added UVC light filtering to our HVAC system to kill any airborne virus particles that pass through.
  • Cotton gloves will be made available to clients who wish to use them.
  • Masks are optional for clients. Staff will be mask-optional when Washtenaw County is in the CDC low or medium community level. Masks will be required for staff when Washtenaw County is in the CDC high community level. Clients are welcome to ask their trainer to wear a mask for any individual session. Please reach out to us with any specific questions or concerns.
  • Stringent cleaning protocols with approved cleaning solutions are in place for all equipment and touched surfaces.
  • We have a UVC light wand for extra sanitizing of props and equipment.
  • Reusable items (fabric straps, gloves, etc) will be sanitized according to the CDC approved guidelines. 
  • We ask all clients and staff to stay home if experiencing 2 or more of the following symptoms:  fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, cough, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, loss of taste and/or smell. 

We will continue to monitor local, federal, state, and international guidelines for any changes in recommendations, cleaning strategies and best practices. We continuously update our policies as needed and you can trust that we will always keep the lines of communication open. 

You CAN Start Now

Ready to get started with an in-studio training session? We’re happy to continue to see you online for private sessions, or livestream classes. We look forward to designing a safe and comfortable plan for each and every member of our community. Your workout—your choice.

Please feel free to reach out to us at with any questions or concerns you may have. 

Be Fit. Be Well. Be Inspired.

Elaine, Robin, Rachel and Staff

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

To help you visualize the changes at MOVE, we want to share some photos of our new equipment arrangement in both studios to allow for physical distancing, as well as our new windows that open and ceiling fans to enhance airflow. We’re so excited about these changes to safely welcome you back into our space.

How to Keep Up Your Fitness Routine While Traveling

The latest blog from Elaine Economou about working out while traveling is now posted on the popular website, Sixty and Me.

“Once you evaluate the when and where of a travel exercise routine, figuring out how you will exercise is the next step. With internet access you can do virtually (pun intended!) anything you want. Online fitness options—both on demand workouts and livestream classes—are widely available. You don’t need to have any fancy equipment or props taking up space in your suitcase. Use a beach towel instead of a mat and water bottles as hand weights. That book you brought along to read on your trip can make a great substitute yoga block.”

—Elaine Economou

Tips for Working Out While Traveling

In this blog, Elaine will guide you though how to think about your available time and space on vacation. She’ll break down the advantages of the various online workout options. And, she’ll talk about what type of exercise you need most when you’re on the road. Give the following 30-minute Level 1 Pilates class a try on your next vacation using therabands for resistance. Perfect for your suitcase! Be sure to read the full blog over on Sixty and Me to learn even more strategies.

Read How to Keep Up Your Fitness Routine While Traveling.

Move More, Feel Better

We know the more you move, the better you feel. That includes finding smart ways to make movement part of your routine, even when traveling. For wherever life takes you or from the comfort of your very own home, MOVE Wellness offers a free 14 day trial of our livestream classes. Support the activities you love to do in life by starting today!

About Elaine Economou

Elaine Economou helps people move with ease, strength, and joy. Her passion is empowering people to understand their unique bodies to build strength, and do more of what they love. As co-founder of MOVE Wellness®, Elaine leads a global movement community of clients in high-caliber, in-studio, and interactive livestream training

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

The latest blog from Elaine Economou is now posted on the popular website, Sixty and Me.

Do you have a mindfulness routine? A lot of us would automatically associate mindfulness with meditation and we’d be right. Meditation is a form of mindfulness, but it’s not the only way to be mindful. Mindfulness can include movement too. Things like breathing routines, gentle exercise, simple movements, and a variety of activities that connect the mind and the body. In this short video, Elaine will introduce you to mindfulness and mindful movement and how it has positive and lasting effects on the entire body.

Getting started with mindful movement

Read the full blog for our list of 10 simple mindful moments to get you started. Each of them takes 10 minutes or less and they are designed to mix and match throughout your day. You’ll be on your way to starting your own mindfulness practice in no time.

Move more, feel better

It takes time to build a new habit or routine. Start by adding one or two of these activities to your day and add more as you can. When you’re ready to expand on this simple list of activities, a movement professional can help you learn to dive deeper into your mindful movement practice. Join us in our Ann Arbor, MI studio for private or small group classes. You’re also invited to enjoy a free trial of interactive livestream classes. Whichever path is right for you, support the activities you love to do in life by starting your personal movement journey today.

About Elaine Economou

Elaine Economou

Elaine Economou helps people move with ease, strength, and joy. Her passion is empowering people to understand their unique bodies to build strength, and do more of what they love. As co-founder of MOVE Wellness®, Elaine leads a global movement community of clients in high-caliber, in-studio, and interactive livestream training

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

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