Tag Archive for: Online Fitness

Porch.com recently reached out to Pilates experts, including our very own Elaine Economou, to ask for advice on creating the ideal space to practice Pilates at home as well as some tips and advice for your daily practice. Read on for Elaine’s contribution and click here to read the full article.

Pilates at home: What to look for in online fitness classes

Online fitness is here to stay. It’s incredibly convenient and can even connect you to a community of people with similar interests. In addition, Pilates can be adapted to home practice with ease. Did you know that when Joseph Pilates created Pilates in the early 1920s, he was focused simply on the body and breathwork? No fancy equipment is needed.

Here are my top 3 tips for getting started with Pilates at home:

#1: Choose the Right Place to Exercise

Make sure you have enough room around you to move and that there are no other hazards you could trip on. You know your house better than we do. Pick the best spot you can to work out.

#2: Listen to Your Body

If an exercise doesn’t feel right for you today, don’t do it. If you know a modification, do that instead. Of course, you can always skip the current exercise and do your favorite stretch, grab a drink, or simply catch your breath as you wait for the next round.

#3: Establish a Routine

Once you’ve found a couple of favorite classes, make a weekly reservation (something manageable) to set a habit for yourself. By developing and sticking to routines, we hold ourselves accountable for a healthy lifestyle.

Online Pilates classes should focus on building a well-rounded movement routine that supports strength and muscle balance. The trainer should include exercises that move the spine forward and back, sideways, and rotate into a spiral. Online fitness has become so much more than the VHS workout tapes popularized in the 80s. Whether you choose the convenience of on-demand classes, the accountability of a livestream fitness class, or even brief workouts on YouTube or social media, I hope you’ll keep moving!

—Elaine Economou from Move Wellness

Are you ready to try Pilates at home?

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!

Reasons to Try MOVE On Demand Workouts

MOVE Co-Founder Elaine Economou is known for saying that “the consistency and frequency of your workout routine builds positive outcomes.” Now, with MOVE On Demand, you’ll find more ways to move with us than ever before. More options means more opportunities to make your workouts work for you. Finding convenient ways to increase the frequency of your training will help you stick to it and keep you moving. We’re so excited to offer you another way to move with us.

What are on demand workouts?

Have you ever followed along with a fitness DVD (or VHS tape) in your living room? On demand fitness classes are the modern day version of those recorded classes. According to Merriam-Webster, on demand literally means “when requested or needed.” Unlike livestream classes which are taught in real time on a set schedule, on demand fitness classes and programs are recorded in advance. So, you can access your on demand class on your own time and workout as often as you want from wherever you want. All you need is an internet connection—no television provider needed. 

Are there exercise programs on demand?

Yes. MOVE On Demand offers the high quality studio experience in the comfort of your own home. If you’re just getting started, a program like Movement Essentials: Getting Started with Pilates may be right for you. This 28-day program is designed to get you moving safely and provide a foundation for healthy movement. When you’re ready for more, you can choose from our full length on demand Pilates classes. We also offer a variety of short workouts accessible to all on our YouTube channel

What are some on demand fitness workouts?

These days you can find just about any type of workout on demand, including Pilates, yoga, barre, and HIIT. With specialized online subscriptions and clips on social media, we have more choices than ever before.

At MOVE On Demand, for example, you can access our full length, high-quality mat Pilates classes. The same classes and instructors you know and love from MOVE Wellness all packed up and ready for you to access anytime, anywhere. More classes are coming soon, so stay tuned.

On MOVE’s YouTube channel, you’ll find a wide variety of shorter workouts. Do one when you need some quick movement, or mix and match to customize a longer session. Choose from:

  • Pilates
  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Barre
  • HIIT
  • Mobility
  • Special focus workouts
  • Educational topics

Benefits of MOVE On Demand workouts

1. Convenience is key

Perhaps the biggest benefit of on demand workouts is how incredibly convenient they are. You can get a great workout anytime you want and wherever you want. No commuting. No travel time. Choose your spot, hit play, and get moving. It couldn’t be simpler.

2. Flexibility for a perfect fit

You’re in charge. You set the pace. Pause when you need to and restart without missing a thing. Rewind if you’re confused and need to see something again. You have complete control to customize your workout so it works hard for you.

3. It’s all yours

Pay once and own it forever—a modern DVD. A cost-effective way to workout regularly. Invite your friends and family to join you when you want the group class experience.

4. Move more, feel better

Workout as often as you want with on demand classes. We know your body will feel the difference more movement makes.

5. Ditch the dress code

You can be dressed to the nines in the latest athletic apparel, or in your work clothes on your lunch hour. We’ll never know and you’ll never tell. Pilates in your pajamas? Sure, why not.

6. Be empowered

If you are new to fitness or feel self-conscious, on demand gives you a safe space to explore your workout until you feel ready to progress to a livestream or in-studio class. A fantastic way to build confidence.

7. See results

It can be really fun to measure your progress over time when you are able to do the same movements consistently. You’ll really see how much stronger you’re getting!

How to get workouts on demand

MOVE offers a complete solution to keep you moving all year long. There’s something for everyone.

  • Movement Essentials: Getting Started with Pilates is the first step in reaching your movement goals. You’ll get stronger safely, effectively, and efficiently while building healthy habits and consistency into your new fitness routine. All in the comfort of your own home.
  • MOVE On Demand — Purchase your pre-recorded classes and programs and stream your workout whenever and wherever you want. You can watch as many times as you like (it’s all yours).
  • MOVE’s YouTube Channel — Dozens of free videos available to anyone 24/7. Choose one video or mix and match to craft your very own workout from stretching, yoga, Pilates, barre, and more all 10-30 minutes in length. Great for supplementing your in-studio sessions and for extra practice.

Online fitness is here to stay. It’s incredibly convenient and can even connect you to a community of people with similar interests. Whatever fitness path you choose, we hope you’ll keep moving.

Now available at MOVE On Demand

Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life is a 28-day program designed to get you moving and keep you on track. Each week Elaine Economou will introduce you to the basic principles of Pilates with a gentle 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.

Movement Essentials is the first step in reaching your movement goals. You’ll get stronger safely, effectively, and efficiently while building healthy habits and consistency into your new fitness routine. All in the comfort of your own home.

Start here if…

  • You’ve never done pilates
  • You’ve done pilates but it’s been a while
  • You’re recovering from an injury and are just starting to move again

What to Expect in the Program:

  • An introduction to the principles of human movement
  • Guidance on starting a movement routine
  • How to find a neutral pelvis
  • Improve your form for planks and the Pilates hundred
  • Spinal movement in all the planes of motion
Elaine Economou doing Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life

What’s included in the full program?

Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life includes:

  • A series of introductory topics to deepen your knowledge and set the stage for your personal journey—including breathing, mindfulness, neutral alignment, and how to move for your unique body
  • 1 weekly warm up routine—make sure your body is ready for movement
  • 2 weekly Pilates classes—customize your journey by doing each class once or twice each week
  • 1 weekly special topics class—including feet, hands, abdominals, and stretching
  • 3 mindful moment guided meditation classes—use as often as needed
  • 2 printable calendars—follow along and keep yourself accountable
Elaine Economou doing Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life

Are you ready to start moving?

“The consistency and frequency of your workout routine builds positive outcomes.”

—Elaine Economou

Now more than ever, MOVE Wellness offers a complete solution to get you moving and keep you moving. By committing to this 28-day program, you are committing to yourself. Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life is now available for the introductory price of $99.99 at MOVE On Demand.

Using Mindful Movement to Decrease Stress

“The key to relieving stress is tuning in to what is happening in your body and what you need in the moment to calm your nervous system. Mindful movement helps make this possible.”

—Elaine Economou

Simply put, mindful movement is noticing how you feel while you are moving. It’s the practice of moving intentionally and being aware of the sensations in your body. You are not moving for the outcome but rather for the experience of bringing awareness to the body without judgement.

Elaine Economou’s latest blog for popular website, Sixty and Me covers how we can use mindful movement to focus on the body and connect to the breath to decrease our stress levels. Read the full blogpost on Sixty and Me.

How do I practice mindful movement?

Creating a mindful movement routine for yourself requires just a little time and attention. You can get started with the workout routine linked above and these tips:

  • This isn’t your cardio workout—set aside time separate from your regular workout.
  • Strive for consistency—choose a length of time and try to stick to it every day.
  • Connect to your breathing—just noticing your inhales and exhales will focus your mind and release some stress.
  • Let your body move—go ahead and move your body in whatever way it craves.
  • Go ahead and yawn—your movements should have quality of a yawn like your first morning stretch.
  • Take inventory on yourself—notice how you feel when you start and again when you are done.
  • Trust the process—the more you practice, the deeper the impact will become.

Mindful movement and more

Need more guidance? We know the more you move, the better you feel. Sometimes we need a little push to get started. We now have just the thing. An all around program to get you started with movement, including built in mindful moments.

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.

How to Exercise to Prevent Injury

Finding a workout routine that you enjoy and can stick to is something to be celebrated. Moving consistently brings a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. And the more you move, the better you will feel. Still, it’s important to take into account any old injuries or discomfort in your body you may experience. At one point or another, many of us have felt nervous about injuring ourselves while exercising. Sometimes that fear of injury will cause enough worry to prevent you from increasing your challenge or trying something new that you might enjoy. Therefore, it’s essential to support your body’s unique needs throughout your routine to stay pain and injury free. Doing some little things on a regular basis can make a big difference. As we age, these little things become critical for maintaining our mobility and continuing to do what we love.

What are ways to prevent injury?

No one can wave a magic wand and prevent injury. But, we can make it far less likely by integrating these simple practices and injury prevention exercises into your daily routine. 

#1: Practice noticing

First and foremost, practice noticing how your body feels. When you do Pilates, or any movement routine that connects breath to movement, you will begin to notice how your body feels when you move. Don’t ignore this. This mental “muscle”—the practice of noticing your body as you move—is your barometer, both while you are exercising and throughout all aspects of your day. When you pay attention to how you feel, if something doesn’t seem quite right you can make the decision to get curious and pay attention to the sensation or stop moving. 

A man and woman doing a shell stretch at home during an online exercise class

#2: Ask for help

Don’t work through pain and please seek support from a medical professional if you feel pain. The process of getting stronger will occasionally bring about some soreness. Increasing your routine and trying more challenging workouts may lead to those sensations. That’s a very normal part of training our body. Noticing the difference and knowing when to stop and seek help from a physician or physical therapist is key. Having a Pilates trainer help set up your workout or routine provides “eyes on your body”. That will help you create a program suited to your unique needs and prevent injury right from the start.  

#3: Pace yourself

This is truly an instance of slow and steady winning the race. Make sure that you are trying more challenging routines or adding minutes to your workout a little at a time. Large jumps in intensity can lead to injury. Give your body time to adapt at its own pace. 

#4: Build a foundation

Be sure to do some whole body movement like Pilates that will move your spine, shoulders and hips. These foundational movements will engage the core muscles to help keep the forces of whatever you do moving through your body in a balanced way. A key benefit of Pilates is that it focuses on individual postural issues and helps each person unravel their own unique muscular imbalances to create healthy movement patterns. Improved overall fitness levels may help prevent injury plus offer greater strength and ease of movement.

What exercise causes the most injury?

The simple answer: too much, too soon. Of any type of exercise. It often feels like we live in a culture of extreme fitness trends with the mantra go big or go home. Any workout your body is not prepared for is the one that brings the most risk. If you do something high impact or extremely cardiovascular without easing yourself into that activity, your body is going to be caught off guard. Anyone who has ever decided to take up running and thought they’d just head out and try to run a mile will know what I mean. By starting slowly, first walking, then jogging to start building endurance you’ll safely be able to progress to a running routine. Even in Pilates, if you once attended advanced classes but then took some time off, you’ll need to revisit the basics. 

Jumping right back into complex movements without taking time to reinforce the foundational movements can leave you vulnerable to injury. Taking inspiration from a favorite silly board book about a bear hunt that I used to read to my kids, I like to say we have to go through the forest, not around, over or under it. The goal is to have you safely engage in movement in whatever range your body will allow, and then progress from there in ways that allow you to own that movement and experience joy and confidence in doing so.

A woman holding hand weights doing an online exercise class at home in front of the fireplace

How can I exercise without damaging my joints?

Exercises that move your spine in all of its planes of motion are important. Then, keeping hip joints mobile and having your legs and hips moving freely is important. This helps to keep the hips, core and back working together. It’s also important to make sure your abdominal and back muscles are engaging when they are needed. This will keep you from any strain in your trunk and support each movement. The nice thing about Pilates is that it’s easy on the joints. The mat exercises are low impact bodyweight training, so the forces on your bones will help you maintain bone density safely. There is so much you can do with just a mat and you.

Injury prevention exercises

In general, there are three characteristics of a successful home routine that I like to emphasize: consistency, progression, and balance. Moving your body every day in all planes of motion and through all the joints of the body will keep you strong and prepared for the type of unexpected movements that can cause injury. These exercises will mobilize the whole body, connect breath to movement, and are safe to do every day. You know what they say… an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

9 easy injury prevention exercises: arm circles

Arm Circles

Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart. Place your arms by your sides with your palms facing in towards the body. Take a nice inhale to lift your arms up toward the ceiling and then reach them overhead only as far as ribcage and shoulder stabilization can be maintained. Exhale to circle your arms wide out to sides and return down to your starting position. Repeat 4 times and switch directions for four circles.

9 easy injury prevention exercises: half roll back

Half Roll Back

Start seated on a mat with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent in front of you. Start upright in a neutral position with arms reaching in front of you parallel to the floor. While exhaling, start to roll your pelvis away from your femurs (legs) so that you feel your low abdominal muscles hugging into your spine. You are creating a “C” shape with your low back while keeping your shoulders wide and relaxed. Keep the “C” shape and inhale.  Then, exhale to fold forward at the hips over your legs. Stack up your spine from tail to head and float your arms back to the starting position.  

9 easy injury prevention exercises: hip rolls

Hip Rolls

Start lying on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart. Your arms are by your sides. Take a deep breath into the sides of your rib cage and feel yourself grow long through your spine. As you exhale, recruit your abdominals into an imprinted position by feeling your hip bones and ribs pull closer together until there is little or no gap between your spine and the floor. Once imprinted, articulate your spine starting from the tail to roll up into a bridge position where wide shoulders support your weight. Your hip joints are extended, and your knees should feel they are energetically reaching long over your toes. Take an inhale to stay here at the top, then roll down as you exhale to return to your starting position. Imagine your sit bones reaching toward your heels as you articulate down through your spine. Repeat eight times.

9 easy injury prevention exercises: mid-back spinal rotation

Mid-Back Spinal Rotation

Begin kneeling with elbows bent under shoulders and knees under hips. Your spine should be in a neutral position and feel as though it’s reaching long from tail to head. Your shoulder blades are stable against your rib cage. As you exhale, reach your elbow to the ceiling lead as you open your chest and allow your spine to rotate. Inhale to return to your starting position and repeat with your other arm. Repeat four times on each side.

9 easy injury prevention exercises: hip circles

Hip Circles

Begin kneeling on all fours with arms underneath shoulders, and knees directly underneath hips, slightly apart. Your spine should be reaching long from tail to head. Shift your weight to your right hand and knee and then circle your hips back to your heels on the right side then continue to shift your hips to the left side. Pull your pelvis underneath you as you continue the circle towards the starting position while arching your back like a cat. Feel that great cat stretch.  You are making a circle with your spine first in extension and then flexion as you continue the movement. Do four to the right and then four to the left. 

9 easy injury prevention exercises: bird-dog variation

Bird-Dog Variation

Begin kneeling on all fours with arms underneath shoulders, and knees directly underneath hips, slightly apart. Your spine should be reaching long from tail to head. Inhale and find extra length through the spine. Exhale to recruit your abdominals and simultaneously lift your right arm and left leg, reaching towards opposite ends of the mat. Hold this balanced position as you inhale and reach fingertips and toes even longer. As you exhale, simultaneously lower your arm and leg to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Be sure to keep your head level with your spine and keep length through the back of your neck. 

9 easy injury prevention exercises: cat stretch

Cat Stretch

Begin kneeling on all fours. Your arms should be underneath your shoulders and knees directly underneath the hips, slightly apart. Feel your spine reaching long from tail to head. Inhale to grow longer and find length through the spine. As you exhale, use your abdominals to round your spine like a Halloween cat. Start from your tailbone and leave the head for last. Hold this c-curve position while you inhale to breathe into the sides of your ribcage, rounding further. Finish with an exhale and beginning with the tail end of the spine, extend one vertebra at a time until you return to your starting position. Repeat six to eight times.

9 easy injury prevention exercises: squats


Stand tall with your feet wider than your hips. Propping your heels on a blanket or rolled up mat can be a helpful modification when you are just starting out with these deep squats (see video). Be sure your toes are pointed forward or slightly turned out and that your knees track over your feet. Your hands can hang by your sides. Bend at the knees and hips as though you are going to sit in a chair and go as far down as you can. Your weight will be in your heels. Keep your back straight and your gaze directed low in front of you. Pause at your lowest point for a moment then return to your starting position. Repeat four times.

9 easy injury prevention exercises: standing side arch

Standing Side Arch

Stand with feet hip distance apart. Your weight should stay evenly distributed on both feet and your spine long and neutral. On an inhale, lift your arms over head while keeping your shoulders lengthened down. Grab your left wrist with your right hand overhead. As you exhale, lengthen your waist and spine and reach the heel of your hand away from the heel of your foot. Keep both sides of your body long and hips level. Be sure to stay square to the front and avoid rotating. Return to standing tall, switch the grip of your hands and repeat on the other side.

Move More, Feel Better

The price of a healthy body and personal wellness is hard to pinpoint because, in a way, health is defined by the absence of illness or injury. Sometimes we need a little guidance getting started in a safe way for our body. That’s why Elaine Economou created Movement Essentials: Getting Started with Pilates, 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!

Including movement into your daily routine can help promote better bone and muscle health by building strength and endurance. You have many options when it comes to exercise, including walking, swimming, and Pilates. 

Many people have a preconceived idea that Pilates is only for young, extremely fit people, but the reality is that Pilates is suitable for all bodies at any stage of life. At MOVE Wellness, we’ve helped both men and women of all ages (including clients in their sixties and seventies!) incorporate Pilates into their routine to safely strengthen their body and support life’s activities. 

Whether you want to workout in the comfort of your home or visit a studio, there’s a Pilates class or session that can fit your unique fitness needs and goals.

3 senior men doing Pilates Reformer arm exercises

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a system designed to help you strengthen and mobilize your body. There are a variety of exercises that target strength and mobility for the whole body, always initiating with the core. They can be done on a mat or Pilates equipment strategically designed to allow for the fullest expression of movement. Some pieces of equipment you would likely find in a Pilates session include the Reformer, Cadillac, chair, and barrel.


What is mat Pilates?

Mat Pilates exercises require you to stabilize your body without equipment and tend to focus more on core work. You can practice the original 34 Pilates exercises in this classic Pilates mat sequence

Interested in learning more? Try online mat Pilates classes with a 14-day trial of our livestream classes!

What is reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates is done on a rolling platform with springs that add resistance to your Pilates workout. Springs can be added or taken away to provide different levels of resistance as the platform, called the “carriage,” is pushed or pulled along the frame. 

Working on the Pilates reformer allows for more dynamic movement that can train many parts of the body in different ways. Reformer parts can also be adjusted to your body size and level of skill, so it’s a great option for beginners!

Want to give Reformer Pilates a try? If you live in the Ann Arbor area, you can take a small group Reformer Pilates class at our studio. These classes are limited to six students for more personalized attention.

What are the benefits of doing Pilates exercises?

Pilates can help strengthen the body and improve stability and peripheral mobility. These improved fitness levels can help prevent injury and give you greater ease of movement through a full range.

This system can also relieve low back pain and the postural effects of sitting. It is a safe weight-bearing exercise that can mitigate symptoms of osteoporosis/osteopenia, and there is mounting research that Pilates supports a number of pathologies, postural issues, and is an effective method for whole body strengthening.

Whatever your conditioning goal, Pilates is an efficient, effective, and safe way to increase your flexibility, develop your core, and release tension.

Two Senior Women Doing Pilates With Trainer

Which is better, Pilates or yoga?

Pilates and yoga both have benefits for those who practice it, regardless of age or experience level. The practice that works best for you will depend on your individual fitness goals. The benefits of yoga, for example, include stress reduction, increased blood circulation, flexibility, strength, improved sleep patterns and relaxation.

Beginning a Pilates practice

Starting a new movement system can feel intimidating. At MOVE Wellness, we take the time to learn about you 一 including your current fitness level, goals, and any limitations or injuries you may have 一 so we can support you on your personal fitness journey. We can then make recommendations about which classes or private trainers would work best for your unique situation.

For example, our livestream and in-studio Pilates classes are organized into six levels to help our clients move confidently and comfortably through their personal fitness journey: Gentle, Intro, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Advanced. Most of our clients start with beginner Pilates classes so they can learn the foundational principles, which are designed to layer and build on each other as the student progresses.

2 women doing online fitness classes on a mat in their living room

You also have the option of private sessions, where you work one on one with a trainer who will create a custom workout to help you achieve your goals and provide support, motivation, and accountability. These are available both virtually and in-person.

Regardless of whether you’re alone or in a group, you will be led by a member of our experienced team. We’re proud to have some of the most experienced movement trainers, fitness instructors and coaches in Ann Arbor, who will work with you to bring out the very best in your body. Our trainers are credentialed in their areas of expertise and will even work in partnership with other health experts in your life, including doctors and physical therapists, to ensure your workouts are safe and highly effective.

Ready to get started? Our introductory session includes an intake assessment, 50-minute private session, and customized movement recommendation plan, as well as a 14 day trial of our livestream classes. Clients who would prefer a small-group class are invited to try an introductory class.

MOVE Trainer Mary Falcon teaching a livestream Pilates class

Pilates classes near you

The MOVE Wellness fitness studio is conveniently located on Jackson Road near I-94 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

We also offer a number of online options for clients who don’t live nearby or who prefer to workout at home. These include:

  • Private training — available in-studio or virtually via Zoom.
  • Small-group classes — our Pilates Essentials Class ($29) is a fun, safe space to try something new. 
  • Livestream classes — over 30+ professional studio classes, including Pilates, yoga, barre, and more. This gives you a variety of fresh content each session to stave off boredom, and the motivating energy of live instruction to keep you moving.
  • MOVE On Demand — pre-recorded class content, no television provider needed. Access your content whenever you want.
  • MOVE Wellness on YouTube — a wide variety of free workouts on Pilates, yoga, and special topics like mobility.


Start Your Pilates Practice


How to get stronger at home without weights or fancy equipment

Overwhelmed. Intimidated. Discouraged. These are the feelings I hear from people when they talk about trying to find the right home workout routine. Overwhelmed by the amount of information and advice they find. Intimidated by the types of workouts and exercises they’re seeing, many of which make them worry about pain or injury. And discouraged by the fact that so many strength-building workouts they see online or on tv are geared toward super fit people who are already experienced athletes. This is why I’m passionate about movement systems like Pilates.

Building strength based on your individual needs 

One of the reasons that I fell in love with Pilates (a love affair that started more than 20 years ago!) is its central focus on how the whole body works and your individual movement needs. Exercise programs and strength-training routines should be designed to fit you, not the other way around. I’ve always found it strange that so much of today’s health and fitness culture relies on people fitting a pre-packaged workout routine or devoting themselves to a specific diet. 

Here’s what I say to that: Your body is a self-sufficient miracle and is already working the way it needs to. Your heart is beating, your lungs are filling with oxygen, and your internal systems are engaging in the many regenerative processes for which they’re designed. 

Woman meditating in front of water

Understanding some basic things about how your body works is the most important first step in starting any new strength-building routine. For example, nearly every client I’ve ever worked with has asked me what the best ab workout is. And here’s what I tell them: breathing. If you are breathing as you should be, with ease and balance, your abdominal muscles are working. 

Once you shift your focus to understanding a bit about how your own body works, then the way you approach starting a new workout routine becomes a lot easier. Because it’s all about listening to your own body and thinking about how your lifestyle and day-to-day activities affect the way you feel. In general, there are three characteristics of a successful home strength-training routine that I like to emphasize: consistency, progression, and balance. But first, let’s talk a little bit about why building strength specifically is so important for your health at all stages of life.

two women doing Pilates in their living room

Health benefits of Pilates and strength-training at home

The price of a healthy body and personal wellness is hard to pinpoint because, in a way, health is defined by the absence of illness or injury. And this gets even more true as we age. Many people have a hard time wrapping their minds around the idea of building strength later in life because we so often associate the word with youth and athletic training. But in reality, strength is a critical component of aging well and as we get older we have to work a lot harder (and smarter) for it.

Continuing to move your body in ways that promote strength, stability, and flexibility should be the foundation for any new workout routine. But, again, understanding a little bit about how your body works is essential for getting started. Developing a better understanding of your unique musculoskeletal system, for example, can help you address and eliminate a lot of the aches and pains that stem from daily activities like sitting at a desk, sleeping on a not-so-great mattress, or spending a Saturday doing a lot of yard work.

Woman doing a mermaid Pilates stretch in her home

Smaller movements = bigger whole body impact

Our culture has a habit of emphasizing big movements, big muscles, big workouts, and so on. But it’s those little muscles, those little movements, and those smaller, more mindful exercises that often have the biggest impact on our bodies and health. An intricate web of connective tissue called fascia runs throughout our bodies, holding everything in place (organs, bones, muscles, etc.), reacting to the positive and negative input we provide our bodies with every day, and ultimately informing all of our movement. 

Stress, uneven movements, or awkward body positions (hunched over our phones or laptops for example) can cause our fascia to tense up and get snagged in different spots; while slowing down, breathing more deeply, and bringing a level of mental awareness to our movement can help release that tense tissue and bring back some balance. When we think about exercise and movement in terms of our fascia and the interconnectedness of our bodies, rather than just working big muscles or stretching them to get more flexible, we can create more effective workout routines that offer a bigger, long-term impact.

Paying more attention to our fascia and trying to bring more balance to that web of connective tissue running throughout our bodies is also critical for preventing injuries. Movement systems like Pilates are designed to do just that. But, more than anything, approaching strength-training and exercise from a more informed and mindful place is essential because it gives us the energy and freedom to do the things we love to do. For me, Pilates has given me the tools to ensure that I am always mobile and strong enough to do the things that bring me joy. 

Woman selecting an online fitness class on an iPad in her home

How to start a consistent home workout routine

Building strength is not about spending an hour here or two hours there doing big, hard, explosive exercises that leave you exhausted and sore. To build muscle, you need to find a starting point that works for you and do that movement consistently every day, even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes. 

At MOVE Wellness, we offer several gentle beginner level Pilates classes that give you some initial guidance and routines to get you moving. This easy 15-minute morning routine is a great option if you’re not sure where you want to start. Regardless of what you decide to do, the goal should be to establish a new movement habit that you can incorporate into your daily routine. That means that it should be enjoyable and customized for you, otherwise it’s going to be hard to maintain long-term.

Along those same lines, fancy equipment and perfect form are not things you need to get stronger and healthier at home. Let me say that again: No fancy gym equipment or perfect Instagram-worthy poses needed! For people who take our livestream classes, we’ve even got a list of “prop swaps” you can find at home for some of the equipment or tools you might normally use in a studio or gym setting. Don’t have hand weights? Grab some canned beans! Don’t have a head pad or Yoga block? Grab a book from your bookshelf. 

With any Pilates exercise, the goal shouldn’t be to look exactly like the instructor does or like the seemingly flawless exercise enthusiasts flooding our news and social media these days. The goal is to have you safely engage in that movement in whatever range your body will allow, and then progress from there in ways that allow you to own that movement and experience joy and confidence in doing so.

A man and woman doing planks in their home

How to increase body strength at home

Mat Pilates is one of the most popular and effective ways to build strength at home because it allows you to use your own body weight and natural movements in training. At some point in time, building muscle became all about doing “leg days” or “upper body days” and eating this much protein and that much fat this many times a day. But the good news is, building body strength doesn’t have to be that prescriptive or oddly specific, and for the most part, really shouldn’t be. 

When you think about gaining strength, you want to think about whole-body strength. Not working out one specific muscle or muscle group, but instead moving your body through it’s normal planes of movement and building strength through your center. This means understanding how your spine alignment works, learning that engaging your core isn’t just about tightening your abs, and being assured that nothing you’re doing should hurt or feel bad.

Your own body weight is usually all you need to get started with Pilates. Then, once you’ve developed some comfort and familiarity, you can increase progression by adding props like resistance bands or weighted balls (or prop swaps).  

A woman doing a home workout with weights

3 tips for successful strength-training at home

#1: Start small

We love simple movements and exercise modifications in Pilates because it allows you to customize workouts for your skill level and comfort. For example, don’t feel pressured to start with hand weights or resistance bands. Just using your own body weight and learning to move freely through different ranges of motion first is not only ok, it’s often the better way to begin. If you want to establish a routine that you can both maintain and benefit from, the focus should be on performing movements correctly and fully, not with excessive amounts of weight or resistance.

#2: Keep it slow and steady

Yes, moving fast and getting our heart rate up can provide a great cardiovascular workout, but it’s the quickest path to injury if you’re not moving correctly and fluidly. Remember, you’re creating a new routine and developing new habits, not transforming yourself into an entirely different human being overnight. Moving slowly and thoughtfully allows us to establish a healthy routine we’re more likely to maintain and grow over time.

#3: Consistency is key

Like I mentioned before, 15-20 minutes of movement each day is better than an intense hour-long workout one or two days per week. Make your strength-building routine part of your everyday life, not an additional difficult, time-consuming task that you’ll end up dreading or not having time for.

Moving with ease is a basic human necessity. Exercise and strength-training should always be driven by a desire to move and feel better, not look better. When we focus on physical appearance rather than feeling and health, we fall into the trap of not listening to our bodies and letting discomfort and pain turn into injury and chronic mobility issues. 

Whether you decide to try an in-person or livestream class through a studio like ours or just start incorporating new movement practices into your daily routine at home, be sure to take note of how your body feels and ask lots of questions.

You Can Start Now

Looking for a guided, approachable way to get started with movement? Movement Essentials: Getting Started with Pilates is now available at MOVE On Demand and may be right for you. This is a complete 28-day program designed to safely introduce you to Pilates and keep you on track as you build a routine. Each week Elaine Economou will cover 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 the progression and prepare you for a lifetime of healthy movement. Watch the program trailer to learn more.

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.

Yoga and Aging: The Benefits of Yoga as We Get Older

As we get older, we find ourselves looking for ways to offset the day to day effects of aging. For some, it’s as simple as wanting to reduce the little aches and pains that creep into our days. For others, the goal might be to build strength and mobility to move through life with ease. Or, we may be looking for ways to manage stress and build a mindfulness practice into our daily routine so we enjoy and appreciate our life. Whatever your individual goals, the phrase “active aging” may hold the key.

According to the International Council on Active Aging, active aging means staying fully engaged with life in seven dimensions of wellness—physical activity and spiritual pursuits are two of them. By staying active, you can continue to lead a healthy life at any age or stage without losing mobility or your balance. Yoga is a popular way to help you achieve these goals. 

MOVE Instructor Shannon Walter teaching yoga for healthy aging

Benefits of Yoga as You Age

A well rounded exercise routine will help you continue to do the things you love in life. Yoga is often the first thing people think of to facilitate healthy aging with a wide range of benefits. A lot of times, we hear people say that they just need to stretch more. Yoga comes to mind quickly when they think about how to solve this problem. Truthfully, the practice of yoga does help the body stay flexible and as we age—an important aspect of staying balanced and mobile. But there are many other benefits of a regular yoga practice. It can be an important part of a well rounded fitness plan.  

Let’s break it down. First, when we practice yoga we are stretching and opening the body by moving into and holding poses to help keep the joints mobile and strong. Moving regularly can help minimize inflammation to keep day-to-day aches and pain away. Beyond the muscular system, breathing and mindfulness are at the top of the benefits list for ways yoga can help us combat the physiological impact of stress. When we can reduce stress and increase breathing and mindfulness we stand to sleep better and maintain healthy blood pressure. And finally, in practicing yoga the deep focus on the movements and sensations of the body will build awareness and keep you mentally sharp.

MOVE instructor Shannon teaching yoga for healthy aging

Fewer Aches and Pains

Who doesn’t want to feel better throughout the day? A yoga class will help you mobilize all the joints in your body as you move through specific poses, or asanas. Bringing circulation to each part of the body will help it stay supple and minimize inflammation. This can be one cause of simple muscle aches and pains. Stretching your legs, hips, back, and shoulders will help you bring your muscular system into balance. When you move during your day doing all the things you enjoy, all your muscles will be trained to join in and participate offering your body more support. We know that the more you move the better you feel.  

Strength, Mobility, and Balance

A yoga practice can help you manage the activities of daily living by keeping your body resilient and strong. Moving through the asanas and stretching your body in a variety of ways helps keep your tissues supple—including muscles, ligaments and tendons, and all the connective tissues or fascia. That might sound complicated, but it all comes down to building strength and mobility throughout your body. By getting stronger, we will improve our balance safely and keep our body resilient. We will be more responsive to catching ourselves if we momentarily lose our balance. As we age this can be crucial in preventing injuries caused by a stumble or fall. Yoga also promotes increased circulation and oxygenation of the body which will help you feel energized and refreshed after a great class. 

MOVE instructor Shannon Walter teaching yoga for healthy aging

Breathing and Awareness

Yoga has a long history associated with a religious or spiritual practice. Over time, yoga has evolved to allow us to participate in a way that connects us to the truth of what’s in our own heart and who we are in the moment. For some of us this may feel more universally approachable and accessible. As we practice this idea of deeply listening to ourselves, we can foster self-compassion and self-love and bridge the truths of our miraculous body and our lives. Who wouldn’t want healthy movement, peace, and energy all tied together into one practice? 

A key component of any yoga practice is mindful breathing. As we breathe we also focus on how we breathe and even different types of breath practice. This can help minimize the physiological impact of stress, reduce blood pressure, and calm anxiety. Breathing well and fully will also help your pelvic floor and core muscles work organically to bring tone to the muscles that support a healthy trunk and strong back. By really tuning into our breath throughout our yoga practice, we will steadily improve our focus and concentration. Following the guidance of a great teacher we will build awareness of the sensations of the body that can help us meaningfully tune in to how we feel day to day. 

Yoga Classes for Healthy Aging

There are a lot of different yoga classes out there to choose from. If you’re ready to see how yoga can enhance your movement routine, step one is getting permission from your physician so you can exercise safely. Finding a class that helps you move at a level appropriate for you is important. Many of them can be adapted for any level of movement and for different populations. This article is a really nice primer describing the different types of yoga—from Restorative to Hatha or Vinyasa and anything in between, this will help you decide where to start. There are so many options, including livestream classes with a real-time instructor, recorded on-demand to practice at your own convenience, or in-person group fitness in a studio. 

We like to recommend starting with a Gentle Yoga class if you’re unsure what level you might be comfortable with. You can also reach out to the teacher beforehand directly to help you choose.  If you have balance issues or difficulty getting down on the floor, a chair yoga class may work best until you get more steady on your feet. Or, an osteoporosis-safe yoga class may be best for those with that issue. Speaking to the instructor before class is particularly important if you have any health issues or injuries. They might have advice or modifications to help you feel comfortable and safe throughout class. Always stop if you feel any pain or discomfort and seek medical advice before going any further.

MOVE instructor Shannon Walter teaching yoga for healthy aging

Yoga at MOVE Wellness in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Join us for interactive, livestream yoga and meditation classes with MOVE Wellness Studios. Our classes are designed to meet a variety of client needs and represent a practice that speaks from the teacher’s heart. At MOVE, we pride ourselves on creating a welcoming environment. We strive to empower each client on their personal path to fitness and wellness. As we’ve learned through this article, there are many effective yoga systems. We offer diverse classes that are accessible to all people. 

Our Gentle Yoga class moves at a slow to moderate pace. Traditional yoga concepts are introduced in a format that is clear and easy to understand. You’ll practice poses with an emphasis on breathing, physical awareness and relaxation. This will allow you to increase strength and flexibility while relieving stress. 

Our Rest and Restore Class (Yoga Nidra) features gentle movements and relaxation techniques. These movements are designed to relieve muscular tension, calm the nervous system and quiet the mind.

We also offer a guided Mindfulness and Meditation opportunity. This non-movement class focuses on various techniques such as body scans, breath awareness and mantras to help focus the mind and be present in the moment. 

You Can Start Now

With MOVE Livestream, you’ll enjoy yoga classes and more with our expert instructors from the comfort of your own home. Let us help you find the class that’s right for you. Get started today with a 14 day free trial!

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

What is GYROKINESIS® Exercise?

Maybe you’ve heard of Gyrokinesis exercise, but aren’t exactly sure what it entails. You might be wondering what it’s all about and how it might benefit you. Elaine’s blog will cover:

  • What Is Gyrokinesis exercise?
  • The benefits of Gyrokinesis exercise
  • Why try a Gyrokinesis Exercise Class
  • How to access a free Gyrokinesis class trial

Check out this Youtube video to learn more!

Why try a GYROKINESIS® Exercise Class

Read the full blog to learn more about the benefits of this wonderful movement system. Gyrokinesis classes are an efficient, effective, and safe way to increase your flexibility, develop your core, and release tension. Classes can be adapted to people of all ages with a wide range of abilities from fitness enthusiasts to those just starting out.

You CAN Start Now

We offer in-studio Gyrokinesis and Gyrotonic Tower classes. Click the button below to see the schedule and sign up!