Tag Archive for: Pilates Class

Getting Started with Gentle Pilates

Beginning a new fitness routine can be intimidating, especially for people who are older, injured, or just getting started with movement. To get stronger and build healthy habits, you need to find a system that you enjoy and works well for your body — but where do you start?

A whole-body exercise method like Pilates is a great option for beginners because it is suitable for all bodies and every stage of life. It is a safe and effective way to improve your core strength, stability, and flexibility. 

The different Pilates levels help structure the exercises to make sure you’re learning the essentials before moving safely to more challenging movements. For people starting out, this often begins with gentle Pilates classes so they can learn how to do beginner-level exercises with good form. These require less strength and coordination than more advanced levels.

Get started with a Pilates introductory session or explore our MOVE On Demand offering online, Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life

What is gentle Pilates?

In these fitness classes, clients practice the principles of Pilates to help them build the foundation for a successful Pilates experience. You will use modifications and work at a pace appropriate for your postural and health issues. 

Gentle Pilates classes might be focused on balance or mobility so that you gain an understanding of your body and begin a gentle exploration of correct movement, with particular emphasis on breath control, abdominal support, and pelvic/spinal alignment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a beginner do Pilates?

Yes, Pilates is for everybody! Anyone can benefit from doing Pilates, including older people, people who haven’t worked out before, and people just coming out of physical therapy with injuries. 

Read our beginner’s guide to Pilates here.

Is Pilates gentle exercise?

Pilates can be done in its most basic form gently and simply, with the option of adding complexity and more challenging exercises as ability, strength, and coordination increase. Anyone who wants increased core and overall strength, fewer injuries, better coordination, and better muscle function can and should do Pilates.

How often should I do Pilates?

We recommend practicing Pilates three times per week to see the most rapid change in your body. However, we recognize that time and finances can be a barrier. We can work with you to create a customized plan that meets your needs.

How do I get started with Pilates?

At MOVE Wellness, our clients start with an introductory Pilates session so we can assess your current fitness level and learn more about your goals and interests. This helps us create a customized movement plan and recommend next steps. 

For those who prefer to workout from home (or aren’t located in the Ann Arbor area), MOVE Wellness also offers an online 28-day program, Movement Essentials: Gentle Pilates for Everyday Life, through our MOVE On Demand service.

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 office@movewellness.com 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.

Mark your calendars and plan to join us March 5–6 as Shari Berkowitz and The Vertical Workshop visit MOVE to present a deep learning weekend for Pilates instructors.

The Vertical Workshop Deep Learning Weekend at MOVE

Join Shari for Pilates education that makes sense: science and evidence-based, effective, inclusive, fun. Pilates that you love!

  • WHO: Pilates instructors
  • WHEN: March 5–6 at MOVE Wellness Studios
  • COST:
    • $600 for the full weekend of continuing education classes and workshops*
    • $200 for the morning workshop and master class
    • $180 for the afternoon workshop
    • Saturday, March 5
      • 9:00 a.m. Master Class: Magic Circle Mat
      • 10:30 a.m. Archival Standing Exercises Workshop
      • Lunch Break
      • 2:30 p.m. Brilliant Buttocks Workshop
    • Sunday, March 6
      • 9:00 a.m. Master Class: Midline Mat
      • 10:30 a.m. Teaching Reformer Classes Workshop
      • Lunch Break
      • 1:45 p.m. Fascia Fascination Workshop
  • CEC: 14 NPCP continuing education credits available when attending the full weekend
    • Fully vaccinated plus proof of booster required
    • Masks will be worn at all times
    • We reserve the right to require a rapid test (at attendees expense) each day or as we deem necessary

*Can’t make it for the full weekend? A’la carte registration is now open for individual workshops and classes. Please call us at 734-224-2560 or email us to register.

Semi-Private Classes with Shari Berkowitz Available

In addition to the Deep Learning Weekend, Shari will be offering several semi-private class opportunities on Friday, March 4th. Classes have space for up to six participants each and cost $50.00 per participant. Email us to reserve your spot!

Course Descriptions

Master Classes

A Pilates class with Shari is a true education. You’ll find your body and brain sweating with both a strong workout and a new education: physical and intellectual. Now…you get PMA CECs for these classes. We’ll work hard for 45 minutes on a particular theme. Then we’ll take time to discuss. Workout first. Embody and Experience. Discussion next. Intellectual understanding for the teacher. It’s a mini-workshop…a maxi-hour!

Whether in a group class or in a private session, we must work with a theme…an intrinsic action that we’re working to teach our clients to incorporate into each exercise in Pilates…and life. In thematic class, Shari picks one intrinsic action to add to our constant deep low abdominals and active lower back muscles to weave a physical and intellectual understanding of the value of the action. Saturday’s class theme will be Magic Circle Mat class and Sunday’s theme will be Midline Mat class. Join in and learn while you do, then discuss how to make a class extremely effective!

These thematic classes earn 1 NPCP Continuing Education Credit each.

Archival Standing Exercises

Mr. Pilates’ progression of exercises in a session ultimately takes the client to stand up and leave the studio with the ability to use what he/she/they learned in the outside world. The end of each session or class must end with standing exercises, but most of them are unknown to the majority of teachers. Learn these exercises and use them to challenge, encourage and excite your clients…and yourself! 

This workshop earns 3 NPCP Continuing Education Credits.

Brilliant Buttocks

The time has come to wake up that sleepy cheek of yours! That “dumb butt syndrome”…let’s be done with that! I know…I know…you think you have tried everything and nothing has worked. But you have not, actually, tried everything. I’m a biomechanist and have studied gluteus maximus in all ways. What we have to do to get your buttocks awake, smart and brilliant, even, is different from what you’ve learned. In this workshop, I’ll share the functional anatomy and physical biomechanics of gluteus maximus and all that goes into getting it to come alive in the most remarkable way. Then, of course, we’ll apply it all to Pilates. If you follow the protocol I share with you, yes, your buttocks and those of your clients will achieve their highest GPA: Brilliant!

This workshop earns NPCP Continuing Education Credits.

Teaching Reformer Classes and Teaching Tower Classes

Apparatus Classes are a big part of our growing Pilates world. You teach them, but you were never trained for it. In your reformer classes, there are people of all levels, many who have never seen or been on the reformer or been on a tower in your class and some who are pretty advanced, as well. How do you create a class that takes care of them all? Let’s take the time to learn how to create really safe, strong and challenging classes on the reformer OR the tower. There are special guidelines you can follow and great ways to make a fantastic class for everyone…including you as the teacher!

NOTE: These are not combination classes, we will spend part of the workshop talking about the reformer and the rest about creating tower classes.  

This workshop earns 3 NPCP Continuing Education Credits.

Fascia Fascination

Each year there is more and more talk about fascia! More workshops, books, videos… But what do you really need to know about it? How does it really affect you to know about fascia? What else do you need to know? What have “they” all been missing in their explanations? This workshop will educate on what has been left out of the conversation and how to really make the most of your fascia…and your fascia education. Typical to Shari’s work, we’ll cut straight to the point and get to the root of your Fascia Fascination! 

This workshop earns NPCP Continuing Education Credits.

Register Today!

Please contact us with any questions. Online registration is available for the full weekend by clicking the button below. To register for individual classes and workshops, please call us at 734-224-2560, email us, or drop by the studio in-person.

Head Shot of Shari Berkowitz of The Vertical Workshop

About Shari Berkowitz

Shari Berkowitz is the founder and creator of The Vertical Workshop.

She is a Pilates Teacher of Teachers, biomechanist and ergonomist holding Master’s of Science degrees in Ergonomics and Biomechanics from New York University (NYU). She travels the world teaching teachers of all styles of Pilates, though her vocabulary of exercises is classical. Her ability to cross over the boundaries of style in Pilates comes from her remarkable understanding of how the human body works, how people learn, how the apparatus works… She has an unusual ability for taking the most complicated concepts and turning them into simple nuggets of information that you can immediately use.

Prior to her Pilates life, Shari performed in musical theater. A successful singer, dancer and actress, she performed across the stages and screens of the world. Her Pilates practice and education began in NYC during the last 6 months of a 1.5 year period of physical therapy in her recovery from partial paralysis. You can read about her story From Paralysis to Pilates here: PDF. Once Shari found her passion for Pilates had overtaken her love of performing, she started The Vertical Workshop.

Though Shari’s Pilates vocabulary is classical with Romana Kryzanowska training her to be a Pilates teacher and then as the Power Pilates Director of West Coast Education and Lead Teacher Trainer for many years, Shari firmly believes that all styles of Pilates can give rise to effective work! We all share the same goals for our clients even if the way we get there is different. She does not support the conflicts between the different styles in Pilates. Shari works to create what she calls “A Community of Help” that crosses over the divisions of style.

Shari Berkowitz working with a Pilates client

About The Vertical Workshop

The Vertical Workshop as a brick and mortar studio opened in Beverly Hills, CA in 2004. Shari owned and operated it running a teacher training program alongside the studio’s regular client workouts. The Vertical Workshop’s blog, The Pilates Teacher Blog, launched in 2008. In 2010, Shari closed the studio to move back to NYC (romance was calling). That is when The Vertical Workshop took to the road and the internet. 

The Vertical Workshop thrives around the world in the many teachers who take continuing education workshops and webinars, sessions and classes in-person, live-stream or recordings, read The Pilates Teacher Blog and now train in The Vertical Workshop Comprehensive Teacher Training and Bridge Program. Wherever you are in the world, you can always access the education you need and desire.

The Vertical Workshop is shared by some of the greatest and dearest teachers in the world. Join us as we continually work to learn and share…and have a good time while doing it! We take the work seriously, of course, but we do not take ourselves too seriously!

Getting started with movement? Here are types of workouts you can try

“Figuring out where to begin your fitness journey can be a challenge. Learning the movement essentials and finding your favorite types of workouts are the first steps to getting started with fitness.”

—Elaine Economou

There are so many ‘shoulds’ in our vocabulary for fitness and movement. The hardest part of sorting through the list of shoulds? Figuring out how or where to begin. If you are working with past injuries, health issues, or any level of busy life it can seem even harder to get started.

Instead of giving you another list of things you ‘should’ do, Elaine Economou’s latest blogpost for popular website, Sixty and Me will share some ways to help you get started with movement in a way that works for you. Maintaining a variety of workouts is best. After all, the very best workout is the one that you will do!

Read the full blogpost on Sixty and Me.

Getting started with exercise

Elaine shares two ways we can think about how to get started with movement. One or both may resonate and help you on your movement journey.

  • First, is the behavior science approach. Using positive psychology will help you identify your motivation for including movement and fitness in your life. Understanding your motivation will help identify how fitness can fit into how you frame your life and your vision for your best self.
  • Second is the movement science approach. This is a little more instructional and grounded in what we know to be true about how movement and fitness impact your body and overall health.

Types of workouts

With so many different types of workouts to choose from, there is something for everyone. Elaine will share a little more about some of the ingredients in her own recipe for fitness. Including:

Maybe you’ll be inspired to try one of them for yourself!

How to get started with movement

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.

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