The Women's Journal

Consider Safety When Selecting A Pilates Instructor. Practice offers the balance and focus needed to survive holiday challenges

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  By Nancy Hawkins Rigg, Founder and Owner, Forever Fit Foundation


Oh, summer where did you go? Fall is upon us, moving us faster than we’d like into the holiday season, cooler weather and comfort food.

As the days grow short and the nights longer, it becomes easier to nest, to avoid exercise, to eat more and move less. But, as we know, easy is not always the best choice.

No matter what the season, having a fitness plan in place can help anyone stay on track. After all, eventually spring rolls around again, and no one wants to peel off the layers of winter clothing to reveal weight gain and an out-of-shape body.

So what’s a girl to do?

Connect with your trainer. Make a plan to practice Pilates several times a week, then support that plan with regular cardio activity and healthy eating practices.

Pilates is an efficient and reliable system of exercise, which trains the body and the mind by strengthening and toning muscles. But there’s more to Pilates than just hitting the gym and going through the motions.

Although Pilates is advertised at many sites and even available on DVDs, it’s best practiced and learned with a qualified trainer. Be sure to use one who is credentialed to balance the mind/body components specific to an individual’s needs.

And your trainer can make your workout fun, rather than a chore.

Clients need to consider workout safety, regardless of whether they are attending a mat class or doing individual work on the apparatus. A qualified Pilates instructor recognizes an individual’s limitations, including situations such as pregnancy, post-injury or surgery recovery, and specific chronic or acute issues.

Keep in mind that the term “Pilates” is considered generic, just like yoga or football or gymnastics, and that means that anyone can offer to teach Pilates, regardless of their training or experience.

Some locations offer a Pilates mat class, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the absence of Pilates apparatus translates into easier, safer or more effective workouts. That’s definitely not the case.

In fact, although the apparatus may look intimidating, it may offer variations and support to the benefit of a client – particularly if that client is new to Pilates or recovering from an injury.

Those who are familiar with the basic concepts of Pilates know that this exercise system challenges students to use their core, or powerhouse, and by doing so provides a foundation for life’s functional activities.

Since the core, or center of the body, includes the front and back of the torso between the thighs and armpits, clients who regularly practice Pilates exercises develop longer, stronger and leaner muscles.

Clients frequently say their first goal is to lose weight, but success is not always measured by numbers on the scale. In a Pilates studio, success comes from lengthening, strengthening and developing a more functional body by working against resistance.

Bodies respond rather quickly to these mental and physical challenges. The result: Stronger bodies and minds that are ready to deal effectively with the challenges of the upcoming holiday season.

After all, it takes a strong, focused mind to resist that Halloween candy or an extra piece of pie. Pilates students recognize that the practice also offers balance, strengthening, calming, focus, and precise control, no matter what the season.



Nancy Hawkins Riggs is the founder and owner of Forever Fit Foundation, a personal training business specializing in Pilates, Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis, Yamuna Body Rolling and sport specific training. Forever Fit Foundation accepts clients at three sites: Dover and Lewes, Del., and Mendenhall Station, Pa., just over the Delaware line. A certified athletic trainer, she earned her bachelors degree fro the University of Delaware and her master’s degree in exercise science and sports medicine from Miami University in Ohio.

Please call (302) 423-1816 or (302) 698-5201 to schedule an appointment for more information.