Feature Article - March 2007
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Running the Trend Mill

The ever-evolving workout world

By Emily Tipping

It's all about balance

ACE reported that health clubs are offering balance training programs for all levels and types of participants. These classes might incorporate things like stability balls, Pilates equipment, even new machines that are designed to strengthen tiny stabilizer muscles throughout the body.

Vance of National Fitness Centers is definitely seeing this trend play out. "Functional training is important to people so they can lead longer, better lives," she said.

"When we know that the foundation of your body is your feet and postural alignment, it brings us back to Pilates, range of motion and balance—those key things we have drifted away from for so long," Young said. "We're coming back to this."

A gymnast, Kelly is a faculty member of Body, Arts & Science International, a method founded by Pilates Master Rael Isacowitz. She has developed training designed specifically for children and teens training for specific sports, zoning in on training their core, which she considers critically important.

"It helps prevent injuries," she said. "The training also helps them recover when they get an injury. It assists them in whatever sport they're doing. Core training is not taught as part of any sport, but core strength is everything."

Kelly believes that core training is important for people of all ages and works with students from 4 to 84 years old. She emphasizes that Pilates is intensive training, and therefore clubs and fitness centers that are considering incorporating Pilates classes should be careful.

"You have a lot of people hopping on the bandwagon and making it open-gym," Kelly said. But it's important to hire instructors who are highly trained and certified. It's also crucial to be sure your Pilates students are getting the one-on-one attention they need.

"If you do offer group classes, the group should be small so you can make sure everyone's body is properly aligned," Kelly said. "We have a second instructor walking around while one teaches, and no more than five clients at a time."