PFTL NEWS September 2021


Thank you to all our clients, trainers and others who have continued to come to our studio to train despite the mask mandate.  Covid and its evolving variant strains are very much still present in this country, even in Wilmette. We are all getting weary of wearing masks, hearing about new infections, over-burdened hospitals, etc.  It is an incontrovertible fact that mask wearing and vaccinations are the only way our country will recover from the Covid pandemic. We all hope this will be over by year-end. Bear with us…

STRETCHES TO DO AFTER SITTING TOO LONG (excerpted from IDEA Fit Tips September 2021)

We all do this… We find that sitting at a computer, watching TV, reading a book, texting, etc. all seem to make us spend more time sitting than we planned to do. Sometimes hours go by and we haven’t moved our butt off the chair since we first sat down!

Here are some stretches you can do when you realize you have been sitting for too long a time.

HIP HINGE – Sitting all day can cause “sleepy glutes” and lead to lower-back pain. When done correctly, hip hinges activate the glutes and stretch the posterior chain.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Place hands behind head and lean forward, core engaged, bending at hips.
  • Keeping back straight, bend forward until chest is parallel to floor; return to start.

CHEST OPENER – holding something in front of you (book, phone) or typing on a computer can cause the muscles in front of your shoulders to shorten which contributes to a rounded-shoulder posture.

  • Bring hands up alongside ears, fingers lightly touching side of head.
  • Inhale: Lift chest to prepare.
  • Exhale: Engage core and move elbows back and away.
  • Return to start and repeat


  • Stand tall, gazing forward or down.
  • Inhale: Squeeze shoulder blades together.
  • Exhale: Roll shoulder blades back and down toward spine.
  • Repeat, making sure shoulders go back and down, not up and forward.


  • Stand tall, in neutral alignment.
  • Place hands on lower back, fingers down, as if sliding hands into back pockets.
  • Inhale to prepare. Exhale: Gently squeeze elbows toward the spine.
  • Release and repeat.


The Rotary Clubs of Wilmette, Wilmette Harbor, and Winnetka/Northfield are hosting a fundraising event on September 22 from 5pm to 8pm at the outside Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette. You will hear musical performances by a jazz combo from Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, a New Trier High School jazz combo and the Suzanne Cross Combo All proceeds are going to Our Place, which is a center for developmentally and intellectually disabled teens and adults. Tickets are $25. There is also a raffle for travel packages to Scottsdale, AZ and San Francisco. Tickets can be purchased online at:



With the advent of increased cases of infection with the Delta variant in Cook County, we have reinstated a mask requirement at the studio. Everyone, even if vaccinated, will be required to wear a mask (unless for medical reasons this is not possible).

This is consistent with the recommendations from the CDC, IDPH and the Cook County Department of Public Health.

I know this is not welcome news for anyone, but the safety of our clients and trainers is our primary concern.  Hopefully, this will not be necessary in the long term.


Your walking speed can tell you more about your health than you might think. Walking is the most popular aerobic physical activity among Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a good thing because it not only offers its own set of health benefits, but your walking speed can also be an indicator of how healthy you are.

Being able to walk at a quick pace, as opposed to a slower one, indicates that your body is functioning properly, says Naresh Rao, doctor of osteopathic medicine.  “If you’re walking faster, you have better core musculature, balance and endurance, which can indicate good cardiovascular health,” says Rao.

“So it’s reasonable to think if you can walk faster, then you’re generally in better shape.” He also says that, as long as all other factors are equal, faster walkers will likely have less body fat, lower BMIs, more muscle and better balance.

Walking can indicate more than just how physically fit you are. Research shows that walking speed might just be a strong predictor of longevity, surgery recovery speed and more.

Your walking speed might predict your life expectancy. Walking speed (also known as gait speed) seems to indicate how long a person will live. “As gait speed declines, risk for mortality increases,” says Christina M. Dieli-Conwright, PhD, an assistant professor of research with University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

A June 2019 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that walking pace — defined as slow, steady/average or brisk — was the strongest predictor of how long a person would live, with a slow pace being associated with shorter life expectancies. A female slow-walker could expect to live to be between 72 and 85 years old, whereas a brisk-walking woman could live to 87 or 88. For men, the slow walkers’ life expectancy ranged from 65 to 81, while the fast walkers lived to be 85 to 87.

Your walking speed could be a sign of heart health. A 2018 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine also explored the link between walking speed and mortality rate and found average walkers (which the researchers defined as walking at a pace of below 20 minutes per mile) had a 20 percent lower risk of dying over the course of the study compared to slow walkers.

Those who walked faster than 18 minutes per mile had a mortality rate that was four percent lower. Interestingly, these results appeared to be linked to lower heart-related deaths among faster walkers, since walking speeds didn’t seem to affect cancer rates.

 A November 2017 study published in European Heart Journal also found slow walkers had more heart-related issues. The researchers found slow walkers were twice as likely to die from heart disease compared to faster walkers.

Faster walking speed could mean fewer hospital visits. A June 2019 study published in Blood assessed nearly 450 patients with blood cancer and found walking speed predicted the survival rates as well as the chances that patients would return to the hospital. Every 0.1 meter per second decrease in walking speed was linked to a higher mortality rate. A slower pace also increased the likelihood the patient would return to the hospital for unplanned visits and emergencies.

Walking speed has been linked to the health of your brain and body. An October 2019 study published in JAMA Network Open found that “the walking speed of 45-year-olds, particularly their fastest walking speed without running, can be used as a marker of their aging brains and bodies.” Those who walked faster had healthier lungs, teeth and immune systems than slower walkers. Plus, slower walkers showed signs of accelerated aging.

How to Determine Your Walking Speed: 

Curious to know if you qualify as a brisk walker or a slow one? To calculate your walking speed, walk naturally down a hallway or sidewalk and count the number of steps you take in 10 seconds. Multiply that number by six. That will tell you your steps per minute.

A 2018 review of 38 studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine noted the goal pace for people younger than 60 should be greater than 100 steps per minute, or 2.7 miles per hour. That pace isn’t particularly strenuous; researchers noted this should be an achievable target for healthy adults. Older adults likely will see similar benefits at a slower pace, but there’s no research yet to say exactly what that pace is.

Caveats to the Research:  Dieli-Conwright, who has studied exercise’s effect on cancer patients, says it’s not only about how fast you walk or have always walked but if your walking speed changes. “As soon as individuals start to have a decline in gait speed, it’s a strong indicator that they’re losing physical function and they’re losing overall health,” she says. “Even if they’re a fast walker and they experience a decline in gait speed, that’s going to have an effect on their health outcomes.”

Rao also notes that a slow walking speed doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not fit, but it’s a good idea to take your speed as a signal that you need to amp up your exercise routine.

The reverse is also true: Being a fast walker doesn’t mean you’re in perfect health, and a fast walker could still have high blood pressure. “It’s not enough to walk fast,” says Rao. “My fear is that people will say, ‘I walk fast, therefore I don’t need to exercise,’ and that’s not true.

Rather, consider walking speed one indicator of your health — but not the only one. “Just like anything, it’s only one piece of data,” says Rao.

Masks Required Again at PFTL


This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) announced updated masking recommendations to protect against COVID-19 and the Delta variant. These announcements were in response to surges in COVID-19 cases. Additionally, the CDC presented data showing that the Delta variant is more contagious compared to other strains and is causing some breakthrough infections in vaccinated persons.

The CDC, IDPH and CCDPH recommend universal masking in public indoor settings for:

·    Everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, in areas with substantial and high transmission. On Thursday, Cook County was added to the list of areas with ‘substantial’ community transmission. 

·    All teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status 

·    Immunocompromised individuals 

·    Households that are at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19 

·    Individuals not fully vaccinated – To find a vaccination clinic, please visit the IDPH website. 

On Friday afternoon, the Cook County Department of Public Health announced that they were updating their guidance to be consistent with the CDC’s recommendation that everyone should be masked indoors and in a public setting. 

In alignment with the masking recommendations, clients, trainers and others are required to wear a mask to enter our studio, regardless of their vaccination status.

I know this is not welcome news for anyone, but the safety of our clients and trainers is our primary concern.

PFTL NEWS July 2021


As of June 16, we have made masks optional for vaccinated people. We have asked all who enter the studio to sign a statement indicating if they are fully vaccinated. Once the statement is signed, that person can enter the studio without a mask whenever they have an appointment.

Unvaccinated people will still need to wear a mask. Of course, anyone can wear a mask if they want.  Additionally,

  • We will continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC, state, county, and local government.
  • We are still limiting our attendance to 3 trainers and 3 clients maximum at any time, so distancing can be maintained.  Some time slots are less busy.
  • If anyone is uncomfortable being indoors with others who are unmasked, we can offer them “in-home” training or they can ask their trainer to schedule them during a studio time that is quieter. 
  • Trainers will continue to wipe down equipment and other touchable surfaces when possible.
  • We will still provide wipes and hand sanitizers throughout the studio. It is advised that clients wipe their hands upon entering and leaving the studio.

If you have any questions, please contact Debora at (847) 722-2115 or [email protected]


When you have the choice of a comfy couch or cozy recliner chair, odds are you’re not thinking about popping a squat on a hard floor. But, believe it or not, the simple act of sitting on the ground can help you live longer and stronger.

Indeed, July 2014 research in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that the ability to get up from the floor is a significant predictor of longevity in people ages 51 to 80. In the study, those who had the hardest time with the task were five to six times more likely to die during the researchers’ follow-up period than those who could sit and stand with ease. While the study is on the older side, more recent research, including a May 2020 study in the same journal, backs up the link.

That’s because how well you can move from standing to sitting and vice versa is a reflection of your overall health, fitness and function, says Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, a New York City-based spinal and orthopedic surgeon.

Having more and more trouble getting down onto and up off of the floor? Here’s the silver lining: Sitting on the floor is also a simple, effective way to maintain strength, function and vitality as you age.

Fortunately, you don’t need to shun the chair for every activity. But spending some time on the floor each day can benefit your health. Here, Dr. Okubadejo shares all the pluses of plopping down on the ground.

1. Better Balance, Stability and Coordination – Getting onto and back off of the floor recruits your balance, stability and total-body coordination, Dr. Okubadejo says. So, the more you do it, the better your balance will be. This is especially important as you get older because it help reduce your risk for falls and resulting fractures.

2. Greater Mobility – Moving into a floor-seated position engages the muscles surrounding multiple joints and body parts such as your shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and feet, Dr. Okubadejo says. Thus, a daily practice of sitting on the floor can help improve your mobility.

That refers to your ability to move through your joints’ full range of motion, which is critical to being able to move through life like you want to. It can also help you stay injury- and pain-free as you age.

3. A Strong Core and Legs – Sitting on the floor can help you build a sturdier core and legs. Here’s why: “The core must be engaged when pulling the body up from the ground, so getting up and sitting back down multiple times can lead to maximal core engagement,” Dr. Okubadejo explains.

Plus, “rising from the floor forces people to perform a similar motion to a squat,” he says. So, when you regularly sit on the ground, you’re essentially doing several reps of the lower-body exercise throughout the day.

4. Healthier Posture – Sitting on the floor can help promote good posture. That’s because when you move from a standing position to seated (and back again) your joints must be aligned to maintain balance, Dr. Okubadejo. Proper body alignment relates to how your head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles stack up with each other, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

What’s more, floor sitting encourages you to sit more upright instead of hunching your back — another factor for healthy aging. (Many of us sit too often and in less-than-ideal chairs, which doesn’t bode well for posture.)

How to Sit on the Floor for Healthy Aging

While sitting on the floor can support good health as you age, you have to do it correctly to reap the full benefits. Here, Dr. Okubadejo explains how best to sit on the floor.

Avoid slouching. When your back is in a curved position, it can put extra strain on your spinal discs and vertebrae, he says. Instead, sit with your torso tall and straight. Gently squeeze your shoulder blades down and together.

Sit on a small pillow or towel. This can ease any tailbone discomfort, he says. Plus, it can also place your pelvis in better alignment with your spine.

Move your legs. Any position can become a problem when you hang out in it too long. Try sitting cross-legged, with your legs straight out in front of you or with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.

DEBORA’S RECOMMENDATION: Sit on the floor and stand up 5-10 times per day.

PFTL News June 2021 (continued)


Years ago, the only athletic shoes we wore were “gym shoes” bought for gym class, usually Keds (remember those?).  Since the 60’s athletic shoes have evolved to include specialized shoes for specific sports (basketball, football, golf, tennis, running, etc.)  Running and walking shoes became popular for anyone who wanted to spend time running, jogging, or walking.

While shoe technology has unquestionably made athletic shoes better over the years, not all innovations may be the best for certain populations, depending on usage.

Since most of our clients are regular walkers, I will limit my remarks to walking shoes.

What is the best shoe for you? – that depends on several factors.

  1. Your gait  – speed, balance, coordination,
  2. Your anatomy – foot, knee, hip or back issues

In general, walking shoes should be lightweight, flexible enough to allow the foot to move easily from heel to toe, and have just enough cushioning to soften impact. 

Gait:  if you have balance or coordination issues, your walking shoe should not be overly cushioned, as you will not be able to feel the ground with each step.  If you are a slow walker, it is important that you can feel the ground to avoid tripping.  Also, so-called “memory soles” tend to mold incorrect walking patterns.

If you walk very briskly 4+ miles per hour, a moderate running shoe might be better than a walking shoe.

Anatomy:  If you have foot issues (e.g. pronation, supination, bunions, hammer toes), look for specific shoes that address the issue.  For example, some shoes have built-in foot bridges for pronation, wider foot beds might accommodate bunions, a more curved shape might be better for high arches, while a straighter shape might be better for fallen arches.

If you have knee or hip issues, look for less cushioned shoes.

Almost all the major shoe manufacturers have a variety of styles that will feel right for you.  Take your time when buying shoes. Try on shoes before buying them. Walk around in the store for at least 30 minutes.  If the shoes do not feel comfortable, do not buy them.  Shoes should not have to be “broken in”, they should fit correctly in the store.

There are trends that come and go.  Do not always believe the hype about new kinds of shoes, especially overly cushioned ones. Your body will tell you if the shoe is right for you.

PFTL News June 2021


CLIENT SURVEY RESULTS –   Clients were asked to respond to the following questions:

1. Do you feel PFTL should require masks for vaccinated trainers and clients?

            YES- 33%     NO- 63%     Undecided –3%

2.  Do you feel we should ask for proof of vaccination?

            YES- 57%    NO – 27%     Undecided – 17%

3.  Do you believe we should continue wiping down all touchable surfaces?

            YES – 60%         NO- 23%       Undecided – 17%


  1. We will keep the mask requirement until June 15.  Staring on June 16, we will ask all who enter the studio to sign a statement indicating if they are fully vaccinated or not. A vax card would be appreciated, but not required.

If they attest to being vaccinated, they will not be required to wear a mask.  If they are not vaccinated, they will still need to wear a mask. Of course, anyone can wear a mask if they want.

a. We will continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC, state, county, and local government.

b. We are still limiting our attendance to 3 trainers and 3 clients maximum at any time, so distancing can be maintained.  Some time slots are less busy.

c. We understand that each of our clients’ situations are unique.  Therefore, if anyone is uncomfortable being indoors with others who are unmasked, we can offer them “in home” training or they can ask their trainer to schedule them during a studio time that is quieter. 

d. Unvaccinated clients may need to be rescheduled for the comfort level of those clients who will not feel safe being around unvaccinated people.

  1. Trainers will continue to wipe down equipment and other touchable surfaces when possible.
  1. We will still provide wipes and hand sanitizers throughout the studio. It is advised that clients wipe their hands upon entering and leaving the studio.
  1. We have reinstalled the water cooler but will continue to provide bottled water for a while for those who want them.

If you have any questions, please contact Debora at( 847) 722-2115 or [email protected]