PFTL News May 2022

PFTL NEWS – Nothing New – Masks Still Required

We are still requiring masks for all those who enter the studio.  We want to ensure that our studio is a safe place to come and exercise.  We know that exercising with a mask is not fun, but it is a good practice for the time being.  Contagion is increasing in our village and the immediate area, so we are watching the situation carefully.  We always want clients and trainers to feel that our studio is a safe and healthy environment and will do all we can to maintain that.


Stretching requires temporary lengthening of your muscle fibers. It is best to partake in flexibility training after a light warmup; this allows increased blood flow to the muscles which in turn increases mobility. Take a minute to imagine your muscles as a rubber band – a cold and brittle rubber band will snap, whereas a rubber band that is warm and flexible will stretch and return to its original shape. You should always warm up before you stretch in order to avoid injury.

Stretch Physiology – Muscles have a unique characteristic known as elasticity that allows for the ability to lengthen and contract. The physical makeup of your muscles is what allows for length changes without injury. The largest unit of your muscle is known as a fascicle. Fascicles are made up of a large number of smaller components known as myofibrils, according to “Skeletal Muscle Circulation.” Each myofibril is composed of bands called sarcomeres. Sarcomeres are further made up of overlapping thick and thin fibers known as myofilaments. During the stretching phase of your muscle there is a decrease in the amount of overlap experienced at the myofilament level – this allows your muscle fibers to lengthen. Conversely, increased overlap of the myofilaments creates a muscular contraction.

Warm Up – Referring back the rubber band analogy, warming up your muscles is of utmost importance in regards to avoiding injury. You should engage in a light cardiovascular warm-up of approximately five to 10 minutes of moderate walking, light jogging or cycling prior to stretching. This allows for increased blood flow to the active area. Heat is a byproduct of the work generated by your muscles. When your muscles are warm they are more elastic.

Static Stretching – Static Stretching is​ holding your body in the same position for a set time to elongate the muscle. Static stretching​ is best after exercise or in its own flexibility-focused session, While the verdict is still out about whether static stretching before exercise decreases performance, some research suggests it does. An October 2018 report in ​Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal​ found that static stretching may limit strength, maximum force, running velocity, balance or sprint performance in athletes.

Dynamic Stretching – Dynamic stretching is an active stretch involving a series of controlled swings, kicks and rolls. These motions occur around the joint and work to increase range of motion. Dynamic stretching mimics more functional motions and can improve a joint’s flexibility in multiple directions. Because dynamic stretching requires movement of your muscles, blood flow to the active area is increased keeping that muscle group warm and elastic. You should stretch only to the point of gentle discomfort, stretching to the point of pain could cause injury. Examples of dynamic stretching include arm circles, arm swings, leg kicks and hip rolls.

Participation Recommendation – Flexibility tends to decrease with age. A significant decrease in flexibility could diminish your ability to bend over to tie your shoes, stand upright or maintain your balance. To maintain or improve your flexibility you should engage in flexibility training a minimum of two to three days per week, always after a brief warm up or at the conclusion of your fitness routine. Each stretch, static or dynamic should be performed two to four times for a period up to 60 seconds per stretch.

Editor’s Note: You will also get benefit from holding a static stretch for 15-30sec, hold for 60 only if it feels good.  


Beyond burning calories, researchers at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, have identified another way that working up a sweat could improve health: Exercise can put the brakes on hedonic eating.

Hedonic eating is the tendency to consume foods for psychological pleasure and in the absence of physical hunger or the actual need for calories. In a market saturated with hyperpalatable foods, this is thought to be a big reason why people overeat.

In a paper in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the authors reported that women classified as “stress eaters” took part in fewer overeating episodes, were less likely to give in to food temptations and ate in response to internal cues when they took part in a 3-month moderate- intensity exercise program (200 minutes each week). This is compared with their peers who were randomly assigned to a no-exercise control group. The simple act of physical activity may make people more mindful of their unhealthy eating patterns.


Smartphone scrollers, beware: Stuffing in food while doing something perceptually demanding makes it more difficult to notice when you feel full, potentially leading to overeating. As reported in Appetite, 120 adults consumed either a low- or high-satiety drink (75 calories vs. 272 kcal with a thicker texture) while simultaneously completing a task that was either low or high in perceptual demand. Participants who received the high-satiety drink and were assigned the task with low perceptual load felt more satiated and ate 45% less of a snack offered to them afterward.

On the flipside, participants whose senses were taken up by a highly engaging task were less able to tell when they felt full and ate more of the snacks offered to them.

The researchers concluded that a person’s ability to notice when the body feels full depends on how much available attention remains in the brain. When our attention is placed on a video game, an engrossing thriller or a social media feed, our brains have less capacity to register fullness. The takeaway? Keep your attention on what’s on your plate, not what’s on a screen, to keep daily calorie intake in check.


It turns out working crimini, shiitake and other mushrooms into your soups, pasta dishes and meat sauces more often may help you feel better physically and emotionally. The conclusion of a study in the Journal of Affective Disorders—using data on diet and mental health from 24,699 adults—was that mushroom consumption is associated with lower odds of depression, even after considering major risk factors for the condition, sociodemographics, self-reported diseases, medications and other dietary factors.

The researchers from Penn State College of Medicine believe that the high amounts of an amino acid called ergothioneine present in a variety of mushroom types could lower oxidative stress and tissue damage in the brain, which may reduce symptoms of depression. What this research could not determine is the effectiveness of certain types of mushrooms for depression or boosting mood and how much someone needs to eat to experience a benefit.

PFTL News April 2022

Masks Still Required

We are still requiring masks for all those who enter the PFTL studio.  We want to ensure that our studio is a safe place to come and exercise.  We know that exercising with a mask is not fun, but it is a good practice for the time being.  Contagion is increasing in our village and the immediate area, so we are watching the situation carefullly.  We always want clients and trainers to feel that our studio is a safe and healthy environment and will do all we can to maintain that.

THE HIDDEN VICTIM OF THE PANDEMIC – Your Hips  (Excerpted from ACE Insights March 2022)

We constantly hear that core strength is fundamental to athletic performance, reducing injury risk and living a healthy life. But what most people don’t realize is that the psoas and iliacus muscles are also considered muscles of the core. Like the other muscles that make up the core, if the muscles that act at your hips are not in good health, you’ll soon know about it.

Back pain, knee pain, shin splints, IT band friction syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and all sorts of other aches and pains often stem from the hips. 

It’s the muscles around your hips that support your torso and pelvis, creating a strong foundation for your limbs to move from. When these muscles (primarily the psoas, iliacus and the gluteus maximus) are not in good shape, you don’t have the strong foundation you need, which means that other parts of the body have to pick up the slack. When these other muscles do too much compensating, overuse or repetitive stress injuries can soon result.

By strengthening the muscles around your hips, not only can you ease injury risk, but it also improves your athleticism. Building strong glute muscles and strengthening and stretching your hip flexors helps you transfer force through the upper and lower body, so you can move more powerfully.

Ask Bryce Hastings, physiotherapist and Les Mills Head of Research, about the most beneficial stretches and he says, for many, focusing on your hip flexors is hard to beat. “We only have 10-15 degrees of extension available at the hip (where the thigh moves behind the body) and we use all of this mobility every time we take a step. Compare this to the hamstrings, which normally allow 90 degrees of hip flexion, of which we only use around 30 degrees when we walk or run. Therefore, losing 10 degrees of hamstring length is generally O.K., whereas losing 10 degrees of psoas length is a real problem. Any shortening of this muscle shunts movement that should occur at the hip into the lower back during each step, and that’s a disaster.”

If you have tight hips, you have less mobility, which can make even the simplest movements—like walking or pushing a stroller—painful. Tight hips can also lead to a tilted pelvis, which affects both your posture and your head and neck alignment. Poor posture is linked to stress and depression, while neck alignment issues can lead to headaches.

Post-pandemic Hip Health is More Important Than Ever – While we know the perils of too much sitting, for many, pandemic-induced restrictions have meant we’re spending more time than ever at home working and sitting on our bottoms. A recent study identified prolonged sitting as one of the key causes of pain and discomfort caused by limited hip extension. Your hips are contracted whenever you’re sitting, and your hip flexors (the large powerful muscles at the front of the hip) are in a shortened position. In as little as 30 minutes, this tightening of the muscles can become problematic. You experience a loss of elasticity in the muscles, and as you age, this can become more pronounced, and the muscles become less pliable.

Signs You Need to Stretch Your Hips

  • Sitting for any more than four hours a day
  • Lower back or knee pain
  • Any pinching or pain in your hips
  • A feeling of being restricted when you move
  • If you struggle to touch your toes.


For years, people have raised concerns about the risks of physical activity on joints; however, study after study shows that the benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for most people—even for frail, elderly individuals. New research adds to our understanding of the limited risks of physical activity and its connection to osteoarthritis.

Researchers from England’s University of Southampton and University of Oxford conducted a study to evaluate risks of developing knee osteoarthritis from physical activity. They examined data from six global community-based studies that included more than 5,000 participants who they followed for 5–12 years.

Data analysis showed that neither the amount of energy expenditure of physical activity nor weekly hours spent training were associated with increased risk of developing knee OA. This is good news for clients who may be concerned that being active may increase knee arthritis risks.

The research is reported in Arthritis & Rheumatology (2021; doi:10.1002/art.42001).


Your body produces what it needs to reduce inflammation.

A new study offers insight into why exercise reduces chronic inflammation, as reported in Gut Microbes (2021; 13 [1], e1997559).

University of Nottingham, England, researchers conducted the study using data from a 6-week exercise intervention involving a group of 78 people with arthritis. Roughly half of the participants engaged in a 15-minute daily exercise program for the study period and half did not. After the study period, only those who exercised had reduced pain and increased gut microbes that produced substances that helped with chronic inflammation and increased the body’s endocannabinoids.

“Our study clearly shows that exercise increases the body’s own cannabis-type substances, which can have a positive impact on many conditions,” said lead study author Amrita Vijay, PhD, research fellow in the School of Medicine. “As interest in cannabidiol oil and other supplements increases, it is important to know that simple lifestyle interventions like exercise can modulate endocannabinoids.”


Effective starting this Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20, masks will be optional on weekends, as follows:

Saturdays – after 2pm

Sundays – all day

We will also allow “Open Gym” for current clients on these days and time. The Sign-up Sheet is on the post by the entrance.

We are still requiring masks during the week, as there is a physical therapy practice on site and the State still requires masks for this type of medical practice. As the numbers of new infections continue to decrease, we are hoping the State will relax the mask requirement for physical therapy locations.

PFTL Group Idea


The Wilmette Golf Club is celebrating its 100th Anniversary on Saturday March 12th at the Golf Club. They are calling it a “St. Pathy’s Stroll” as they are showing off their new golf cart path and inviting people to walk or run the 4+ mile path.

We thought it might be fun to have a group from PFTL go and walk the new path, as well as participate in the other activities that will be going on that day.

If you are interested in joining the PFTL group, come meet us at the front entrance of the clubhouse (by the parking lot) at 11:30am.  I have registered for a group of 10.  Let us know if you plan to be there and I can register for additional people if necessary.

For more information and/or to register separately, go to:

Mask Update for PFTL

Many businesses are making masks optional as of Monday, February 28. We, however, will still be requiring masks for the time being. If contagion levels remain low even after optional masking is practiced in the area, then we will make masks optional.

New strains of Covid are ever-present, and in the past, infection numbers have risen in areas where masks were not required. Hopefully, this will not be the case this time.

Please be patient in order to be safe. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Hopefully yours,


PFTL News February 2022

PFTL Update

Masks Still Required

We are still requiring masks and vaccination verification for all those who enter the studio.  We want to ensure that our studio is a safe place to come and exercise.  We know that exercising with a mask is not fun, but it is a good practice for the time being.  Contagion is decreasing in our village and the immediate area, but we will always be more conservative than some other businesses.  We truly want clients and trainers to feel that our studio is a safe and healthy environment and will do all we can to maintain that.

IMPROVING JOINT MOBILITY     (Excerpt from July 2020)

Stretching and strength training are good for your muscles and cardio is good for your heart, but what about your joints? Unlike muscles, joints have no direct blood supply, so they rely on movement to keep them functioning properly.

“If there’s no motion in the joint it will degenerate — that’s a law,” says Robert Bates, DC, a chiropractor and preventive care specialist in Manhattan Beach, California. Joints rely on synovial fluid to “wash” away waste products that build up and compromise the integrity of the joint, he says.

Why Is Joint Mobility Important?

daily joint-mobility routine can keep your joints healthy and prevent stiffness and muscle imbalances. It can also restore lost range of motion, making exercise more enjoyable, enhancing your athletic performance and protecting you from common aches and pains.

A single faulty joint affects the body as a whole, as the individual parts of the human body are meant to work synergistically, not independently. As long as there’s not permanent damage in the joint, you can regain lost ranges of motion through preventive care, Bates says.

Additionally, joints that are able to move through their full range of motion allow connecting muscles to completely contract and expand, which gives muscles more strength and power and prevents injury.

Here are some examples of exercises you can do daily to maintain joint mobility in shoulders, hips and ankles.  If you are not clear oh how to do these, ask your trainer to show you.

Backstroke for shoulders

  1. Standing with your arms straight and elbows locked (but not hyperextended), lift one arm straight out in front of you and slowly circle it backward. Avoid rotating the torso as you do so.
  2. Keep your hips squared forward and biceps close to your ear at the top of the movement without allowing your shoulders to shrug.
  3. Repeat on the other side and keep alternating in a fluid motion for 10 to 20 reps per side.

The ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the human body, but due to improper posture, motion can deteriorate over time.

“Ergonomics is not enough. You must get the movement in the joints,” says Bates, who recommends practicing proper posture in the workplace and taking breaks to get your joints moving as well as keeping them hydrated.

Pelvic circles for Hip Joints

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips.
  2. Keep your feet planted and core engaged as you move your hips in a circular motion.
  3. Repeat 5 to 10 times in each direction.

“Every time you land, something has to absorb the shock,” Nelson says. “The muscles, tendons and ligaments aren’t designed to do it all.” A stiff spine and tight hips means the impact is going to be translated to the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

“Over time, it leads to sprains, strains, knee and low-back pain,” she says. So keep your lumbar spinal discs and hip sockets lubricated with pelvic circles.

Ankle Rolls

  1. Stand or sit and lift one heel off the ground.
  2. Flex your foot, brining your toes toward your shin.
  3. Circle the ankle around and point your toes for full extension at the bottom of the movement before circling around to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 5 to 10 reps in each direction on both legs.

Mobilizing your ankles may be just what you need in order to let go of nagging running injuries and finally ditch that knee brace for good.

“The epidemic of plantar fasciitis and fallen arches is a result of the foot bones destabilizing in order to compensate for the ankle being incapable of absorbing and retranslating force,” Sonnon says.

Ankle rolls restore movement to the joint and, as a result, re-stabilize knee alignment and helps prevent arches from falling, resolving pain from plantar fasciitis, he says.