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]

Mask Wearing at PFTL Studio

Thursday, the CDC announced that “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

After wearing masks for a year, this is welcome news for those who are fully vaccinated; however, Personal Fitness Training, Ltd. still requires masks to be worn in our studio. We will still be following distancing where possible, temperatures at the entrance, and wiping down touchable services.

As soon as we  receive revised executive orders from the State of Illinois and corresponding guidelines from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Illinois and Cook County Departments of Public Health, policy adjustments may be made. When and if adjustments are made, all clients will be notified.

PFTL News May 2021


What a beautiful spring this is so far.  Every blooming tree and bush are spectacular this year. Hope you have had a chance to get outside and walk through your neighborhoods.  Meanwhile, at the PFTL studio:

Masks and the Vaccine:  we are currently discussing a safe way to allow clients to train at the studio without wearing masks.  This would not happen until probably July when most everyone will have been vaccinated. We may be requesting proof of having been vaccinated before this will be allowed.  In the meantime, masks are still required for entry to the studio.

UNEXPECTED THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU ABANDON YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE (Excerpted from newsletter April 30, 2021 Author: Linda Melone)

It happens to the best of us: You get injured, find yourself working around the clock or are otherwise forced to put exercise on the back burner for a while.

But a day or two can easily stretch into weeks or even months, and you’re right back to square one. In technical terms, you’ve become “deconditioned.” How quickly your fitness level declines depends on several factors, and some of the things that occur when you stop exercising may surprise you.

1. Cardiovascular Fitness Starts to Decline After One Week – Aerobic fitness is defined as the ability of your body to transport and use oxygen from your blood in your muscles. The measurement of this, also known as VO2 max, decreases after just one week of inactivity.

2. Side Effects Are Less If You’re a Seasoned Exerciser – If you’re new to fitness and recently started working out (less than six months), you’ll lose fitness faster than someone who’s been exercising a year or longer.

3. Flexibility Loss Occurs Quickly – You lose the benefits of flexibility quickly if you take any substantial time off from stretching, says Michele Olson, PhD.  “After a bout of flexibility exercise, the muscles and tendons begin to retract to their typical resting length — particularly if you sit during your commute regularly and/or sit at a desk at your job.”

Olson notes that you’ll notice a loss of flexibility in as few as three days, with even more pronounced changes occurring at the two-week mark. “Stretching should be done at least three times a week — if not daily,” she says.

4. Strength Starts to Diminish After Two Weeks – When you quit strength training, changes in your muscles begin to occur within days, says Olson. “Muscle, when not receiving its regular challenge, will start to lose protein, which is absorbed into your circulation and excreted via urination. Small but meaningful loss in muscle protein (the building block of the contractile units for each muscle fiber) can begin to occur in 72 hours.”

Noticeable changes when attempting to lift your usual amount of weight show up in two to three weeks, says Olson. And as with cardiovascular fitness, long-term exercisers will see a slower muscle loss than those new to exercise, says Dr. Thomas.

5. You Lose Power Faster Than You Lose Strength – Power, defined as strength times distance over a period of time (e.g., how quickly you can hoist a weight or dash across the street to make the light), fades faster than strength, says Weis. “Strength losses first occur due to a change in the nerve’s impulses to muscle fibers, shortly followed by actual muscle wasting.”

During muscle wasting, protein breaks down at a faster rate and protein synthesis (building) drops. The time it takes for you to return to your original fitness level depends on the reason you stopped exercising in the first place — whether due to illness or simply lack of time.

6. Fitness Levels Decline Faster When You’re Sick – Someone who’s healthy and takes a break from exercise loses muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness more slowly than a person who stops exercising due to an illness or injury. The latter will lose fitness levels twice as fast, says Dr. Thomas.

The stress of an illness or injury takes a greater toll on the body than simply taking a break when you’re healthy. Whether you’re an athlete or recreational exerciser, if you’ve taken a few weeks off from your routine, your level of deconditioning will be pretty low, says Weis. “If you are recovering from a fracture, surgery or have been on bed rest, it can take up to and longer than 12 to 24 months to fully recover.”

7. Maintenance Is Easier Than You Think – If you’re planning to take time off from your workout routine, keep in mind that staying in shape isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. In fact, you can maintain your fitness levels in a surprisingly small amount of time, says Dr. Thomas.

“In order to maintain both aerobic and strength levels, you need just 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) twice a week.” However, Dr. Thomas adds the caveat that the work effort must be truly high-intensity — between 80 and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.

8. Aging Affects Fitness Loss – You lose strength and overall fitness twice as quickly as you age, says Dr. Thomas. “It’s largely due to hormone levels. As we age, we have lower levels of human growth hormone (HGH), which makes it harder to recover.”

We also lose our ability to handle stress and recover from the resulting stress hormones, such as cortisol. As we get older, this same mechanism results in greater fatigue after a workout. Older athletes take longer to recover from workouts in general, according to several studies, including a February 2008 article published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.

9. It Takes Three Weeks to Gain Back One Week Off – After a period of lying around, your nervous system loses its ability to fire up as it did before you took time off, says Irv Rubenstein, PhD, exercise physiologist. That’s due to the fact that you lose the neural stimuli that enables you to lift heavy objects with the same amount of effort.

“When you return to lifting, you may be able to lift the same weights, but you will be working above your normal capacity, which could put tissue at risk. It will take a greater effort to do what you used to do and will require more rest between sets and days in order to recover. “


(Editor’s Note:  It’s not too late to get back into a fitness routine…let the trainers at PFTL help you.  We can train you virtually, outdoors, at the studio or at your home.)

PFTL News April 2021

We hope everyone is faring well and looking forward to some nice spring weather. A couple of things are on the horizon:

Masks and the Vaccine:  we are currently discussing a safe way to allow clients to train at the studio without wearing masks.  This would not happen until probably July when most everyone will have been vaccinated. We may be requesting proof of having been vaccinated before this will be allowed.  In the meantime, masks are still required for entry to the studio.

Walking Clinic: we will once again be offering our free walking clinic, starting in June (social distancing will be observed).  Notices will be sent to former participants, and new participants are always welcome.

STRETCHING (excerpted from IDEA Fitness Journal)

When it comes to physical fitness, many of us focus on improving our endurance, strength and cardio capacity, and tend to put limbering up on the backburner.

So how bad is it really to skip stretching altogether? Stretching is the basis for flexibility, so if you want to enhance it, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) says those side bends are essential. Not to mention, flexibility is a core component of physical fitness.

What Happens When You Stretch a Muscle – Whether you’re doing a spinal twist, hip opener or side bend, stretching helps your body move more freely. After about 7 to 10 seconds of stretching, your muscle will release some tension, at which point the spindles — long lengths of tissue within each muscle — extend, enhancing your range of motion.

In the short term, the increased range of motion will last for 10 to 20 minutes after you finish stretching. But if you stretch regularly, then over time you will grow your overall range of motion. “This allows you to move effectively and properly in daily life.

What can happen if you don’t stretch?

You Can Develop a Rounded Upper Back – Folks who never stretch are more likely to eventually take on a hunchback appearance. If you are not maintaining your flexibility, it can lead to poor posture. Gravity will hunch you forward — your shoulders will round and your chin will stick forward.

And improper alignment not only leads to issues like lower back and neck pain, but it can also cramp your lifestyle as you age. “As your posture gets progressively poorer, it impacts your ability to perform normal activities of daily living.

While skipping stretch sessions probably won’t have much of an impact when you’re in your 20s, your flexibility declines each decade thereafter. Stretching resets our posture and is one of the ways to combat the negative adaptations associated with aging.

You’re More Likely to Get Hurt – The primary reason flexibility declines with time? The content of H2O in your body decreases as you age. As a result, not only will you feel stiff instead of supple — but you are also more injury-prone.

A lower concentration of water within your muscle, ligament and tendon cells can lead to tears and injury. Case in point: When your tendons aren’t as spongy, it’s easier for them to pop under strain. And as the discs cushioning the vertebrae in your lumbar spine (lower back) become friable, they can cause pain.

With many Americans leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles, this becomes more of a concern. A June 2017 study in the ​Saudi Journal of Sports Medicine​ found that the longer students spent sitting, the more contracted their hamstrings were. Since joint mobility is also a driver of balance, people with tight muscles are at a greater risk of falling.

In addition, neglecting to stretch before working out may lead to sports injuries. A ‘cold’ muscle will fatigue faster, which puts extra strain on the fibers around each muscle group and the tendons and ligaments attached to those muscles.

It’s also a good idea to stretch after exercise. You run the risk of feeling sore if you don’t allow your muscle fibers to recover gradually [via stretching]. You can damage your muscle cells, leading to bursitis or tendonitis.

You Might Not Be as Fast or Strong – Increased flexibility can improve strength, endurance and sport-specific training, according to the ACE. If your muscles are too tight, then you might not be able to activate the fibers necessary for explosive movements, the ACE says.

It’s kind of like a rubber band; pulling the muscle back and then releasing it allows it to fly forward with greater speed. Stretching a muscle to its maximum length gives it more energy to contract, leading to increased force, agility and a faster reaction time.

Stretching also boosts circulation. “When you stretch, you bring blood back into the muscles. That’s important because when you activate a muscle, blood needs to come into the muscle to help facilitate that movement.

So, How Bad Is It Really to Never Stretch? – It depends on what activities you do. If you play tennis, tight muscles put you at risk of a ligament or tendon injury. In terms of your general lifestyle, it might make you feel less stiff when sitting at your desk or riding in the car for long periods of time.

Age is also a factor. If you’re in your 20s, not stretching might not present any issues at the moment, but I’m a strong proponent of thinking about what you want the back half of your life to look like. Eventually, you will see the cumulative effect of decades of not stretching — and it is much more challenging to increase your flexibility when you are in your 70s.”




PFTL is pleased to offer a 60-minute webinar where you will hear from Mountaineer Martin Pazzani who discovered that walking up hills – hiking – might just be the Fountain of Youth and the pathway to a much longer, happier and healthier life.

Trainers Debora Morris and Susan Thomson will follow his presentation with tips on how to prepare for extended walks/hikes and how to overcome the most common reasons for not hiking.

There is no charge for this webinar. Registration is required.  Click to register below.