Improve Balance and Prevent Falls


Beginning Friday, September 9 at 2pm, we will be offering a new small group class (min. 4 and max 5 participants).  It will run for 6-weeks and cost $150 for the 6-weeks.  The focus will be on improving balance, coordination, core control and agility.  All these areas are important for fall prevention.  For NEW clients, we will perform a modified fitness assessment ($30), and all participants will be tested for balance prior to the first class. If there are more than 5 participants, but at least 8 we will consider adding an additional class. First-come, first-served…call Debora for more information and to register (847-722-2115).

PFTL NEWS March 2021



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.


We are offering TWO FREE VIRTUAL SESSIONS FOR FORMER IN-HOME OR STUDIO CLIENTS. Contact Debora at (847) 722 -2115, if you are interested.


  • 2-hour Comprehensive Fitness Assessment at no cost ($80 value).
  • 20% discount on first two IN-HOME OR STUDIO  training sessions (Regular $90 studio, $100 in-home)


OUCH! WHAT CAUSES MUSCLES TO CRAMP (Excerpts from article by Rogelio Realzola, M.S. and Len Kravitz, Ph.D.)

Muscles cramps are abrupt, harsh, involuntary muscle contractions that can cause mild-to-severe agony and immobility (Minetto et al.,2013). Minetto and colleagues add that muscle cramps usually self-extinguish within seconds to minutes but may be accompanied with a knotting of the affected muscle. They occur in healthy people during exercise, sleep, pregnancy or after vigorous physical exertion. There is no gender difference with skeletal muscle cramps. However, they appear to occur more frequently with endurance athletes and in the elderly (Giuriato et al., 2018). According to Giuriato, the occurrence rate of muscle cramping is 50-60% in a healthy population. During endurance exercise, muscle cramps are correlated with long duration workouts, as well as harder workout intensities. While they are widely discussed by fitness pros, until recently, little has been known about the actual physiology of cramps.

Types of Muscle Cramps – Muscle cramps are multifactorial that Giuriato and colleagues (2018) have categorized into three groups: (1) nocturnal cramps, which occur during sleep without any clear causal mechanism; (2) pathological cramps, which are a consequence of having diabetes, nerve dysfunctions, or metabolic disorders in the body; (3) exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMC), the muscle cramps that occur while exercising or post-exercise.

What are the Risk Factors Associated with Muscle Cramps? – With marathon runners, Schwellnus et al. (1997) summarize research that shows certain risk factors are more associated with the occurrence of a muscle cramp. These risks include a longer history of running (i.e., running years), older chronological age of the individual, higher body mass index, shorter daily stretching time, irregular stretching habits and a positive family history of cramping. With marathon runners, Schwellnus summarize that the two most important observations from the research are that EAMC are associated with longer running conditions (which lead to muscle fatigue), and poor stretching habits.

Early Theories of the Causes of EAMC – These include electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, and increase in body temperature due to hot, humid environments.  Studies have shown that there is no direct correlation between these causes and exercise-associated muscle cramps.

Current Theory on the Cause of Muscle Cramps – The newest concept of muscle cramps is a neuromuscular theory (Giuriato et al., 2018). Currently, this theory has evolved to have two different origins: a central (i.e., spinal column) and a peripheral (i.e., neuromuscular junction) origin.

Cautions to Protect Against Cramps from Occurring – It is clear that intense, extremely long duration workouts (for the level of fitness of the exerciser) leads to more skeletal muscle cramps. As well, lack of training and/or training in a hot, humid environment predisposes a person to muscle fatigue and possible muscle cramping. Research also shows there is a greater incidence of muscle cramps with the elderly, a phenomenon which needs more research, but important for fitness pros to be aware. Although the research shows that poor or inadequate stretching may predispose a person to muscle cramps, we do not have an evidence-based recommendation for what type of stretches and how much stretching should be done to reduce cramps.

Take Home Messages and Muscle Cramp Reflections – From a health perspective, the results of this new research show that we no longer have the evidence to state that a cramp is due to electrolyte imbalances or water depletion in muscle. Further, recommending particular supplements in the hopes that it impedes cramps also appears not to be rooted in any current literature. Performing too intense and/or long-duration workouts when not properly prepared to do is, should be avoided. Proper stretching exercises, particularly of the limbs is also essentiaL

PFTL News February 2021


The clients who  have returned to the studio have reported that they feel very safe in the space. We will continue to monitor all people who enter the studio, require masks and wipe down all surfaces constantly.

Several clients have opted for virtual training.  This can be done easily using Zoom or Facetime.  If you want to get back into a fitness routine, this is a good way to do this while in your own home. Let us know if you would like to train virtually (no mask required)..

We are offering TWO FREE VIRTUAL SESSIONS FOR FORMER IN-HOME OR STUDIO CLIENTS. Contact Debora at (847) 722 -2115, if you are interested.

We are aware that several clients would like to return, but do not feel comfortable wearing masks while exercising.  I hope we can relax this requirement sometime in the future, however, it is too early to do that yet. 


  1. 2-hour Comprehensive Fitness Assessment at no cost (an $80 value).
  2. 20% discount on first two IN-HOME OR STUDIO  training sessions (Regular $90 studio, $100 in-home)



TRAIN YOUR FEET  ( from IDEA Fitness Journal, January 2021)

Making your feet more functional can help the rest of your body.

Do you know how critical healthy feet are to a successful training program? Your feet and ankles make up your body’s foundation and act as “shock absorbers” when your body interacts with a surface (Price 2006). The feet transmit weight from our body to the ground, allow us to balance in static posture, and propel our body forward, back and laterally in dynamic activities (Lillis 2019).

To improve feet function and help prevent dysfunction in other body parts, perform these foot exercises from Eileen Byrnes, a Connecticut-based registered yoga instructor (RYT 200), fitness instructor, barefoot enthusiast, certified reflexologist and creator of Solely Wellness.

Why Exercise Your Feet?   While feet are our base for all movement, it isn’t common practice for many exercisers to consider foot function. Nick St. Louis, an Ottawa-based physiotherapist and founder of The Foot Collective, says this needs to change.

“A house will collapse if built on a weak foundation. Many of the problems you see upstream are very much related to the foot,” he says, adding that hip, knee and ankle discomfort or pain often starts in foot dysfunction. Being barefoot allows you to increase balance, engage muscles, improve mobility, transfer stability from one side to the other and offer efficient force transfer to the ground (Shaffer 2020).

Foot Exercises – You can perform foot exercises alone, as part of a warmup or in the stretch section of a workout. Inactive foot muscles may fatigue quickly, but daily exercise will build strength and endurance.

Toe spreading:

  • Stand on a stable surface.
  • Extend and simultaneously move your toes away from each other.
  • Create as much space be–tween the toes as possible.
  • Repeat several times, each foot.

Marble pickup:

  • Put a pile of marbles on the floor.
  • Pick up each marble with your toes, creating a second pile.
  • Repeat several times, each foot.

Toe yoga:

  • Extend the big toe while toes 2–5 stay on the floor.
  • Alternate, lifting and lowering toes 2–5 and then the big toe.
  • Do each foot separately and then both feet together.

Beginning and end: 

  • Extend all your toes.
  • Alternate pressing the big toe and fifth toe to the floor, keeping the ankle centered.
  • Extend all toes and simultaneously press the big toe and fifth toe to the floor, keeping the middle toes lifted.
  • Repeat, each foot.

Band work: 

  • Fasten a resistance band to a secure point, placing the other end of the band on the top or dorsal side of the foot, below your toes.
  • Dorsiflex the foot (raise it up toward the shin) and then relax.
  • Repeat several times, each foot.

Foot stretch: 

  • Kneel and tuck all toes under the buttocks.
  • Press the toe pads into the floor. Place a blanket or cushion under the knees if you feel discomfort.