CornerStone Blog

Making The Most Out Of A Short Workout

Unfortunately, we don’t always have the luxury of spending as much time as we’d like at the gym.  But, if you are short on time, that doesn’t mean you have to skip a workout.

Many people believe that the only effective way to exercise is by spending hours and hours at the gym. Not only can this expectation make exercise feel like a burden, but it’s also completely unrealistic given our busy lives.  Don’t let “I don’t have enough time” become your go-to excuse for not moving.  The truth is that even a brief but high intensity exercise session can boost your energy, improve your mood, make you feel awesome and help you reach your goals.

Man checking his watch


Don’t beat yourself up. Maybe you can’t find the time to do your normal exercise routine because of family or work obligations. Perhaps you are a little burned out by longer workouts and are on the verge of quitting altogether. Or, maybe travel is forcing you to deviate from your usual workouts.

Whatever the reason, be kind to yourself, don’t obsess and be open to change.  Short workouts done properly are effective and will still leave you feeling great.   And,  switching things up is a good thing.  Bodies can become complacent after doing the same workouts over and over again. Changes to your normal routine can provide a much needed jolt to the system. 


Cell phones are notorious workout killers.  If you only have time for a 30 minute workout, don’t risk wasting any of that precious time by checking notifications or answering email.  Put your phone in airplane mode or keep it in your bag or locker. 

The same thinking applies to conversation. If you are working out at the gym, say your “hellos” and then get down to business – don’t get involved in long conversations that use up your valuable workout time.


One of the worst things you can do when time is short is head to the gym without a plan.  Minutes may be wasted as you figure out what you are going to do.  Or, in the interest of time, you may opt for a “default” workout like a quick steady-state jog on the treadmill that might get your heart rate up a bit, but won’t necessarily give you the biggest bang for your buck.

Even if it’s on the drive over, give some advance thought to your workout.  Do you want to do intervals or some sort of circuit training?  Pre-determine your exercises, your reps and your time intervals.  Consider what equipment you’ll need so you are ready to grab it and go.


In short workouts, every minute counts. High intensity exercise is the key to making a quick and effective workout. So, what does high intensity feel like?

Well, it’s obviously not the equivalent of a leisurely stroll down the street. But, it’s also not a run until your lungs pop either.  Think breathless, not winded. Think heart-pounding, not heart exploding. You don’t need a fancy heart rate monitor to determine if you are in the right intensity zone – simply use your body’s cues. At the most intense part of your workout, you should be able to say single words.  However, if you are capable of having a chat with someone else, then you probably need to kick it up a notch.

man running on treadmill

The following workout suggestions are simple and flexible.  You can adapt these to fit your available time, preferences and goals.


30/20/10 Training

The essentials of this workout are easy to remember – and it’s fun!

First, pick a cardio activity. Then, run, ride, step or row gently for 30 seconds, accelerate to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, then sprint as hard as you can for 10 seconds. Repeat.

You don’t need a stopwatch to monitor the 30, 20, and 10-second time changes. Just count to yourself and you’ll find that the time goes by even faster.

The beauty of this workout is that you can do it for as long as you like – 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and so on.  If you have at least 15 – 20 minutes, you could consider working out across machines (perhaps 5 minutes on the treadmill, five on the bike and five on the rowing machine).

The Four Minute Workout

Yes, you read that right. Tabata is a four minute workout. But, don’t let that fool you. A tabata done correctly is tough.  During this workout, you work as hard as you can for 20 seconds and then recover for 10 seconds.  Repeat the sequence for four minutes.

You can do any type of exercise during a Tabata—burpees, squat jumps, high-knee runs or whatever you like —as long as you work to your absolute max during each 20-second stint. Then, take the recovery and go hard again. If you do two rounds of Tabata, that’s just eight minutes of work, but you’ll definitely feel the burn.

Circuit Training

Circuit training involves performing multiple exercises back to back with minimal to no rest in between. After the circuit is finished, you can take a longer rest, but only enough to catch your breath.

In a circuit workout, you can perform the exercises for reps, time, or a combination of the two.  The goal is to use as many body parts as possible, structuring the workouts around compound movements (movements that target multiple muscle groups at once) and movements that will elevate your heart rate. This would include exercises like push-ups, burpees, jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, mountain climbers and jump roping.

Circuit training is simple to design and highly flexible. You can adapt it to whatever time you have available by changing the number of exercises, the exercise reps/timed intervals and the number of times you repeat the entire circuit itself.

Next time you are running short on time, don’t skip the gym! Grab your gym bag, load up a motivating playlist of tunes and plan a quick, intense workout.  The only workout you ever regret is the one you didn’t get!

Busting 7 Group Fitness Myths

At Cornerstone, we believe strongly in the value and effectiveness of group fitness.  Research has shown that working out with others, especially to music, increases motivation, exercise adherence, brain health and so much more. It’s also social and a lot of fun!

Unfortunately, we frequently hear many misconceptions about Group Fitness from people who are reluctant to give it a try. 

“I’m not in good enough shape to take a GX class right now.”

“I’m don’t have enough flexibility to try yoga or Group Centergy.”

“I have two left feet and have a hard time following along – I don’t want to feel awkward and unsuccessful.”

“Group fitness classes aren’t challenging enough – they aren’t a “proper” workout so I’ll be better off doing something on my own in the gym.”

It’s high time to dispel some of the most common group fitness myths!

Group Fitness Classes Will Be Too Hard For Me

It’s not “get in better shape” to take a group fitness class.  Rather, it’s take a group fitness class and get in better shape!   With a class schedule as broad as Cornerstone’s, you can find classes suitable for every fitness level.  Moreover, intensity level can be adjusted within a class.  Modifications exist for every exercise and our instructors are ready, willing and able to offer modifications suitable to your specific level.  And, don’t assume you will be the only doing things “differently” if you modify. Look into any group fitness class, and you will see a group of people all moving differently and working at different fitness levels. 

Group Fitness Classes Will Be Too Easy For Me

This myth is common to fitness junkies.  The fact is, exercises can be modified up for intensity just as easily as they can be modified down to reduce the challenge.  A participant can always up their own ante by lifting heavier weight, riding with more resistance, using more impact, etc.  Sometimes, fitness junkies overlook the other benefits that come with group fitness classes such as cross training (doing something new!), learning new movement patterns (Zumba!) and recovery (yoga/Group Centergy).

Group Fitness Is All Cardio

This is an easy one to debunk.  Group fitness has evolved greatly since it’s inception a few decades ago. A modern class schedule includes everything from Zumba to cycling to barre to strength training to yoga and much more.

Group Fitness Classes Require Coordination And I’m Awkward

While it is true that some classes require a degree of coordination, others require much less.  If you aren’t quite ready to follow the choreography in a dance fitness class, try a barre or cycling class, give Interval Burn a try or drop into Group Active.  The fact is, training for timing, rhythm, speed and coordination are important to both your body and your brain.  If this an area that is challenging for you, taking group fitness classes can help you improve it.  And, if you feel intimidated seeing a group of people moving in sync in a class, remember that NO ONE started out that way. Every single person you see started out going left when others were going right.  Each person stuck with it and got better at it over time. And you will too!

Group Fitness Is For Women

Group fitness’ roots in Jazzercise and Aerobics have led many to believe that it is only for women.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!  There are many varieties of exercise class styles to suit everyone. Some of the best dance instructors are guys and some of the toughest strength coaches are gals.  The old “rules” no longer apply. Women shouldn’t be reluctant to head over to the weight lifting room and men shouldn’t hesitate to cross the group fitness room threshold. 

Group Fitness Classes Are Not A “Proper” Workout

Some people bypass taking a class because they feel they can get a better workout on their own.  This may be true in some cases – but not all!  Unfortunately, a lot of people come to the gym with no real plan in mind.  When you attend class, you don’t have to come up with your own routine or plan the perfect playlist. It’s all done for you!  Modern group fitness classes are professionally designed and will give you a safe, effective and complete experience.  It’s also tough to stay motivated when you work out by yourself. If you join a class and stick with it, you’ll experience the motivation, camaraderie, energy and fun that comes with working out with others.

Group Fitness Instructors Are A Scary Bunch Of Drill Sergeants

Believe it or not, instructors aren’t there to order you around and yell at you – they are there to guide and help you. They are there to teach you, motivate you, inspire you and support you.  If you are attending class for the first time, arrive a little early and introduce yourself to your instructor. Share any concerns or reservations you have and then relax and enjoy the experience.

For those of you who don’t take group fitness classes, we hope that you’ll give them a try now that we’ve busted a few of the top myths.  Take a look at our class schedules and check out the descriptions.  Pick something that looks interesting and give it a try!  And, if you still have questions or are not sure what would be a good fit for you, take a few minutes to talk to a Wellness Coach.  See you in class soon!



Build A Better Core Without Sit Ups (Or Crunches)

For decades, sit ups and crunches were considered essential exercises for your core.  And planks? Well, those were something that you walked on, right?   Fast forward to more recent times and planking, an exercise that requires you to assume a position and hold it, is now the gold standard for core work.   What accounts for the shift?

abdominal muscles

According to Harvard Medical School, sit-ups and crunches are hard on your back – they push your curved spine against the floor and work your hip flexors, the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. When the hip flexors are too tight, they pull on your lower spine which can cause pain in the lumbar area.  In addition, poorly performed crunches can also strain your neck.  Finally, sit ups and crunches target just a few isolated muscles.   The body’s core goes far beyond a small set of abdominal muscles, so these exercises are not a very efficient use of your workout time either.

Think of your core muscles as spine stabilizers. If you didn’t have these muscles, you would flop right over.  The key to effective core work is to stop motion through those muscles, not create it as is the case with sit ups. Effective core exercises protect your neck and spine by getting and keeping them aligned and stable while your extremities are moving. Instead of creating the movement, your core should be working against it.

So, what are good alternatives to sit ups and crunches?  Number one on the list is the aforementioned plank.


Front Plank:  Set up on your elbows and toes (if you aren’t ready for planking on your toes, begin on your knees).  Don’t let your hips sag or pike up. Start with 10-15 seconds and then slowly extend the time.  As you improve, you can add any of a number of variations such as . . . 


Plank with Opposite Reach:  lift one arm straight forward while lifting the opposite leg then repeat on opposite side.

Plank Walkdowns:  Walk up on your hands then back down to your elbows and repeat.

Side Planks: Keep your elbow under your shoulder and your shoulder away from your ear. As with the front plank, you can start on your knees and move to your feet. 

side plank

*Note – these are just a few of the almost endless plank variations.  


This exercise works your glutes and back which are important parts of your core that sometimes get overlooked. Lie facedown on the floor with your arms and legs extended, palms facing the ground. Pinching your shoulder blades together, lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground. Slowly return to the floor. For an additional upper body workout, you can bend your elbows and pull your arms back while you’re in the raised position. Extend them back out and lower down.


Start in a push-up position with arms completely straight and directly beneath shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.

Squeeze your abs, lift one foot off the floor, and bring your knee up towards chest while keeping your body in as straight of a line as possible. Hold for five seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat the movement with opposite leg. You can progress towards bringing each knee towards the opposite elbow to recruit the obliques.


Lie faceup with your arms fully extended along your sides. Bring your legs to tabletop position, you’re your knees bent and lower legs parallel to the floor.

Brace your core and reach your left arm up and behind head while straightening your right leg while keeping it up off the floor.   Return to starting position and repeat on the other side to complete one rep.


Lie on your back with your legs extended straight toward the ceiling and place your hands palms down under your lower back for support.  Slowly lower your legs down toward floor, hovering two inches off the floor (or higher if you feel strain in your lower back) . Lift your legs back to the starting position.  You can scissor your legs while moving up and down as an added variation.


Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.  Lean back so your torso is at about a 45 degree angle. Using your abs, twist your torso as far as you can in one direction before reversing the motion and returning to the starting position to twist in the opposite direction.  To progress this exercise over time, you can lift your feet over the floor while twisting.  You can also hold a dumbbell or medicine ball as you twist



Windshield wipers are another sit-up alternative for which leg positioning matters. Lie flat on your back with your arms extended out to your sies.  Keeping your legs together, bend at the knees to form a 90 degree angle. Then, lift your legs so that your shins are parallel with the floor.  Make sure your knees are stacked over your hips.  Next, engage your core while keeping your shoulders and back in contact with the floor.  Drop your knees to the right, keeping your legs together.  Return to center and repeat on the other side.  Don’t drop them so far that your shoulders come off the ground. When you are ready, you can progress this exercise by straightening your legs instead of keeping your knees bent.

windshield wiper exercise

Looking for a little guidance when it comes to your core routine?  Don’t forget that you have access to professional help whenever you need it. Just stop by the Service Desk and make an appointment with a Wellness Coach who would be happy to help you.

How To Choose The Right Athletic Shoes

Let’s face it, our feet take a beating over the course of our lifetimes. Human beings are bipedal ambulatory creatures and we spend a great deal of our time standing, walking, running, and jumping from the moment we transition from crawling as toddlers until our oldest age. If you are a regular exerciser, your feet are actually working overtime. So, it’s really important to take care of them. This is why it’s so important to make sure you choose the right athletic shoes.

Man taking off athletic shoe.

Why it matters.

Wearing the wrong athletic shoes could result in a less effective workout. More importantly, it could cause injury. For instance, wearing shoes with a thin tread while hiking increases risk of ankle sprain. Wearing cross training shoes while jogging can lead to sore feet, shin splints, plantar fasciitis and other injuries.

Talk to any podiatrist and you will find that most agree that choosing the right athletic shoes is as important as the workout itself. Our bodies are highly connected. When something is off in one part, it can affect many other areas. The positioning of your feet while you move can affect the alignment of many other parts of your body including muscles and joints.

Different workouts require different motions from your body. The best shoes are designed to provide just the right amount of support at the right angle given your chosen activity. Decent quality athletic shoes are not cheap. If you are going to invest in shoes, make sure they support your exercise goals and don’t work against them.

Trail running

Consider your workout.

The first step to choosing the right shoe is to determine what kind of motion your workout requires. Exercises such as walking or hiking require mostly linear motion with little impact. In contrast, running is similarly linear, but is high impact. Workouts like high intensity interval training, boot camps, dancing and kickboxing involve a lot of direction changes.

Running Shoes – Running shoes should be cushioned and to disperse force when landing. Choose shoes with a good cushion. Next, wiggle your toes in the toe box. There should be a finger-width distance between the toes and the end of the shoe because feet can swell slightly when running. Finally, pay attention to heel rise in a running shoe. The heel should be slightly higher than the toes to facilitate forward motion.

Walking – Look for a light weight shoe with some shock absorption in the heel and especially in the ball of the foot. This will help reduce heel pain as well as burning and tenderness in the ball of the foot. A shoe with a slightly rounded or sole helps to encourage the natural roll of the foot during the walking.

Cross Trainers – Cross-training shoes combine several of the above features so that you can participate in more than one sport. A good cross trainer should have both flexibility in the front of the foot needed for running and lateral control necessary for activities like dance fitness classes, kickboxing, HIIT workouts, etc.

Sports Specific Shoes – this would include shoes for basketball, tennis, golf, cycling, hiking, etc. All of these sports involve specific repetitive movements. As a result, it is highly recommended that you purchase shoes designed exclusively for these sports.

Running shoes

Choose wisely.

Measure your foot frequently. Believe it or not, our shoe size can change in adulthood, so measure before buying. Keep in mind that sizes often vary between brands, so go by what fits, not by what the stated size of the shoe is.

Shop toward the end of the day. Feet swell over the course of the day; they also expand while you run or walk, so shoes should fit your feet when they’re at their largest.
Try shoes on while wearing the type of socks you will be using when engaging in your workout. If you wear orthotics, bring those, too. Shoes need to fit with the orthotic inside.

Don’t assume that shoes require a “breaking in” period. Proper shoes should feel comfortable right away. Walk or run around the store a bit to make sure they feel good in action.

Use the rule of thumb. There should be about 3/8-1/2 inch between the front of your big toe and the end of the shoe — about a thumb’s width. The heel should fit relatively tightly; your heel should not slip out when you walk. The upper part of the shoe — which goes over the top of your foot — should be snug and secure, and not too tight anywhere. Finally, you should be able to wiggle all of your toes when the shoe is on.

Know when to replace your shoes. Once the back of the sole is worn out or the shoe feels uncomfortable or less supportive, it’s time to reinvent in some new kicks.

Finding The Motivation To Workout After Work

A hard work day can be a workout killer if you let it.  How do you find the motivation to workout after work?  The answer lies in changing your mindset and your habits.  Here are 7 tips to help you make post- work workouts successful.


Don’t wait until the chaos of morning to pack your exercise clothes.  You may forget what you need when you are in a hurry to get out the door.  If the morning is particularly hectic, you might just decide “to heck with it, it’s too much trouble”, giving yourself an excuse to skip your workout.

Schedule your workouts on your calendar to help you stay motivated to workout after work.


You put meetings, doctors appointments, Little League games and other things on your schedule to remind you so you don’t miss the important things in your life.  Make exercise important too and put it on your calendar. Then, set reminders on your phone or computer.


Let’s face it. You are working out as you head into the dinner hour. Sometimes plain old physical hunger can rob you of a workout by mentally distracting you and zapping your energy.  Pack a small, easily digestible snack that’s got a mix of carbs, protein and healthy fat (like an apple with peanut butter) and eat it about 45 minutes prior to your planned workout.


Again, this factors into your mindset. If you change into your exercise clothes before you leave work, you’ll be more likely to commit to your workout and less likely to back out at the last minute or make excuses for skipping.

Finding the motivation to workout after work.


Once you walk through the door, your brain switches over to “home mode”.  At home, you are reminded of all of the things you feel you need to do there (fix dinner, do laundry, clean up, etc). This makes it very difficult to mentally disengage to leave for a workout.  Be consistent and stick to a routine – work, gym home; work, gym home . . .  After a while, this will become a habit and it will actually feel weird if you break it.


Clear your mind.  Take a class that requires a bit of thinking.  If your mind is occupied following moves, it won’t be able to wander off and think about job responsibilities.  If you are hitting the fitness floor, create a playlist that motivates you and pulls your mind into a good place.  No matter what, make sure you choose an activity that you enjoy.  After all, your exercise time isn’t just good for your body.  It also serves as a mental break, an opportunity to let go of the concerns and stresses of your day.


Let’s face it, exercising five days a week after work may be unrealistic because we have other demands on our time.  So, don’t forget the weekends.  If you exercise on Saturday and Sunday, then you may only need to exercise 2 – 3 days a week after work.

A few other suggestions . . . Find a workout buddy (or a few workout buddies) and make arrangements for weekly small group training sessions with a personal trainer.  You’ll be less likely to skip these workouts because you don’t want to let your buddies down.  Another option would be to sign up for a Tribe Team Training session.  Again, committing to a Tribe will keep you accountable and help you stay committed.

~ The Cornerstone Clubs


How To Stay Active While Traveling

Sticking to an exercise program can be a challenge when you are away from home.  But there’s no reason why you can’t continue a routine that keeps you healthy when you are travelling.

Over the past few months, we have seen an uptick in vaccination rates and a removal of many travel restrictions.  Visit any airport and you will see that people are beginning to travel again, whether for business or pleasure.  Taking a trip, however, shouldn’t mean taking a break from your exercise routine. With a little creativity and planning, you can incorporate exercise into your trip – and maybe use it as an opportunity to shake things up a little bit.

Plan for exercise and healthy eating while traveling.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Planning ahead can include many things.  Scope out restaurants, cafes and groceries that offer healthy food in advance of your trip.  Make sure your agenda includes time for exercise (a little everyday if possible).  If you absolutely must have some gym time, research gyms in the area that offer day passes or short-term memberships. 

And remember, Cornerstone participates in the IHRSA Passport Program. This program allows members to purchase discounted gym passes at participating clubs around the world. To learn more about the IHRSA Passport Program, stop by the service desk or click here.


Pack light exercise equipment.

Pack Carefully

Many hotels feature small gyms and pools.  But if you are visiting family or staying someplace without those amenities, you should consider packing a few light-weight pieces of exercise equipment.  Rubber tubing, light hand weights, a jump rope, a suspension training system like TRX®, and a mat take very little room and are easy to pack.  You can get a great workout using equipment like this in addition to using your own body weight.

Exercise outdoors.

Explore The Great Outdoors

Almost every place has its natural attractions whether it be parks, ocean, lakes or rivers, or hiking trails. Use this opportunity to exercise in the great outdoors. Go for a walk, run or hilly hike. Rent a bike and take in the scenery. Go for a swim or a row on the lake.

Virtual fitness is a great option when traveling.

Take Advantage of Virtual Workouts

If you have internet access where you are staying, take advantage of the many digital workouts now available.  You can certainly find some free versions on platforms like YouTube.  But, if you prefer higher quality audio and video, fee-based options like Mossa On Demand offer free trial memberships and feature many workouts that require nothing more than your own body weight.   

As a Cornerstone member, you also have unlimited access to our live streaming classes and our own Video On Demand service.  To sign up for live stream classes, login to EME just as you normally would and select “live stream” under the club category to view the schedule.  To access video on demand, simply visit the Virtual Gym. This way, if you can’t be at Cornerstone for a little while, you can take Cornerstone with you!

Find healthy eating options.

Don’t Forget Proper Nutrition

Overeating or eating unhealthy food may be the biggest problem we encounter when we travel.  When we are really busy or in unfamiliar territory, it’s easy to grab whatever is convenient. Often, this is fast food or other convenience foods.  Remember tip #1 – plan ahead and try to locate places that offer healthier fare.

Having said all of that, it’s OK to splurge and enjoy, especially while on vacation. Watch overdoing it, focus on moderation and balance over-indulgence with healthier eating options whenever possible.

We hope these tips help you stay active while traveling!

~  Cornerstone Clubs


Fitness Training For A Better Golf Game

Let’s face it. Golfers are always looking for ways to get an edge in their game.  One of the best ways to improve your golf game is through fitness training.  So, with the arrival of the golf season, it’s time to work on your golf game both in the gym and on the greens.

Many golfers choose to fine tune their game by hitting the driving range and possibly taking a golf lesson. But there is another important step to consider—personal training in the gym with a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) golf fitness specialist.  Golfers who want to improve their game and stay injury free should consider training in the gym now in preparation for hitting the greens this spring and summer.

Fitness training for golfers can improve performance.

Golf Fitness Training

Training sessions with a Golf Fitness Specialist include golf-specific and postural assessments. Your fitness professional will design training programs that integrate flexibility, core, balance, plyometric, resistance and sport specific cardiorespiratory training.

Depending on a client’s goals and fitness level, a 4- to 16-week program may be recommended. Studies have shown that as little as 8 weeks of training can significantly improve swing mechanics and golf performance by improving club head speed, decreasing golf trajectory errors, and reducing total golf scores.

Some golfers may choose year – round training, implementing an undulating program design so that they can peak during golf season.  Using a periodization method of design, they work out in the gym more frequently in the off-season, and taper off some as they begin playing more golf outside.

A structured golf fitness program can also improve torso flexibility and rotational power. Strength and power exercises are shown to improve club head speed and driving distance.

Weight training exercises are designed for the whole body, as strong hands and arms are needed to deliver the club face squarely to the ball and the legs and torso need strength to maintain stability throughout the swing.

Golf fitness training can reduce the change of injuries.

Injury Prevention as Part of a Golf Fitness Program

Injury prevention is another important reason to commit to personal training.  Studies show golfers who practice often take as many as 300 swings per practice session which requires key levels of flexibility in the hips, legs and shoulders to be successful. Golfers also may swing the club as fast as 100 miles per hour.

This means that golfers are repeatedly exposing their bodies to high levels of forces and loads, and do so while moving through a large range of motion. To do this safely, the body’s musculoskeletal and metabolic systems must be properly trained and in balance to perform a mechanically sound swing time and time again.

As with all athletic activities, injuries can occur. More than 80 percent of golf-related injuries are from overuse.  Common injuries sites for golfers include the low back, wrist, elbow and shoulder. For professional golfers the most common injuries occur in the low back, followed by the wrist and shoulder. For amateurs, the elbow is the most common injury site followed by the low back and shoulder.

Injury to the shoulder is often from a lack of flexibility in the shoulder capsule and weakness of the rotator cuff, which alters swing mechanics and can lead to cumulative trauma injuries.  A comprehensive training program can help prevent such injuries as well as improve performance for the golfer.

In order for a golf swing to be as proficient as possible, the entire human movement system must possess proper amounts of strength, power, stability, flexibility and neuromuscular control. It is in this area that the fitness professional can have the most profound effect on golf.

Cornerstone Personal Trainer Anne Krisher with her son Richard.

Cornerstone Doylestown Personal Trainer and Golf Fitness Specialist Ann Krisher and her son Richard hitting the links.


~ Ann Krisher – Cornerstone Doylestown

NASM CPT – Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Golf Fitness Specialist
NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist
NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist
NASM Senior Fitness Specialist

CLICK HERE for more information about personal training at Cornerstone.

How People With Parkinson’s Disease Can Stay Active During The Pandemic

For people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), staying active with regular exercise is important in maintaining good motor function and overall wellbeing.  Over the past few years, many fitness programs designed specifically for people with PD have been developed.  They are highly effective, but they are also typically tied to a gym or involve in-person classes that take place outside the home.  Unfortunately, the covid-19 pandemic has completely disrupted these routines. So, the question is – how can people with PD stay active during this challenging time?

People with Parkinson’s Disease are at high risk

The Corona Virus has hit many special populations very hard.  People with PD are considered at higher risk of developing serious complications because they are typically older and have underlying medical conditions.  Until individuals with PD get vaccinated (and perhaps even afterward), they and their caregivers must remain vigilant about following CDC recommendations.  As most of us now know, physical distancing, the wearing of masks and regular sanitization of surfaces is crucial.  But even given those limitations, it is possible for people with Parkinson’s Disease to get regular exercise.

Safe Exercise Options for People with Parkinson’s

As long as people can keep a safe social distance, then the first recommendation is to get outside!  Take a walk, jog or bike ride when possible. Fresh air is important. Just ensure that it can be done at a distance from other people and go for it!  As always, people with PD should check in with their neurologist to make sure the exercises of their choice are safe to perform. And, given the recent weather, it’s also important to make sure that all outdoor surfaces are clear, dry and not at all slippery before heading out.

Another way that people with PD can stay active is by making use of the many virtual training options now available.  Right now, there are a multitude of online exercise options to choose from.  These allow people to work out safely in their own homes.  All that’s needed is an internet connection. 

Wellness Coach Michael Strouse interviews Parkinson’s Fitness Specialists Bart Lorenzo and Bev Reilly – and some surprise guests!

Cornerstone’s Parkinson’s Fit Program helps people with PD stay active at home

Prior to the pandemic, Cornerstone offered a robust (and growing) Parkinson’s Fitness Program.  Based on two exercise systems with proven efficacy (Rock Steady Boxing and PWR! Moves), our program offered in-person classes regularly throughout the week. 

At the start of the pandemic, our team transitioned quickly towards offering the same great program virtually. This allowed our participants to do the same effective workouts in the safety of their own home.  And as a result, people kept the gains they made earlier and continued to add to them.    

This was critically important to our staff.  Bart Lorenzo and Bev Reilly, Cornerstone’s Parkinson’s Fitness Specialists, were committed to making sure our PD participants could keep moving.

From Bart:

There is a simple saying, “You have to move to improve”. When you think of exercise and the areas that it improves and how it relates to those living with Parkinson’s, it all makes sense. Improvement in the areas of Mental Acuity, Risk of Falling, Self Confidence, Physical Strength and Endurance are all areas that someone living with Parkinson’s will encounter.  Exercise will help someone living with Parkinson’s take control over their life, rather than letting Parkinson’s control them. 

 In 2020, when COVID-19 seemed to control a lot of our daily activities, we have been able to keep our members moving using Zoom. Our sessions are both fun workouts and social gathering for both members, care givers and us coaches.

From Bev:

Here’s what’s important - you just have to keep moving 8 days a week!! (I have said this at every class for years). Make your exercise a priority, a part of your everyday routine. Exercise is just like your medication. Put your exercise in ink on your calendar! You can’t erase ink.  Just keep moving!

Check out our Parkinson's Fitness Program Brochure. Also, visit the Parkinson's Program on our website.

For more information about Parkinson's Disease, we recommend visiting the Parkinson's Foundation.

Workout At Home Using Everyday Objects

With a little creativity, anyone can turn a space in their home into a home gym. It is true that a dedicated workout space and proper equipment can make things a little easier – and set the “mood” for a workout. But in a pinch, it’s still possible to get a decent workout at home using everyday objects most of us already have laying around.

Yoga Using Everyday Objects

Fortunately, yoga classes don’t require a lot of equipment and rarely require a large workout space. In lieu of a yoga mat, you could use a small rug. Just make sure it’s non-slip or placed upon another larger rug for traction.

If you use a yoga block for hand support in a standing posture, a low table or stool may suffice. If a step is being used under your foot, sometimes the bottom step on a set of stairs will do the trick. If the block is to be used for hip or back support, a large book may do the trick.

Yoga straps are easy to substitute. Look around for an old necktie, scarf, robe tie or towel. And don’t forget about a chair. If you need support or have trouble getting up and down the floor, a chair is essential.

Workout at home using everyday objects - a towel as a yoga strap.
Barre Using Everyday Objects

The most essential pieces of equipment for you home barre workout are a non-slip floor, a sturdy support (this can be a chair or any other sturdy piece of furniture in your home) and a pair of lightweight dumbbells for added resistance. If you don’t own a pair of dumbbells, read on for some excellent swaps.

From Barre Instructor Catie Tritremmel:
“You can use a rolled up towel to replace a squishy ball and water bottles to replace light weights.”

Workout at home using everyday objects - a chair in place of a ballet barre.

Weight Training Using Everyday Objects

You might consider it impossible to participate in livestreaming classes like Group Active, Group Power or Tighten and Tone without a barbell and a few sets of dumbbells. But this isn’t true! There are plenty of everyday objects you can substitute for weight training.

In place of lighter dumbbells, consider using canned food or smaller water bottles fille with water, rocks or sand. In place of heavier dumbbells, grab a couple of 5 gallon water jugs and again fill with something that adds weight. A 72 oz jug of laundry soap weighs about 5lbs, and like a water jug, has a handle making it easy to lift and manuever.

For squats, lunges and other leg work done with a bar on the back, use a backpack and fill it with something heavy. Books, canned goods and bags of pet food or sand can add serious weight to a backpack.

In place of gliding discs, grab some paper plates. Yes, it’s that simple!

Finally, don’t forget chairs and stairs. A chair can be used for anything from step-ups to tricep dips. Turn your bottom step into a “bench” for pushups (hands up for something a little easier and feet up for something a little harder).

From Group Fitness Instructor Alyson Zimmer:
“This past summer, I used a hose as battle ropes, a staircase to do offset squats, jump lunges, reverse lunges and calf raises and push-ups. Broom sticks are good for stretching. I’ve had people use couch throw pillows as balls for ball slams (gets your heart rate up and it’s great for core activation!!). I’ve also had participants use gallon water containers for farmers walks.”

Workout at home using everyday objects - heavy cans as dumbbells.

From Group Fitness Instructor Morgan Fink:  
"Here are some quick and simple ways to execute basic moves from Group Power using dumbbells (or water bottles, cans, etc)."

Using dumbbells in place of a barbell to execute basic Group Power moves.

Don't let a lack of equipment prevent you from participating in some of our most popular workouts at home. Whether you are staying safe during the pandemic, traveling or unable to get to the club for other reasons, you can still workout with Cornerstone!

Check out our CLASS SCHEDULES.

How Exercise Can Help You Beat SAD

Do you suffer from the “winter blues”?

If so, you are not alone. Many people endure a funk during the late fall and winter seasons.  The technical term for this is Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.  Fortunately, there are things you can do to beat SAD, including engaging in regular exercise.  Read on to learn more about exercise and SAD . . .

Winter can cause SAD

What is SAD?

SAD is essentially seasonal depression.  SAD can affect your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy levels. Sadly, this can take a toll on all aspects of your life from your relationships to work, school, and your sense of self-worth. 

The further you live from the equator, the more likely you are to suffer from SAD.  This is because you receive far less winter daylight in latitudes greater than 30 degrees either north or south of the equator.  According to research, only 1 – 2% of the population (mostly women) suffers from the most extreme version of SAD. But, fully 10-20% of people still experience symptoms that affect their every day lives.

SAD causes depression

Signs and Symptoms of SAD

Most of the symptoms of SAD are consistent with general depression. The main difference lies in the fact that sufferers experience remission when the winter is over.

Common symptoms include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of interest in activities you previously enjoyed
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Anger, irritability and stress
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Poor sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of energy
  • Use of drugs or alcohol for comfort
  • Feelings of sadness and despair

As with clinical depression, the symptoms of SAD do very from person to person and often depend on your geographic location. 

Causes of SAD

Science has not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of seasonal affective disorder.  But most experts believe the disorder is due to reduced daylight hours during the winter. The reduced exposure to sunlight that occurs in winter is thought to affect the body by disrupting some very important processes.

Circadian rhythms:  This is your body’s internal clock.  It responds to changes between light and dark to regulate everything from mood, appetite and sleep. During winter, the longer nights can disrupt your internal clock.

Melatonin production:  Your brain produces the hormone melatonin when it is dark to help you sleep.  Then, during the day,  sunlight triggers the brain to stop melatonin production so you feel awake and alert. However, during the winter, your body may produce too much melatonin causing drowsiness and low energy.

Serotonin production:  Reduced sunlight can lower your body’s production of serotonin. This neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. Low serotonin levels may lead to depression.

SAD affects circadian rhythms

How Exercise Can Help

Regular exercise can help you beat SAD.  It is a powerful way to beat any kind of depression, including the seasonal variety.  If you get and stay moving, you can boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good chemicals in your brain. In fact, exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication. Regular exercise can also improve sleep and increase your self-esteem.

Choose exercises that are continuous and rhythmic.

To get the most benefits, choose rhythmic exercise such as walking, running, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancing-where you move both your arms and legs at the same time.

Make room in your schedule for enough exercise

To get the most out of exercise, plan to workout for 30 to 60 minutes every day.  Keep in mind, this exercise time doesn’t have to be continuous. Even if you break it up into chunks (for instance, three 20 minute sessions), you will still benefit.

Exercise and SAD

Additional Steps You Can Take

Consider light therapy. Inexpensive light boxes are now available from many sources.  These devices A deliver light that up to ten times the intensity of normal domestic lighting. They are easy to use too.  Just sit about 12” away from it for 15 – 20 minutes each morning. 

Practice self-care.  This can include things like regular massages or engaging in activities that normally give you joy.

Reduce stress in your life.   Many people find relief in gentle yoga, meditation or muscle relaxation classes. 

If You Need Additional Help

If you are really struggling to beat the winter blues, we strongly advise you to contact your doctor.  And whatever the season, if you overwhelmed, in severe despair or suicidal, please know that there are people who want to help.  You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Learn more about Wellness Coaching at Cornerstone.