Health & Fitness

By Lisa Penza

I am not an athlete, not in the least. However, that didn’t stop me from running my first half marathon in 2010. It was an amazing experience and nothing beats crossing the finish line for the first time. Incredibly, the road to the run was far harder than the run itself! Nothing will teach you about your body better than putting it through a rigorous training schedule. If there’s even one tiny imperfection in your run, or a teeny muscle issue, you will know about it very quickly.

In training for my half marathon, I learned that my Iliotibial (IT) band was angry – and not shy about it. The IT band, which runs from your pelvis to shin on the outside of the thigh, can be very painful when it’s irritated. Because of the location, it can be difficult to alleviatethe pain quickly, and ignoring it can lead to knee and back problems. Needless to say, I needed help!

Through this, I learned the importance of foam rollers. Using one, I was able to massage and work out my IT band problems and painlessly complete my first (then second!) long distance run. I’ve had a love affair with foam rollers ever since and when I heard about the Nautilus CoreBody Reformer, which uses the traditional foam roller shape as a base, I jumped to try it out!

More than just a foam roller, the CoreBody Reformer is a full body workout system. What I really love is how it engages all your muscle groups in unique ways through the course of your workout. The base acts as a balance beam, engaging your core while you use the pulleys on your arms or legs. You can increase or decrease resistance on these as well, making sure that this piece will grow with you as your strength increases. The included DVD shows so many amazing ways to use it, whether it be strength training or cardio. I love working with the DVD as much as I love exploring this on my own, finding new ways to personalize my own routine. A piece of advice: Follow the directions and always stabilize this piece of equipment as you use it.

For me, core exercises can be repetitious and tedious. Sit ups and twists can get old fast, usually long before they’ve done anything for you. Using balance to engage your core and tone those muscles is far more exciting, and I find it to be far more helpful. Balance poses in yoga offer similar benefits, but adding the movement of arms or legs really brings this to the next level. After one workout, I could feel it in my stomach muscles, including my obliques (which can be so difficult to isolate)!

Every morning I do a little work with this piece and I really enjoy it. It’s hard to find something that gets you excited to exercise. I’m already feeling the benefits – I’m stronger and have better balance. Plus, I’ve finally found something my IT band agrees with. No more pain!

The CoreBody Reformer is available at http://www.corebodyreformer.com/. Perfect way to start 2012 on a healthy foot!

Originally published December 2011
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