Pam, an 87 year old client at Rivercity Pilates.

Ever wonder how long you can practice Pilates?

Carey Sadler, Owner & Instructor at Rivercity Pilates in North Liberty.

We have clients of all ages that come in to the studio and have many clients who are in their 70’s and 80’s who are regularly practicing Pilates with us.  How cool is that? As you might imagine these clients “don’t look their age” and if you see them at the studio your reaction might likely be something like,” Wow, I want to move like that when I’m their age!”  

In fact, one of the most common conversations I have with people these days, seems to be one where clients (many of them my age..)  are asking me questions like:

  • What do I need to do to age well
  • What things should I be doing now?
  • What is the key to staying active and moving well as I age?
  • What did those clients do to maintain their health?
  • Do people keep doing Pilates as they age?
  • How old are your oldest clients?

In case you were wondering any of these things I thought I would share my answers here!

People who stay active and healthy as they age create a habit of movement in their life that is non negotiable.  We of course love it when you want to practice Pilates and Yoga with us but honestly more important than what you do is you finding something that you can consistently do that keeps you moving, maintains and builds strength and keeps you mobile.  Start doing this now and don’t stop! Keep movement a part of your life even if you have to adapt it for something going on in your body!

Currently my oldest client in studio is 87 years old and practices Pilates twice a week. She has consistently practiced twice a week since she started Pilates with us in 2014.   She is a model of consistency and showing up for herself and it shows in how she moves through the world! She is somewhat famous around the studio and even has her own sign hanging near her favorite Pilates Tower!

When you are feeling a little unmotivated to get moving this week….remind yourself that your movement time matters!

Remind yourself to be like Pam and commit to consistently moving in healthy ways! Your body will thank you!!

Studies correlate the “ability to sit and rise from the floor without support” with a longer life expectancy.

Can you get up from the floor with no hands?

Carey Sadler, Owner, Rivercity Pilates North Liberty.

When was the last time you did something that you previously could not do in your movement practice?

I think as kids we often challenge ourselves to try new things or push ourselves to do something physically that we tried and couldn’t do, but it seems so many adults have forgotten about how much fun this process can be and how fabulous it feels when you accomplish your goals.

If you’ve been in the studio you may have seen the slant board that we use for a variety of exercises and movements.  One of my favorite things to practice and teach on it is a movement where you practice squatting and sitting on the board, you roll down to the board and then you roll yourself back up and bring yourself to standing.  This exercise helps us build and maintain the strength and mobility that our bodies need to get to the floor and back up with ease. 

For 2 months Becky practiced this movement with a little assistance from me and by modifying the movement to her working level as she practiced. She also practiced other movements in her sessions that would help her build to being able to do this movement fully.   Just last week I watched her as she practiced this movement without assistance for the first time…and it was so exciting!!

There is something so satisfying about knowing that your consistent practice and dedication to your movement practice is helping you improve your strength and mobility and is helping you do things better in life!! As adults I honestly think people forget that they can do these things! I think they forget how rewarding it is do work toward a goal and accomplish it!

This week I want you to think about a physical goal for your movement practice. What do you want to be able to do that you are not able to do right now. Here’s just a few ideas of things: 

  • I want to be able to get to the floor and back up with ease,
  • I want to be able to hike for an hour and not be exhausted,
  • I want to be able to do 3 pushups,
  • I want to be able to stand on one foot for 30 seconds.

Just for fun, pick a goal and let me know what it is.  If you email me I’ll send you some quick suggestions on ways you could work toward your goals and I’ll check in with you at the first of the year to see how you are doing on your goal!

In her words…..

Practicing getting up and down on the slant board at Rivercity Pilates.

I read a story somewhere that basically said your ability to get to the floor and back up without support was a sign of your life expectancy, and I shared it with Carey during a session. As you can imagine, she had me try it right away, and while I could get down to the floor mostly in control if I used my hands, getting back up was a little more complicated. I could do it, but it wasn’t smooth or easy and I definitely needed to use my hands. It’s still not easy, but I’m making progress, and this week I was able to do it without using my hands – YAY!

I’m not particularly comfortable sharing the video of me on the slant board with the world, but it shows things that I want others to know about Pilates..

  • Practicing Pilates consistently is magical. Ok..maybe not really magical but it seems that way when you notice the results in your body! It’s about practicing the Pilates method to build strength, correct imbalances (sometimes I think this is code for relieving pain) and learning what works to feel better & move better!  

  • Sharing things with your Pilates instructor is good! The first question Carey asks me in every session I take is “how’s your body feeling today?”. When you share how you are feeling and what you want to work on in your body your teacher will be able to adjust what you are doing that day(and future days)  so that you get the most benefit in your body and life.  

    I knew I wanted to be able to get on and off the floor without using my hands, but it was Carey who made sure that every Pilates session I took contained exercises to help me build the strength I would need.
  • Listen to your body when it whispers, (and share it with your Pilates instructor), and practice Pilates consistently.  You’ll get to celebrate moments like this!

Happy 2023!

Oh I just love a new year!  I love reflecting on the past year, I love the holiday season at the end of the year and I love the time I spend dreaming and planning for the year to come! Anyone else?  

One of the things I do every year is pick a word for my year to come.  My word ends up being my theme for the year! I had already picked my word for 2023 this past month and so I found it so fun that when I opened an email template to start writing this email I found a picture of me wearing a shirt with my word on it already in the email! My word for 2023 is JOY!

This simple word is my reminder that my life is meant to be fun and filled with joy. It reminds me that I can choose what I am focusing on in any moment and that focus creates my experience.  It reminds me that I can choose to be focused on the good, the positives and the joy of the moment unconditionally no matter what others may be thinking, saying or feeling.  

Do you have a word for 2023? I would love to hear it! Please email me and let me know what it is!

Worried about losing your balance and falling?

The weather has turned cooler, the sunsets have been gorgeous (have you noticed how pretty the fall sunsets are?!) and it’s funny how I’ve been finding myself talking to clients a little more about balance this past week. 

If you live in Iowa you know that cooler temps means we are headed into the season of slippery walkways, snow, and ice, all things that make keeping your balance an extra challenge!

If you are coming into the studio for sessions or taking classes with us virtually you should know that all of our sessions and classes incorporate balance training that will absolutely help you navigate your balance this winter. 

For those of you wanting to do a little more to improve your confidence in your balance be sure to read more about some of my favorite balance tools you can use at home to improve your balance!

There are lots of ways to improve your balance just using your body so you don’t NEED to have a prop or piece of equipment to help you. 

That being said, our clients tell me that they find that using a balance tool like a balance pad, a half foam roller or a balance board makes the experience more fun and motivates them to practice more!

If you can avoid a fall, the cost of having some balance props at home – is well worth it!   

Today I’ll give you a quick description of some of my favorite balance tools so you can decide if you might want one at home to practice with!

Balance Pad: The balance pad is an easy way to make any standing exercise more effective when it comes to improving your balance. The squishyness of the pad encourages the muscles of your foot/ankle to have to continually adjust and work…increasing strength and increasing proprioception. Besides using it to stand on, you can also kneel on the pad to cushion knees and encourage balance work and you can use it under your hips for various exercises. If you are new to balance training I often suggest starting with a balance pad before moving into “balance board” options.  

Small Half foam roller:  The small half foam roller is a great “balance board” alternative that is really small, lightweight and portable and has lots of uses besides just standing on it!

If you need a little something fun to motivate you to practice your balance this inexpensive tool might just be the thing!

Rocker Board:  The Rocker board allows you to build strength and practice your balance while still feeling safe. It is the most basic design of balance boards and a great place to start training if you are new to balance training.

The sturdy board allows you to rock side to side or front to back depending on your feet orientation which is a great way to improve strength and mobility in your feet, ankles and legs.

Round Wobble Board:   The Round Wobble Board is more challenging than a Rocker Balance board and is especially great for building foot/ankle strength in all ranges because of its extra instability. 

I usually recommend this board to clients who have already been practicing on a rocker board and for those who want to take their balance skills to the next level!

If you have any questions about which balance tool would be best for you — email us at

The best way to get better at balance is to practice!   Did you know we have balance class memberships?

Join Carey for Virtual Balance Class every Wednesday!   It’s a virtual class, so you can take it on Wednesdays at 9am live without leaving your home (which is a great option with winter approaching)!    We send the recording to everyone who registers, so if you’re not free at 9am — you can practice later

Are you over age 60?

We have a special class designed for YOU!

We are all aging.   However, how you think about aging, and how you move as you get older is yours to decide. 

You know that I recommend a regular movement practice as a way to keep your body feeling as strong and mobile as you can. If you know you need to move more in your life but feel like you might need some guidance and motivation to help you do it…I have some exciting news for you!    

We have a brand new small group training session on Thursday mornings at 9 am. 

You’ll receive individual attention from our instructor while doing a variety of exercises (some traditional Pilates, some designed to help you build strength, some designed specifically to help improve your balance and most designed to improve your bone strength).    Everything is more fun with a small group of people with similar goals — right?

You can expect to have stronger bones, increase flexibility, improve posture, improve your balance and overall strength if you attend these sessions consistently.  The training session will include exercises done standing, it will include exercises done lying down, exercises done seated and your instructor will always help you adapt exercises to your body.

  • You’ll be a good fit for this small group training session if:
  • You are over 60 and looking for exercise to help you stay strong and flexible
  • You want to work on improving your balance
  • You need to move more in your life (ie – you spend more time sitting than you’d like to admit)
  • You like to have fun while you exercise (who doesn’t right?!!)
  • You enjoy and appreciate feedback from an instructor on how to do movements safely and most effectively in your body
  • You enjoy working with highly trained instructors, but can’t afford $85 a session for private sessions
  • You want to do everything you can to keep your bones healthy and strong
  • You are looking for something to motivate you to exercise regularly
  • You like working out with others but don’t want to be lost in a big group.
  • You love the idea of a workout customized to you!
  • You can commit to a once a week session for 4 weeks on Thursdays at 9 am

Meet Your Instructor


Nancy (age 63),  found Rivercity Pilates in 2014 not long after she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.   The diagnosis scared her a little bit and brought her back to something she’s always known: movement is healing.   

Nancy knew that she wanted to add more movement in her life to stay strong and help her body function at its best.

Nancy started as a client but soon transitioned into a teacher at the Rivercity Pilates because she knew she wanted to share the benefits of movement with others in the way her movement teachers had taught her!   

Nancy teaches a customized session designed to strengthen your entire body help create balance and mobility.   

Register for class!

Are you nodding your head yes?    Do you want to take control of your body and how it ages?   We only have 3 spaces available in this 4 week series  that we’re calling Pilates & More that starts Thursday, October 28.   

Do you know this secret of Active Agers?

If you have hip pain, back pain or even knee pain or discomfort…this blog is for you.  I don’t know about anybody else but in a normal year, having to go to the hospital for any reason isn’t exactly my favorite thing…but the pandemic has shed a whole new light on going to the hospital unless I really, absolutely need to. 

I have heard from many clients who have told me the same thing.  I’ve heard from many new clients who have told me about aches and pains in their hips, their backs and their knees who are worried that whatever is going on is in need of a surgery of procedure that they really don’t want to have to go through right now.   Maybe this is you? 

photo with quote about high heels cause hip pain

First, let me say you should definitely get in to see your doctor if there is something going on that you are concerned about.  But I do have some good news for you from a movement teacher’s perspective when it comes to what I see on a regular basis. I see so many clients who find relief from from achy hips, backs and knees by simply committing to doing some simple exercises that help them balance out the muscles in their body.  I see so many clients who are able to get stronger in a balanced way and it helps them get better at balance so they feel more comfortable navigating our icy winters without getting hurt.

These exercises don’t have to take hours, they don’t have to be complicated and can easily be added into your life.  If you are intrigued by the idea that you could add some simple exercises into your life that might help you feel better and avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor, I’d love to see you in today’s workshop.  

There is nothing I would love more than helping you discover that you can feel better by simply adding some movement time into your life!

Do you have questions about if this workshop would work for you? Email me or call the studio (319-665-2499) and we can chat about it!

Do you have low back or knee pain? I know this workshop is called Healthy Happy Hips….but if you have knee or back discomfort please know that having strong balanced muscles in your hips is absolutely key to keeping your back and your knees healthy and happy too!

I’m going to be sharing some ideas in the workshop that will have a direct effect on your back and your knees!

I think you’ll be amazed at how the simple concepts we are going to learn and practice will change how you think about exercises you are already doing and change how you think about how you move your body when going about your normal days.

Just a reminder…you do not need any Pilates experience to take this workshop and I promise you will benefit even if you haven’t been doing much exercising lately.  All the exercises will be doable by any body no matter your fitness level.

You’ll get the 75 minute workshop, an exercise guide that you can use at home to integrate the exercises into your daily activities, and you can watch the workshop as many times as you want! Purchase the workshop here!