New ways to get fit (and stay that way)


Included in this special report:

Dining/40th Street continues its bid to become a hot dining destination.

Academics/New degree programs from cinema to computer games.

Wellness/Pottruck introduces Pilates and other options outside the gym.

Neighborhood/An image makeover for the special services district.

Buildings/Construction projects continue, and this fall sees the completion of two major buildings.

Networking/Wireless service continues to expand around campus.



It’s official: Pilates is no longer an activity reserved for dancers and Hollywood celebrities. Thanks to this month’s opening of the Pottruck Pilates Studio, now everyone in the Penn community can take advantage of the gentle but demanding exercise that increases flexibility, strength and range of motion.

The Pilates studio is open to anyone at Penn—even if you’re not a member of the Pottruck Center or Hutchinson Gym—and offers instruction on Pilates equipment as well as floor routines, either with trainers or in classes. For the Pilates novice, there are introductory classes which feature stretching and strengthening on a floor mat or on a piece of equipment known as the Reformer. Advanced classes are also available for those who want to combine mat and equipment work. Those seeking one-on-one attention can opt to work with a trainer.

Christine Clay, Pottruck’s associate director of membership and marketing, says that initially the staff set out to create a private stretching area for gym patrons, but decided instead to devote the space to the Pilates studio. That’s because Pilates is an activity that everyone—from a couch potato to an advanced athlete—can do successfully. “You don’t do it to the point of fatigue or pain,” she says. “It’s performed by people of all fitness levels as well as all different ages.”

While you don’t have to be a member of Pottruck Center or Hutchinson Gym to take advantage of the new pilates studio, membership will save you a few dollars on the price of classes or time with a trainer. Check out the Penn Recreation site ( for a complete list of prices, class times and descriptions.

Stay active
The recreation department also offers families the chance to explore the Delaware Valley through its Outdoor Adventure program. Again, no membership required. This fall, options include whitewater rafting in the Poconos or a fishing trip along the Jersey Shore. Visit Penn Recreation’s web site ( for more details.

If you’re recovering from an injury, intimidated by health clubs or just not in the first bloom of youth, Pottruck offers geared-down classes that still keep fitness a priority. Yoga, spinning, weight training and walking are all offered as Active Adult classes. “Instructors are going to be of a more mature age so they can tailor the class,” says Clay. “It’s a much less intimidating workout atmosphere if you’re older or if you’re new to exercise in the health club format.” Clay adds that Director of Recreation Michael Diorka, a former long-distance marathon runner, will lead a class in aqua jogging—a form of exercise that he enjoys and can do even after knee surgery.

Go to the web site ( /activeadult.htm) for a class schedule.

Originally published on September 9, 2004