Branch out to balance your fitness regimen

Piyo combines Pilates and Yoga for a workout that incorporates both flexibility and weight bearing exercises.

April is Exercise Month, and health professionals say trying new activities can be the key to balancing your exercise routine.

In this week's Family First segment, KRCG 13 spoke with SSM Health physical therapist assistant Kara Neihart about how branching out can benefit the whole family.

Neihart said it was an injury that let her know it was a time for a change. "I had a slight AC separation in my left shoulder, I tried to do some weight training in the gym, and it kept popping and feeling really uncomfortable for me, and I could never get it stronger," she said.

Neihart said she took a chance and tried Piyo, a workout that combines Pilates and Yoga.

"I decided to try it since I like Pilates for the core strength, and I thought I'd give the yoga part a try to gain more flexibility,” she said. “I ended up falling in love with it."

On top of that, she said she credits Piyo with helping her shoulder heal.

That's why Neihart said she suggests adding something new to your exercise regimen if you're stuck at a plateau. "Let's face it - going to the gym intimidates a lot of people. People just don't like lifting weights,” she said. “Pilates and Yoga don’t use any weights. It's kind of a tricky exercise because you don't even realize you're strengthening your body; it just happens along the way as you do the moves.”

As a result, Neihart said she’s learned that switching it up can be healthy for more than just one member of the family.

"If you start at the smallest change in your life toward being healthy, your kids pick up on that immediately, and they want to be just like you,” she said.

She’s seen the payoff first hand with her daughter Annabelle: "She says, ‘Mom, come on, let's go do our stretches!’ And that really motivates me whenever she says that, because then I'm like, 'Absolutely! Let's do it.'"

Branch out this April and add a new activity to your fitness routine – you might find you motivate your whole family along the way.

Watch KRCG 13 next Friday at 5 p.m. for our next Family First segment - we'll talk with an orthopedic surgeon about how to make exercise a lifelong habit.

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