The Buzz

Keeping it moving with new ways to work out in Humboldt

Stories Jessica Reinus and emwebadmin

We’re quite lucky to have many cutting-edge gyms, yoga studios, and alternative exercise facilities that offer trendy and diverse exercise options in the area to keep minds and bodies sharp. 

One popular class that has been hitting the gym circuit is Reformer Pilates, where the exercises are done on a specialized apparatus. A carriage rolls back and forth on wheels within an adjustable frame fitted with springs, allowing the user differing levels of resistance and a safe yet challenging workout. 

German-born Joseph Pilates developed his eponymous exercise approach in the 1920s. A former circus performer and boxer, Pilates created toning muscle exercises for patients while living in an internment camp in England during WWI. Pilates began assisting those who were plagued with injuries and diseases with rehabilitation exercises. According to VeryWell Fit, Pilates used things like bed springs and beer keg rings, born from the necessity of invention, which were the predecessors to equipment like the Reformer and Magic Circle used in Pilates classes today.

Just across from the North Coast Coop in downtown Arcata, Movewell is a new Pilates studio committed to bringing classic classes to the community. This January, the studio, formerly known as Core Pilates, reopened its doors under the ownership of Tamra James. She emphasizes functional fitness, and Movewell offers a variety of movement classes, including Barre, yoga, TRX, and aerial yoga. 

Walking into the studio on a cold winter morning, James greets her students, some by name, and others with a warm smile. On this day, she’s teaching Gentle Reformer Pilates, great for beginners and those with injuries. A graduate of Humboldt State’s Kinesiology program, James first discovered Pilates while playing soccer in college. After sustaining various injuries on the field, she used specific Pilates exercises for a faster recovery along with increased flexibility. 

Another fitness trend on Movewell’s schedule is Barre. A challenging hybrid of dance, strength training, yoga, and Pilates, most Barre classes utilize a ballet barre, while incorporating classic ballet moves such as pliés, sautés, and tendus. Combined with high reps of small movements, these moves can be very effective in weight loss, muscle strengthening, and toning without gaining bulk. 

Another new place to get moving is the Humboldt Patient Resource Center (HPRC) in Eureka. The long-standing dispensary opened a second location in 2019, featuring a wellness center known as The Connection ( that offers free and donation-based wellness classes to the community. The Connection’s schedule includes tai chi, Zumba, vinyasa yoga, and qigong classes led by established healers and body workers. Other group class options focus on mental health and spirituality, including Healing with Words, The Power of Mirroring, and Playing into Transformation. Such resources can be a vital step in allowing the synergistic body and mind connection to take place, which is essential for optimal healing.

Whatever fitness trends find their way into your life this spring, remember these words of wisdom from Joseph Pilates: “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.” 

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