Lifestyle Medicine at Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami
It was way back in the 1970s when California visionary Nathan Pritikin introduced the concept of combining of exercise and good nutrition to prevent, and even reverse, heart disease, and other lifestyle-induced medical conditions.
Since then, countless scientific studies have proven him correct, and his pioneering philosophy continues to prevail at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami. We spoke with Carol Espel, MS, Fitness & Program Director, about this based-on-science retreat, and how she incorporates wellness into her own life.
How long have you been with Pritikin Longevity Center, and what do you do at this property?
I joined the Pritikin team in Miami as the Fitness Director two years ago, after over 30 years of senior leadership in the fitness industry, both nationally and abroad.
There are so many hotels, resorts, retreats and tour operators offering wellness programs and packages – tell us a bit about Pritikin, and what are the main point(s) of distinction?
Pritikin offers one and two-week Longevity and Lifestyle Programs based on each guest’s individual health needs and goals. One of the biggest differentiators at Pritikin is the integrated, holistic approach to health, wellness, fitness and sustainability. Our team of medical doctors, behavioral psychologists, culinary experts, nutritionists and exercise specialists deliver a compelling experience, that’s not only safe and appropriate but relevant and results-focused.
Both programs include physician and specialist-led educational seminars, off-site excursions, plus a wide range of structured small group training sessions including those dealing with strength training, cardiovascular exercise, balance and stability, spinning, Latin dance, and others. Plus there are lectures on topics such as belly fat, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, mindset maintenance, emotional eating and achieving a perfect posture.
What pandemic-inspired policies and procedures has Pritikin implemented to keep travelers healthy and safe?
The safely of our guests’ and employees is our top priority. The Pritikin programs are supervised by a team of on-site physicians. Their guidance has been invaluable. We continually monitor the situation, and adapt new policies and procedures as needed.
What does Pritikin offer that might attract a customer like the readers of LA Yoga?
Taking a mindfulness approach to most every aspect of the guest experience at Pritikin builds the personal value of the stay, but more importantly, supports the continued success after leaving. The specialized week-long programs such as Mind-Body Week and Women’s Health Week are engaging and purposeful and great for most anyone seeking more self-care formats, behavioral change, healthier lives and overall calm and peace of mind.
How do you incorporate wellness into your own daily life?
My morning ritual starts with a ”prayer” of gratitude for my life, my family and a hope for peace for all of us and the world at large. Next, on to my favorite coffee and then to the gym or Pilates workout. I am a huge fan of hot yoga, even in Miami! Also, I have made sleeping and meditating a priority.
What are the top wellness trends you are seeing at Pritikin?
The top wellness trends I am seeing among our guests are mostly focused on finding ways to keep movement and exercise fresh and fun. For instance, our newer outdoor excursion classes include a full morning Miami Beach workout. We continually add new and innovative classes that specialize in meditation, self-care, Pilates, Barre, and even HIIT programs for fitter populations that are all aspirational and motivational.
Do you feel technology is important as it pertains to wellness, and if yes, how and why? If no, why not?
Technology is incorporated throughout Pritikin to provide a more personalized, informed guest experiences. The personal tracking APPS and data available are huge among the fitness community here. We include specialized educational lectures that introduce all the possibilities for evaluating individual real-time data.
For instance, number of steps per day, HR, sleep, et cetera, and exactly what that means to each guest. We use the MYZONE system for heart rate monitoring in classes, utilize the FIT 3D Body composition and postural assessments, plus we have our proprietary APPs, including our 3D Body Scanner, that are accessible and simple to use, to name a few.
Do you and, if yes, how do you incorporate the local community or culture into the programing at Pritikin?
We offer all kinds of off-site excursions that showcase Miami and the surrounding areas. We highlight special restaurant trips, places like the Design District, local State parks and beaches, and even a grocery shopping trip with the nutrition team to learn how to make better food choices.
What is your final note of advice for living your best life?
Slow down. Make each moment count. Nothing is more valuable than your time. Take time to just breathe, to hug and love. Celebrate all the gifts of your life and share your energy and love with others.
Co-Founder and President /CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association, Anne Dimon has been a travel writer and industry journalist for close to 25 years, and has traveled the world as a columnist/contributor to a variety of publications. Anne is also Owner/ Editor of TravelToWellness.com launched in 2004 as the first online magazine/resource for the wellness-minded traveler. Prior to her life as a journalist, Anne was president of her own public relations company specializing in hospitality. She has also worked in the hotel industry as a director of public relations. An acknowledged wellness travel expert and industry consultant, Anne is also the co-author of The Travel Institute’s new Wellness Travel Specialist Course.