Members of the Eden Prairie Fire Department are trying out a new way to keep themselves in shape – Pilates.

Lt. Jeff Dezenski, Capt. Dave Gandrud, and firefighters Phil Jones and Katie Russell have been taking a Monday evening Pilates class at Studio L2 Pilates Training Center in Eden Prairie.

Owner Laura Landgren said she specifically created the class for the firefighters to thank them for their contribution to the community. She customizes their weekly workouts to their specific firefighter needs. They started the class about six weeks ago.

“Pilates is a mind/body movement system that strengthens, lengthens and balances the body. Both muscles and joints get worked,” she explained.

Gandrud said general health and wellness is important for all firefighters and so the combination of strength and flexibility training offered by Pilates was appealing to him.

Firefighters can be called upon at any given moment, like from a deep sleep or after a long day at work. Gandrud said he needs to know his body can adapt and take whatever comes his way – such as lifting a patient off the floor, lifting equipment, to ventilating a roof.

“I don’t want to throw out my back or tweak a muscle that either makes me miss work or not be as effective. My weekly Pilates workout has made an impactful difference on my overall movement,” he explained.

Russell said she first tried Pilates class while on vacation and loved it and was happy to find a class that’s closer to home.

“It just gives me more body awareness. I feel like I understand where my core is better. I feel stronger,” she said.

Landgren said if there is more interest from other firefighters they may start a Wednesday night class as well.

— Patty Dexter