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Rooted in Fitness

Kelsey Mercer, owner of Roots, Mind, Body, Health and Fitness Center, is the picture of toughness. While obtaining her training and education in exercise physiology and Pilates, she did not let anything get in the way of her goal, and that included raising six children.

“I’ve been in fitness for over 20 years and started teaching aerobics in high school,” said Mercer. “My intention was to earn a degree in physical therapy, but plans changed with my husband’s job, so I became a personal trainer. We lived in Payson at the time and built a studio off our home. I had a client who was in a bad accident and she suggested I teach Pilates to help her recover, so I found training in Scottsdale.”

Mercer received her certification in Pilates in 2001, which includes all levels of Pilates, but she took the training a few steps further, to include Stott Pilates.

“The founders, Linsey and Moriah Merrithew, adopted the foundations of Joseph Pilates (the originator of Pilates) and formed a team of kinesiologists, physical therapists and biomechanists to study the movements of current body trends and adapted them to be more integrative. For instance, 10 years ago, people crunched the phone between their ear and shoulders. Now we’re seeing that everyone’s posture has their heads down. Through Stott Pilates, we strive to lift the head and shoulders up again.”

Explaining that it is a science-based understanding of what we know of the body, Mercer added that “intelligent exercise” is her motto.

When working with her golf clients, Mercer analyzes their swing and helps them learn what muscles are imbalanced and which ones need to be corrected. She adds that when golfers are effective during golf, they won’t get any injuries.

“Golfers get used to not having awareness of their feet grounded and rooted into the ground and their stabilization. Their core of twisting out of the spine, and making adaptive changes or shifts in order to hit the ball can make them lose efficiency because they’re not firing the right muscles. So, I work alongside them and use corrective movement.”

“I’ve worked with Kelsey for five summers when I’m in Flagstaff,” said Frank Hertz, a retired international business consultant and golfer. “She’s an extremely knowledgeable person and I believe the training has helped my golf game over the years. I believe Pilates helps prevent injuries and extends your time playing golf, especially if you’re dedicated it to it.”

Stating that Pilates is a lifestyle, Mercer believes that Stott Pilates is the strongest workout. “Some people think Pilates is not enough but it’s actually what Cirque de Soleil uses for workouts. The strongest of the strong are functional in it and it’s all about functional fitness. Pilates is popular among professional football players as well.”

Karen Erhard, a licensed loan officer with Arizona Wholesale Mortgage, called her workout with Mercer, “‘My adult recess.’ What she has to offer is unique and special. I’m transformed, not only physically but I’m happier and stronger. I did not expect this to happen. The machines are in great condition and her classes are always a challenge and it’s never the same routine. I think of her as my unicorn. No one else can occupy my attention the like that.” Erhard has been going to Roots for about three years.

“She knows her field and knows the human body as well as any physical therapist I’ve been to,” said Eileen Altman, 72, a retired schoolteacher. “I had a cycling accident and surgery two times in six months. Kelsey has helped me a lot. I, now, can do more than I could before. She is a godsend, so positive and encouraging. Amazing woman. I’ve been going to Roots for two years and I’ve seen incredible results.”

Mercer’s husband, Preston, is a battalion chief for the Forest Service. People ask me how I do it and I say, “Preston and God are my how. Behind every strong and confident woman is an even stronger and uplifting man.”

Claiming that parenting is by far her hardest job, Mercer said, “Today, I can see the fruits of my labor and the dynamics of a large family play out; we all help each other and we live with no regrets and no wasted time. My kids know how to do many things that they probably wouldn’t have if there were only two and I could do it for them.”

Mercer, who has a strong faith, was an only child and lost her mom when she was 16.

“We go to bed exhausted and rise early with the sun. Our family is excited for all life brings in every day and we try to squeeze all the juiciness of this sweet life out moment by moment. All the rest are just details.” FBN

By V. Ronnie Tierney, FBN

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