(Editors Note: Several of the blogs referred to in this post have since been updated. The links refer to those updated postings)

Transitioning to a New Year is a great time to look back and ahead!

If you read through the “Darla Says” blogs posted here since January 2011, you’ll get a good refresher on posture and alignment – how to achieve it, how easy it is to improve fitness by focusing on posture in everyday activities, and how simple exercises can strengthen the muscles that will lead to a healthier you, a you that feels and looks taller, slimmer and more attractive.  That’s a lot of ground to cover in less than a year!  I hope you take a few minutes to look back at the 2011 blogs – to get yourself ready for a great 2012!

In January, “Darla Says…Let the Blog Begin!” introduced the ME System, the unique method of individualized exercise I’ve developed.  Motion Empowered (and Mind Empowered), it focuses on developing and maintaining good posture and alignment to achieve balance and strength.  Introduced and practiced in individual and group sessions, its principles can be applied to everyday activities.  After all: All exercise is – is movement.

The Importance of Good Posture was presented in February’s blog.  The Elements of Better Posture describes how to achieve a standing posture that will help align and lengthen your spine.  Perfect posture for you is the goal.  If any element of Better Posture is not comfortable for you, there are exercises we can do to help you achieve your best form.

In March, we covered Sitting Well.  With so many people spending so much time sitting at their desks working on computers, or driving in cars, practicing good posture when sitting, as well as when sitting down or standing up, can add to your overall fitness and comfort.

May’s posting, ME and My Bag, included information on buying, carrying, and maneuvering bags to reduce strain and injuries.  Fashionable and sensible – now that’s the plan!  My tips for “layering” bags might help you, too.

As summer travel time grew, the ME and Driving blog included tips for drivers and passengers that will help you arrive at your destination without straining yourself or feeling cramped and out of sorts.

ME for You explains why I’ve developed the ME System to be so individualized, and why everyone I work with starts with one-on-one sessions.  Even in small group classes, your workout will be unique, as your body is different from every other body, and we take into account any new issues each time you come to Designer Fitness.

ME and Fitness Equipment explained my slow approach to introducing the use of exercise equipment. YOU are the best equipment, and less is more, especially at first – the first focus is on your core strength and balance, and on my getting to know your weaknesses and issues.  An inner thigh squeeze described in this blog can be done with a medium-sized, semi-soft ball.

In September, Awareness – Breast Cancer was posted to raise awareness for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  This blog was devoted to sharing information from Dr. Alissa Shulman, a board-certified plastic surgeon who practices in Sarasota. Good information to keep in mind, all the time!

ME and My Abs presented a version of the torso curl in October, an exercise that uses a large ball (or a couch or chair of appropriate height).  Follow the detailed explanation to maintain focus and awareness, so you gain maximum benefit and minimize risk of discomfort or injury.

November’s Hamstring & Core Lift is a great follow-up to the previous month’s large ball exercise.  It includes pictures to help guide you, as well as a reminder that each person’s body is different and that an exercise that’s good for some people might not be good for you.

So here it is, December, the end of our first blog-year.  I hope you’ve enjoyed your Darla Says…reading and that you’ve gained some insight and benefit from it.  I also hope you keep reading and encourage your friends to check out the DF blogs.  Remember that I’ll address any questions you post on a blog and appreciate any comments or feedback.

I hope you’ve enjoyed 2011 as much as I have. I wish you a fit and prosperous and Happy New Year!

Ta Da!