Trying something different

fitness

Over the last few months I have been fortunate to try out some new exercise equipment all with different fitness benefits.

During an action-packed 3-day FitEx conference in November last year, I found out about two new fitness products. Although both of them have been around for a while they are new to me.

It is always good to try out different types of exercise as this will challenge your body. This is especially beneficial when we sometimes hit those plateaus with our exercise goals. Why not try some new things to change things up a bit?

Gymstick

A Gymstick is a fibreglass pole that has that has two resistance bands attached to the ends of it. It is actually quite a cool invention. It is made in Finland and it looks like this:

gymstick

The Gymstick takes a while to get used to. Putting the straps around your feet can be challenging when standing up (there is a trick to make it easy though). Once you have it on you are away!

The Gymstick works your core, makes your muscles and bones stronger, and it will challenge your balance which is fantastic and it gets your heart rate up! Additional benefits are improved muscle coordination and flexibility. What a top tool.

When you exercise with the Gymstick you will soon notice that you are working quite a few muscle groups at the same time. This is great as this is how we move anyway and it makes exercising with the Gymstick very time efficient. It is easy to see how everyday activities like walking, squatting and bending would become easier after exercising with the Gymstick.

There are so many different exercises you can do with it. Some of the exercises include doing trios. This is when there is one basic move and then you add on two other progressions. This is how it is used in the main Gymstick classes.

The other cool thing is that it comes in different colours: green, blue, black, silver and gold, each colour being a different level of resistance. You can modify the stick during the exercise to make it easy or more challenging!

There is a really neat portable version that retracts and then pulls out so you can use it at its full length. The Bootcamp version comes with different resistance bands and a neat camo carry bag. (Next on my wishlist)!

There is also a Nordic Gymstick stick that you can for walking or tramping. This will help to increase the speed of your walking and your balance. It will give you an upper body work out too. The Nordic Gymstick comes apart with a resistance band inside. This allows you to do the exercises in the similar to the Gymstick original, as you can see in this video.

There is also Gymstick aqua for use in the pool environment.

I was very impressed with the Gymstick and I am now the proud owner of some for my classes and my own fitness. I was so intrigued by it that I am I became a qualified Gymstick instructor. Check out this video to see a class in action.

By the way pretty much anyone can use this stick, I know you will like it. There are a few qualified instructors in NZ and two of us in Wellington. Check out Gymstick.com for more information.

Power Plate

I have seen this around over the years in shopping malls and some gyms. I have also heard about vibration training, but was not sure about all the benefits.

It was used in the Russian space programme by astronauts. There was concern that their muscles and bones were becoming wasted in space.

The power plate is a vibrating machine that has a platform big enough to do squats, lunges or push ups and a variety of other exercises on.

During my 3-day fitness conference I had a go. The sensation I felt was like an intense vibration throughout the body. It was a different feeling. I could understand how a half-hour workout on the power plate would be enough time. Clients reported feeling energized after a session on the Power Plate. Muscle soreness post workout was not sore like it can be post a gym work out.

From there I linked in with a power plate instructor – Jude O’Sullivan from Aevum Wellness in Tauranga.

fitness

Jude describes some of the benefits below:

  • Reduction in body fat
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Enhances functional performance and muscle activation
  • Postural alignment and core control
  • Balance, stability and proprioceptive awareness
  • Circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid
  • Increasing bone density
  • Massaging tight muscles

This machine could be used across lots of ages and people with different fitness levels and health issues, although there are some limitations.

To find out more or if there is a Power Plate in your area you could Google Power plate and the city you wish to use it in.

Segway

Ok I have seen this thing and thought oh no that is a really lazy way of getting around, I would rather walk than hop on that. My kids have seen it around too and they both thought how cool that would be to have a ride.

segway

On holiday in Queenstown in January we saw an ad for it in the local tourist magazine and thought we would try it.

I was surprised to feel just how much balance was required to operate the Segway. You had to stand on the platform and hold onto the handle that moved in all directions. Using your body weight either tipped forward, backward or leaning to the side was the way you moved it.

As you could imagine I felt physically excited as you needed to use your core to stabilise. As I took off on the one hour trip I made sure my core was on and really connected with it through the ride.

My core was further challenged on terrain was inclining or declining or uneven. As I leaned to one side I could feel my obliques kick in. I really loved that and kept leaning, alternating sides (exercise junkie) on the Segway even when I didn’t need to.

My legs were working to stabilise and my arms also to a lesser degree. My heart rate wasn’t really elevated as it would be if I was walking, but the slight surge of adrenaline that comes with trying a new thing and being slightly excited would have bumped it up.

I came away with a new view on the Segway. It does actually work some muscles, so that is pretty cool. Next time I see one on the road I will definitely be looking at it in a different light.

There are different locations in NZ for where you can try them out. Have a look at Segway.co.nz

There you go. Don’t be afraid to try some new things this year to spice up your exercise routine. It is most probably just what you need to keep those results happening and good luck with your New Year’s resolutions for exercise.

Lynda Lovatt

Lynda Lovatt is a qualified fitness exercise consultant with a special interest in pregnancy, post-natal fitness and promoting fitness for mums of older children. She delivers menopausal fitness classes and personal training sessions in Wellington. See her website for more about Lynda.

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