The busiest time of year for Push Pedal Pull starts around the time other retail sales slow. The Fargo business that sells exercise equipment sees more customers come in during late December, January and February, said manager Kent Casperson. "It...
The busiest time of year for Push Pedal Pull starts around the time other retail sales slow.
The Fargo business that sells exercise equipment sees more customers come in during late December, January and February, said manager Kent Casperson.
"It's all because of those wonderful New Year's resolutions," he said.
Whether you're in the market for some home equipment or returning to the gym after a lengthy hiatus, you may be motivated to meet your resolution with the help of new equipment and classes.
Here is a sampling of what you might find:
The YMCA in downtown Fargo set up its NuStep shortly before the new year and it has been used nonstop since then, said Ralph Jose, fitness trainer.
"I can't keep people off it," he says.
Recumbent cross trainers have been around for years, but they're growing in popularity. The equipment works both upper and lower body but puts no pressure on the back. The chair swivels so it's easy to get in and out of.
The equipment is especially useful for those who have restricted mobility.
"You used to just see them in hospitals where people did physical therapy; now they're showing up everywhere," Casperson says.
Lady Wellness in Fargo recently added a Cardio Wave. The aerobic equipment mimics a roller-blading or skating movement that targets outer thighs, inner thighs and glute muscles.
"You don't stay on it for 30 minutes," says Amy Wallach, operations manager and a group exercise instructor. "It's intense. After three minutes, you know what body parts you're working."
Stretching is often the last thing people think about when they work out, says Hidie Larson, a personal trainer at Courts Plus in Fargo. But flexibility is an important part of exercise and general health.
To encourage more of it, a Stretch Trainer uses body weight to help extend major muscles from lower back and hamstrings to inner thighs.
Courts Plus purchased two of the machines recently and would like to get more, Larson says. The machine resembles a low-sitting bike and illustrations demonstrate how to do various stretches.
As an addition to a home gym or for something new at the health club, functional trainers are becoming the next big thing in strength training, Casperson said.
Instead of focusing on one muscle at a time, the machine allows users to work a couple of muscle groups at a time.
For example, you can lunge while doing a bicep curl, said Wallacher of Lady Wellness. "It offers a greater range of motion than many types of strength-training equipment," she said. "It's a different way of working muscles."
Users also stand or sit without support, meaning there's more emphasis on core strength, Wallacher said.
Old gear, new ideas
No matter what aerobic or strength equipment you prefer, most have been updated with new technology, said Rory Beil, an exercise physiologist at MeritCare.
One Nike shoe includes computer chips that serve as a pedometer that tracks the number of steps the wearer takes, he said. Wireless heart rate monitors now include GPS systems that will track how far and fast the wearer has traveled.
Although still rare in area public health clubs, stationery bikes with virtual reality screens give riders the impression they're legitimately biking somewhere, he said.
None of the technology will make you more fit, but it may keep you from getting bored, Beil said.
"It's all about helping you stay fresh and to make it mentally fun," he said.
Back to classes
Health clubs also offer a number of classes to help you keep that New Year's resolution. Look for classes that are a combination of old favorites.
For example, several classes at the YMCA now regularly use the BOSU, a fitness ball cut in half. Participants stand, jump or do squats on the half-ball, strengthening their core and balance, said Judy Whittlesey, membership marketing director.
Lady Wellness offers Budokon, a mind-body class based on martial arts, yoga and meditation that has been big with Hollywood stars, Wallach said. At Court Plus, trainers turned a tennis game into a group exercise activity by having participants run back and forth, hitting balls in a coordinated matter.
"It's all about making things feel new" Beil said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534