Weekly Wellness

Weekly Wellness

by Laura Dillavou

In today’s ever-changing fitness world, there are new andinteresting tools being marketed to the public every day. Equipmentlike a large rubber ball, also known as a fitness ball, ayoga/pilates mat and a resistance band are all things that arechanging the way people go about their daily fitness routines.

The fitness ball, marketed by Reebok, Nike, Windsor Pilates, andindependent vendors is used in classes, in conjunction with videos,and by itself. The ball, measuring anywhere from 55 cm to 75 cm,and made of sturdy, thick rubber, is used to perfect and tonemuscles in the ‘core’ of the body.

Fitness balls can be used to strengthen abdominals and provide anice change from a classic crunch. When placed between the feet andthen elevated, at the same time with the hands, it works the musclein the core of the body. If used at a lower elevation, the lowerabdominal muscles will be used.

Sitting on the fitness ball not only provides anotheralternative exercise, but it also greatly improves balance andposture. Sitting on a round object will work the back muscles,strengthening and toning them over time.

A yoga and/or pilates mat is useful not only at home, but alsoin classes and at the gym. A yoga mat made by Nike has specialtraction grooves to help stabilize the feet and the mat on aslippery floor. These mats, made of a soft, rubbery material, areportable and roll up to fit easily into a gym bag.

A typical mat is 68 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 1/8 inchthick. It protects against cold, hard floors, and is a must-havefor any serious yoga enthusiast.

Another fitness tool becoming more and more popular for women isa resistance band. Also known as a Theraband, these strips ofstretchy rubber, ranging from 12 inches to four feet, are commonlyused for physical therapy. Now they are also being used in theweight room and at home. Since the resistance band is so small andeasy to pack, it also makes it the ideal fitness routine to takewith you on a trip or to the office.

Resistance bands come in three styles: an ‘O’ shaped cuff, usedaround the ankles; an ‘8’ shaped band, which can be used for upperbody toning; and the straight band, which can be used in a varietyof ways. They also come in many lengths, suitable to your own body.By using your own body weight and strength, you work your ownmuscles against the targeted area.

For instance, if you lay flat on your back, legs perpendicularto the floor, with the band positioned flat across the bottom ofyour shoes, hanging on to each end of the band with your hands, youare in a position to work the outer and inner thighs, as well asabs, if you keep them tight throughout the exercise.

As more and more steps are taken to make fitness fun andinteresting, we see a variety of products come and go on themarket. Learning about any new equipment is relatively easy. Aquick visit to reebok.com, bodytrends.com, or any discount retailstore will give you loads of information on fitness kits, newproducts and helpful exercise hints.

Until then, try one of these out and you may find that it notonly enhances your workout, but the results are better thanever!