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Get in Shape by Defying Gravity

By rob13     May 1, 2007 in Health
In the resort town of Saratoga Springs, NY, health clubs are finding the benefits of gravity machines as a way for their members to get fit.
Saratoga Springs, NY may be better known for their health springs and as the August place to be for New York socialites, but now Saratoga may also be known as the 'gravity' exercise place to be.
During any weekday morning, men and women can be seen at the local YMCA pushing, pulling and grunting their way through at set of exercises on a 'slanted glideboards' machine. These 'Y' members use this machine to push with their legs, then pull with their arms — up and down diagonally, and this in turn forces these members to keep their glutes nice and tight.
The YMCA is one of the roughly 30 health clubs across the US to add gravity defying machines since the start of this year. Since health clubs generate roughly $17.6 billion dollars a year, health clubs will try anything in order to retain and bring in new members.
Brooke Correia of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, said her club is always looking for new ways to make exercising more fun, effective, and challenging.
Gyms have come a long way since the medicine ball to the gut and the jiggling of hip and belly belts in trying to help people stay in shape and loose weight. Gym equipment is more sophisticated now because these machines can measure your heart rate and keep tabs on the distance you run, walk, or row.
Gravity equipment is now starting to compete with StairMasters and Pilates equipment for space time on the gym floor. The hook for using gravity machines is that these machines offer a range of cardio and strength-training exercises — you can even do Pilates on it — in a short period of time. The track is adjustable; the steeper the incline, the harder the workout.
"It's very intense," said Joanne Leiser after a 30-minute workout at the Saratoga YMCA. "It's quick and it's cool."
The gravity machines used in health clubs were introduced in 2003 by San Diego-based efi Sports Medicine, creator of the Total Gym. And believe it or not, you have probably seen the low-tech version of these machines being sold by Chuck Norris on TV infomercials.
These machines are usually given 'studio' times were groups of up to 12 people will form a semi-circle for a 30 minute workout while sweating to beats of Beyonce and Shakira.
"It's not beating the heck out of your body," said student Lori Tynan. "The machine keeps everything smooth."
More about Exercise, Gravity, Machines