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Jump & Bounce


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Jump & Bounce

by John Paul, 365Gay.com Fitness writer

Across the country people are jumping and bouncing their way to fitness. It's called balance training and its proponents cut a swath from pro-athletes to Olympians to weekend warriors.

Balance training can be as simple as standing on one foot or as complex and competitive as gymnastics.

But the current trend is core conditioning which focuses on strengthening muscles of the trunk and legs, especially ones that control the spine. Along with this, the training lets participants practice using feedback from the eyes, ears, nerves and muscles which control balance.

Health clubs and gyms use balance training to condition muscles and improve reflexes. But, although researchers think the training has benefits, they temper their enthusiasm with warnings that balance training has limitations.

Fitness clubs typically offer a range of programs such as yoga, Pilates and step training classes on platforms.

One example is the Reebok Core Board, a low, elliptical wobbly plastic form 22 inches across. The board is sold for home as well as club use.

Another is the Bosu Balance Trainer, an inflated plastic bubble mounted on a flat base 25 inches in diameter. and the Bosu half dome, which so far is only in clubs.

"We know the importance of core stability training to improve the quality of life and daily activities, such as sitting at your desk, improving posture, or to lift your dog to pet him," said Norris Tomlinson, national director for group exercise at the 4 million-member Bally Total Fitness chain.

The Bosu program that the chain started about 18 months ago is growing so fast that it soon will rival aerobics mainstay Step in popularity, Tomlinson said.

©365Gay.com 2006

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