Barb Gordon spent some time on Thursday, Sept. 12, teaching some Barriere residents how to use the outdoor exercise equipment at Fadear Park. She held two classes that day, one at noon and one at 5 p.m., and one on Friday at 11 a.m.
There are two main things to remember when using the equipment. The first is to keep your back straight (ribs up) and abs (or stomach) tight. This posture gives your body the proper support while doing the exercises.
The second thing to remember, is to not hold your breath while exercising; remember to breathe. When going against gravity, such as pushing up on the bars on the shoulder press station – breathe out. When going with gravity, bringing the bars back down – breathe in.
There are two machines particularly good for a cardio workout, and for the legs – the air walker and the cycle stations. For upper body work, there are the shoulder press and lateral pull down stations, as well as the rower.
For a full body workout, try the elliptical. It will strengthen the arms, shoulder, upper back, legs and core … pretty much everything.
Then for arms and shoulders, give the tai chi wheels a try. To use this one properly take a bit of coordination until you get the hang of it. It’s almost like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. The idea is to have one hand on each wheel, palms down, with one hand on the top on one side, and the other on the bottom. Then do gentle circles in one direction, leaning into the wheels just a bit, and rocking slightly from side to side as each hand reaches the top. The point of this exercise is not how fast you do it, but to do it in a steady, smooth rhythm.
One more thing to remember, do a few stretches before and after using the machines.