Health and fitness and the quest for the body beautiful have long since been an obsession with the human race. A more sedentary life style adopted by many living in the western world in more recent decades has brought about increased popularity in many forms of personal fitness and exercise. Yoga, Pilates and aerobics enjoy great popularity and the ready availability of a plethora of fitness equipment and aids has increased the effectiveness of exercise both in the gym and at home. Equipment to improve stamina, strength, muscle tone, balance and suppleness is produced and marketed on a massive scale with major brands spending large amounts on research and development into materials and technology.
The use of plastics has meant that equipment has become lighter, more flexible, more robust, more colourful and less expensive by comparison with traditional rubber, wood, etc. so that sometimes with very little investment, safe and effective exercise can be undertaken by all. Equipment has been developed which helps to target specific areas of the body or to have specific benefits. A number of examples are shown here.
The Wobble board (1) helps to improve balance and posture by strengthening ankles and lower leg muscles and in doing so reduces the risk of injury. It is manufactured by L and G Jakobs GmbH, Germany, from a rigid polyethylene and incorporates a textured upper surface.
The Physio-Roll (2) helps to re-educate muscles after injury, improves balance and co-ordination, improves muscle strength and use of the Therapy Ball (3) adds resistance to muscles whilst exercising. Both pieces are manufactured by Ledraplastic SpA, Italy, from soft PVC.
A high intensity, medium impact cardiovascular workout can be obtained by using the Speed Jump Rope (4). Using it improves flexibility, co-ordination and balance and improves muscle tone and bone density. It is made by Reebok from a lightweight translucent PVC rope for optimum flexibility and speed, and incorporates low friction, free turning high impact polypropylene hand grips.
The Hand Grip with counter (5) aids the development of grip and wrist and forearm strength. Also manufactured by Reebok, it is made from high density, semi-opaque acrylic.