| 2003-09-01 13:55, by Julie Solheim-Roe|
New fitness system turns couch potatoes into armchair troopers
The University of Warwick is promoting healthier lifestyles for even the most deconditioned by increasing awareness of a unique fitness system designed to combat couch potato culture.
The Exten Fitness System uses state of the art motorised chairs to give users a safe all-body workout and help those who are unfit or overweight get in shape. The unique technology offers an alternative to the exercise machines currently found in gyms or rehabilitation centres and provides a new way of achieving a healthier lifestyle.
The idea of the Fitness System was developed by Birmingham based Exten Fitness Systems. However, it was when the company approached the University of Warwick's Innovation Direct service, a free consultancy service for West Midlands based SMEs that the equipment's real potential was explored.
University of Warwick researchers helped Exten Fitness Systems identify the benefits to machine users, their product's key markets and market the no-sweat work out that is set to help counter the UK''s ''couch potato'' culture.A total of 23 exercises from a 10 chair system means that users can complete a workout in 30 minutes. The benefits of the system include increased muscle tone and mobility, improved circulation and coordination, and noticeable inch loss.
Those who are unfit, especially females over 40, feel uncomfortable or are unfamiliar with using exercise equipment, and may be reluctant to utilise traditional exercise machines. Also, often those who are deconditioned, overweight, or aging are not exercisers by nature and the thought of working out in a health facility intimidates them.
Don Rickard from Warwick University's Innovation-Direct, said: "Until now health clubs have not been particularly successful in bringing the deconditioned population into fitness facilities. However, the Exten is breaking the mould and helping people with other priorities than looking good in the gym, to exercise."
Cliff Johnson, Director of Exten Fitness Systems, said, "The Exten Fitness System makes exercise attractive to those who are unfit. It offers seniors, overweight people and those undergoing physiotherapy the chance to exercise safely. The collaboration with Innovation Direct has successfully helped us attract people to workout and promote the system to health clubs and health professionals. Following trials it is now being used by physiotherapists, Local Authorities and private gyms throughout the UK."