Get into the groove

Craig area offers new fitness ideas

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Enjoying the holiday season can be jolly for the spirit but disastrous for the waistline.

Fortunately there are more ways to get into shape than to get out of it and lately some of those new trends are slowly catching on in the area.

According to Ed Shehlin, the Director of Physical Education for Colorado Northwestern Community College, the phone calls from people asking about alternatives classes aside from aerobics and weight training are increasing.

Kickboxing, which became popular in more metropolitan areas years ago, recently came in demand at Trapper's Health Club. The class usually sports an almost full membership at 17 to 20 people on a regular basis, he said.

"When kickboxing first became a fad, people around here didn't get into it much," Stehlin said. "Now that class is pretty much maxed out."

Stehlin has also fielded an increase in requests for yoga and pilates classes, he said.

The club offers one yoga class, but he said taking on pilates classes at the gym would require more equipment and space, a task he doesn't think the club can take on.

However CNCC added some new fitness classes next term which include pilates and a couple different types of yoga.

Offering Pilates classes may be a smart move, according to predictions from The American Council on Exercise. The non-profit group that promotes benefits of exercise said the popularity of pilates will only continue to gain momentum in the future.

"Pilates will continue to grow as one of the nation's most popular fitness trends," the Council said. "This form of exercise is ideal for individuals seeking to improve strength, posture, flexibility and body awareness. Every pilates exercise movement requires control of the entire body and focuses on the quality of movement, correct alignment and proper breathing."

Another fairly new concept in exercise is the rapidly spreading Curves gyms.

Craig's Curves for Women owner Tammie Hanel said that the short intervals of movement and machines in 30-minute workouts helped her to drop eight clothes sizes and helped make her fibromyalsia condition bearable.

Every 15 minutes a new Curves gym opens somewhere on the planet, Hanel said, making it one of the world's fastest growing businesses.

Some reason for its popularity may be its low-key atmosphere with no mirrors and because it caters to women of a spectrum of exercise abilities, members said.

"You don't have to have fancy outfits to come here," Hanel said. "It's for everybody of all ages. It doesn't matter what your limitations are."

Curves' members may have different needs than those jumping on the latest fitness trends because they some are recovering from surgeries or have arthritis, she said.

A workout at Curves allows members to move at their own pace.

"It's totally different than some of the new types of exercises," Hanel said. "A lot of people don't want to do pilates because it stresses too many parts of their body."

"It's a place to get healthy," employee Kathy Shea said. "The equipment is very user friendly and self-directed. Some people come in here for the social aspect as well working out."

"You can leave here sopping wet if you want to," she added. "Or you can just come in here to move around."

The idea of working out at gyms or clubs has caught on with Americans as an increasing 36 million have signed on, said the Consumer Action Center. According to the Center's research, Americans fit into three types of categories. Forty percent never exercise, 30 percent exercise on occasion and the other 30 percent exercise frequently.

At a local level it's often difficult to forecast the next big fitness trend and sometimes even harder to provide it in a small venue, said Stehlin.

Step and slide aerobics has enjoyed varying levels of success at Trappers over the years, he said.

"In the cities these trends spring up because they have the facilities to do it," Stehlin said. "It's hard to say what the next big thing will be. Up here it's not that big a deal because the populace doesn't change that much. A little bit of those new trends catch on but not that much."

For example, the gym's rock-climbing gets more use during the spring months prior to climbing season, he said.

"You never can figure out what the next big thing is going to be," Stehlin said. "Right now it's pilates. It's such a specific thing that it takes a lot of training to teach."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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