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The Outdoor Fitness Zone is the first of its kind in a hospital setting in San Luis Obispo County. It is open from sunrise to sunset for all community members, hospital visitors and FHMC staff to enjoy, completely free of charge. The Fitness Zone features 11 exercise stations suitable for all fitness levels. The exercise equipment targets leg strength, cardiovascular fitness, core stability, upper body strength and balance. The Fitness Zone also provides a starting point for a one mile walking trail around the hospital. The project was funded by employee donations to the 2008 Employee Caring Circle and a generous grant from TriActive America. The Fitness Zone is one step in FHMC’s efforts to promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle among our family of employees and the community.
Fitness Zone Spotlight: Combo Press and Pull
The Combo Press and Pull in the Fitness Zone targets the upper body, especially the shoulders, pectorals, triceps, biceps, and core muscles. On the “Press” side, sit with feet planted firmly on the ground, grasp the appropriate grips and push away from you while stabilizing with your stomach muscles. On the “Pull” side, sit with feet planted firmly on the ground, grasp the hand grips with palms facing down, and pull down toward your chest slowly. For a variation, try it with your palms facing up. The apparatus uses your own body weight to provide the appropriate resistance.
Fitness Zone Spotlight: The Exercise Bike
The Exercise Bike addresses cardiovascular fitness while strengthening your leg muscles. Begin by sitting on the bike with your feet on the pedals. Grasp the hand grips and begin pedaling at a slow to moderate pace while using your arms to pull the handles back in time with your legs. Increase your pace as you warm up to increase your heart rate and test your cardiovascular endurance. The Exercise Bike can be a very versatile tool in your workout— use it for a five-minute warm up before strength training, or put this apparatus at the heart of your workout for the day.
Fitness Zone Spotlight: The Pull-Up & Dip Station
The Pull-Up & Dip Station is a multipurpose tool that focuses on strength training. On the pull-up side, grasp the horizontal bar with palms facing toward you pull-ups, or palms facing away for chin-ups. For a real challenge, try chin-ups with the wide grips. All of these variations are great exercises for strengthening the back, shoulders, chest, and arms. To perform tricep dips on the other side of the apparatus, grasp the horizontal grips and lift yourself off the ground. Slowly lower yourself toward the ground as your elbows point behind you and bend toward a 90 degree angle. Then push yourself back up to your starting position with arms straight. Lastly, try leg lifts to strengthen your core. Start with your back flat against the plate, forearms resting parallel on the horizontal bars, and your hands on the vertical grips. Slowly raise your legs or knees to be parallel to the ground, and return back the starting position. All of these moves require a stable core. Be especially careful with these exercises: they are difficult, and you might need a partner to spot you!
Fitness Zone Spotlight: The Balance Beams
The Balance Beams target the often-overlooked fitness components of balance and coordination. Start with a simple walk across the beams with your toes pointing the direction of the beam. Always extend your arms for balance. Next, try shuffling sideways with your feet perpendicular to the length of the beams. For variation, travel sideways across the beam while stepping in front of and behind your lead foot. For a real challenge, try walking backward on the beam. Working on the balance beam is a great way to incorporate some variety into your workout while promoting good posture, poise, and coordination. But be careful: you might want to have a spotter with you just in case.
Fitness Zone Spotlight: The Air Walker Plus
The Air Walker Plus is a great tool for cardiovascular training while engaging your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Best of all, there is virtually no painful impact on your knees. Begin by grasping the green, horizontal bar and placing your feet in the foot rests. While engaging your core muscles, begin to slowly swing your right leg forward and your left leg backward, then the opposite. As you get into a rhythm, you can increase your speed and the length of your stride. The Fitness Zone features TWO of these great machines, so you and a friend can work out together. Use the Air Walker for 5-10 minutes as a great warm up for your workout, or stay on for a full 30 minutes to increase your cardiovascular endurance.
Fitness Zone Spotlight: The Multi Bars
The Uneven Bars are a great way to increase flexibility, upper body and lower body strength. On it you can perform a variety of stretching exercises, as well as angled push-ups and reverse pull-ups to further work regions of the abs and back. For angled pushups, grip the bar with hands should width apart and perform pushups with a flexed core. For reverse pull-ups, sit underneath a bar with your legs straight forward. Grasp the bar, engage your core, and pull yourself up. To further increase the difficulty of the exercises try exercising on a bar lower to the ground or doing more repetitions. Anyone can use this apparatus; children, adults and seniors.
Fitness Zone Spotlight: The Double Leg Press
This apparatus is a great tool for developing lower body strength. To start, sit in the seat with your spine against the back rest. Place your feet firmly on the foot rests, engage your quadriceps and slowly straighten your legs. Then lower your self back to the starting position in a slow controlled motion. This piece of equipment uses your own body weight for resistance. Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions for a great quad, hamstring, gluteal and calf workout.