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28 Jun 2013 @ 10:06 | Lost Ferret

Gym Kit for Armed Forces

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GymCompany has been a proud supplier to all branches of the military for many years. It made us happy to see the BBC doing a profile on how front line troops manage to exercise whilst in combat. 

Click here to go to BBC website to read the article. 

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31 Oct 2012 @ 12:10 | Michelle Caines

Elderly people 'staying at home for fear of falling' - Falls CAN and SHOULD be prevented with Exercise

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Strength Trainer for SeniorsAn article in the news today suggesting that a fear of falling is making many elderly people prisoners in their own homes, is very sad, and this does not need to be the case.  The article suprises me in that it does not mention anywhere the word 'exercise' - a proven factor towards fall and injury prevention.

Strength training has many benefits, including developing and strengthening the muscles, joints and bones, particularly important for the older population. With the correct guidance and encouragement from a qualified fitness professional, the elderly, like anybody else can use gym equipment to develop strength, muscular endurance, balance, flexibility, coordination and proprioception. All of the above will ensure less likelihood of sustaining an injury or fall as well as improve fitness generally and functionality for daily activities and quality of life.

Aging does not affect the muscles ability to get stronger with regular exercise. If we do not strength train, inevitably we will lose some muscle mass. Seniors that do strength train regularly can maintain their muscle mass, promote bone health and reduce the risk of chronic disease as well as reduce blood pressure, improve mental health and adding years to their life.

One study on 90-year-old women in a nursing home found that 12 weeks of strength training took the equivalent of 20 years off their thigh muscle age, resulting in improved walking and mobility.

The government guidelines for physical activity is 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. This does not mean that you have to join a gym. It simply means get moving! Whether it be a brisk walk to the shops, carrying the shopping, housework, gardening. Home gym equipment such as a recumbent exercise bike is a great low impact exercise machine for older people and exercise classes can also be fun and interactive - a social gathering to look forward to each week perhaps. The exercises can be as simple as getting up from a chair, stepping up onto a step, using resistance bands, small hand and ankle weights and light dumbbells. The exercise does not have to be high intensity as long as it is programmed and pitched correctly for the audience.

It is never too late to start - in fact sedentary people may see the greatest gains within a few weeks. If you know an elderly person who needs help then help them! If you are an elderly person in need of some help, look for a local class or a Personal Trainer who can come to you. Many trainers also now run weekly sessions from residential homes. You don't want to be housebound for fear of the unknown if you are otherwise healthy.

 

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26 Oct 2012 @ 10:10 | Michelle Caines

Don't Fall off the Fitness Wagon this Autumn!

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Clocks Go BackJust because the clocks are about to change, doesn't mean you have to! Don't get stuck in a fitness rut.

The autumn months are a great time to exercise outdoors and enjoy the cooler temperatures, the crisp air, picking berries, the gorgeous canopy of foliage, and the crunch of leaves underfoot.

Find an inspiring activity to get you moving again. If you’re bored with your workout, why not try one of these ideas. Whatever your preference there is an activity that suits everyone. Whether you prefer to work out alone or in a group, indoors or out. Here are a few ideas.

Hit the Trails

Trail running (or walking) makes running a little bit more interesting than the norm. Running through wooded areas, fields and paths, multi terrain away from the busy main roads. Trail running is a bit more challenging too, uneven surfaces means that you need more ankle support so its a good idea to invest in a proper pair of trail or walking shoes before you start and remember safety in numbers, don't go off into isolated areas alone.

Green Gym Workouts

Check out your local park, green outdoor gyms are cropping up all over the place. Work out with a group of friends while having fun and getting some fresh air. Green gyms usually have 4 to 12 fitness stations or obstacles where you can follow the direction board and perform lunges, squats, push-ups, tricep dips etc.

Outdoor Fitness Camps

Fitness boot camp classes in parks have been steadily gaining popularity over the past few years. Contrary to belief, they are not just a summer activity. A typical outdoor boot camp experience can often utilise what the great outdoors has to offer and might involve running up and down hills or trails, climbing trees, swinging on monkey bars and other high-intensity exercises using your body weight and obstacles such as fallen trees. You can guarantee to get a full body workout.

Indoor triathlon

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean triathlon season has to come to an end. Why not try an indoor triathlon. If you run a gym facility offer it up as a challenge to your members. Here is a common format for the event:

20-minute Treadmill run;

30-minute Exercise Bike

10-minute swim (or Rower if you don't have a pool)

He or she who covers the most distance overall wins!

Weight Training

Whilst cardio is important, don’t forget about your strength training. Start pumping iron and get that body you want in just a few months, ready for next summer. If you need some help at the start, try a class, kettlercise and CrossFit are popular, BUT a word to the wise: CrossFit is very tough stuff so make sure you have a good base fitness as well as a few weeks weight training under your belt before you start. Consider hiring a Personal Trainer for a few weeks who can introduce you to the gym equipment until you are comfortable with what you are doing.

Turn Garden Chores into a Workout Raking Leaves

Never underestimate the power of gardening! At this time of year as the leaves are falling from the trees, raking leaves is a great activity to do and get the kids involved too! Raking leaves works your core muscles and upper body. In particular, you use your back and stomach muscles to maintain stability and your arms to perform the raking motion. A 135 lb person could burn about 240 calories raking leaves for an hour. Try raking for 10 minutes left-handed and swap and do another 10 minutes right-handed. There you have it, your very own home gym right before your eyes.

 

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23 Oct 2012 @ 11:10 | Michelle Caines

10 Tips on staying motivated during the darker months

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Autumn Jogging It comes around at the same time every year, but nonetheless always seems to spring upon us so quickly, the transition from summer to autumn. The trees change colour and drop their leaves, the air is cooler and the nights are drawing in meaning shorter days. Some people love this time of year, some don’t – I fall in the latter category of those that don’t, a summer person through and through. That said Autumn and Winter on a crisp cold day with sunny blue skies can be fantastic, but these can be few and far between so how do we stay motivated to keep on working out through these darker times.

1. Set yourself a goal. This is my top piece of advice. If you are a runner, book yourself into a race in the spring, something to train towards. Be it your first half marathon or marathon, it will keep you focused and motivated to train through the winter. If you are a gym bunny, why not enter a fitness competition or a strongman/strong girl contest. Goals do not have to be mammoth, set bite size ones like, I will train 3 x a week for 30 minutes or keep a pair of skinny jeans or a dress in your wardrobe that you want to fit into.

2. Book a Holiday or Trip. Similar to setting yourself a goal but if you book yourself a late spring break or a summer holiday then you are going to want to get into shape ready. The winter is a great time to hit the gym and work on that bikini body ready to be revealed in the summer!

3. Buddy Up. Make a pact with a friend or partner to workout together. If you can afford to, hire a Personal Trainer. Having somebody to be accountable to, does make you think twice about shying away or cancelling. You can motivate one another. Instead of meeting for that coffee and catch up with a friend, why not meet at the gym instead and catch up that way.

4. Make more of your lunch break. Some people have the luxury of having gyms on site – great if you do – use it! If you don’t then instead of working through lunch or sitting in the canteen, use the time wisely. Take your trainers to work with you. Go for a walk or jog for half an hour. Perhaps even do a bodyweight ‘no gym’ workout, these can be very effective to. There is nothing quite like the feeling you get after exercising, if you could bottle it you could sell it and make millions, and the natural daylight and vitamin D fix you can get from being outdoors too.

5. Don’t make the mistake of going straight home from work. You finish work and the last thing you feel like doing is going to the gym, BUT… if you go before you get home and get yourself all cosy, put the kettle on and put your feet up, you will feel much better for it. Sometimes going home first you can lose the willpower to get out the door again. So instead make it part of your day, like an appointment mark it in your calendar. Say to yourself, I am going to spend 45 minutes in the gym X amount of times per week after work. Once you get into the habit, it will become second nature to you.

TV Workout 6. Invest in some Home Gym Equipment.    If you really cannot bear the thought of leaving the warmth of your home, then why not invest in your very own piece of fitness equipment?

Home Gyms are becoming more popular. You do not need lots of space, you can get many compact, folding pieces of equipment, whether your preference is the treadmill, rower, exercise bike or crosstrainer, you can place it in front of your TV and exercise while watching your favorite soap! Kill two birds with one stone.

7. Get lost in Music. For me losing myself in music, particularly when running, can be a real release. Make yourself a playlist of all your favorite, feel good, upbeat tunes, turn them on and go. You will be surprised how your favorite tunes can motivate and keep you focused.

8. Track your progress.  Keep a workout diary so you can look back and see how much you have improved. There are many online and smart phone apps program to help log and track your fitness. GPS apps for running and cycling, apps for tracking sets in the gym, even apps to track your calorie intake. Find one that works for you. I find that on uploading my data after a run or a session in the gym it always fascinates me seeing what I did in graph form and seeing how my pace has improved or my strength gains over a period of time, it keeps me pushing on.

9. Know that you are getting fit, strong and sexy!  Know that by exercising you are helping yourself on a journey to fitness, improved energy levels and strength, less stress and better health. Exercise can help fight off many diseases, reduce risks of falls and injuries as well as make you look and feel great. Who wouldn’t want that?

10. Reward your efforts. It doesn’t have to be all work and no play. If you put the hard work in then you should not feel guilty about indulging now and then! A glass or two of wine, some chocolate, maybe even book yourself into a relaxing spa day, something to think about and look forward to while you are training!

Do you have any tips on keeping motivated through the winter? Share them with us.

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04 Oct 2012 @ 14:10 | Michelle Caines

A Marathon Task - London 2013 are you in?

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London Marathon

Long Distance Running - you either love it or loathe it! As a runner myself I am in the camp 'I do it for enjoyment and to challenge myself but not to a real serious competitive level'. There are mixed opinions depending on who you talk to about running and it seems that people really do either love it loathe it. Sprinting on the other hand is another story...

The London Marathon Ballot entries have been selected and if like me you received your ‘SORRY, you have been unsuccessful’ pack in the post, don’t despair! There are still charity places left (if you can raise enough funds) and if not there are many other great marathons to enter. Running a marathon can be daunting task, even for most-seasoned of runners.

The decision to run a marathon is not one to take lightly. It requires weeks and weeks of dedicated training in all weather conditions. For London, training would generally start between about now and Christmas time and last through until April. Marathon Training plans can last anywhere between 12 and 16 weeks.

Look after your Heart

You have to ensure that you are fit to compete before entering a marathon. Running is great for the heart and lungs and over the past 32 years that London Marathon has been running, three quarters of a million runners have successfully crossed the finish line.

However, there have been 8 cases of fatality and although this is rare, the most recent casualty was only earlier this year. In these cases, the runners had serious underlying heart conditions and were unaware of this. Had they received medical advice and undergone relevant cardiac assessment or stress testing usually involving a treadmill, then these conditions may have been detected.

Just because you are fit, or pass a fitness test, sadly does not always mean you are safe. If you have any concerns at all then do consult your doctor, particularly if heart disease or sudden death is hereditary in your family or if you are at high risk of high cholesterol or high blood pressure. It is much better to be on the safe side. 

Symptoms to look out for include chest pain, discomfort on exertion, sudden shortness of breath or rapid palpitations. Running with such symptoms is a big no no and will shorten your running career if not end it. As a runner I think it is important to find your niche.

Marathons are not for everyone and they are very demanding on the body. By your niche, I mean, are you a sprinter, a middle distance or long distance runner? Do you prefer running on or off road? Only by trying out different ways of training and running and experimenting with different terrains will you find what you are comfortable with.

Treadmill running can be highly beneficial and can bring an extra dimension to your training sessions, providing an alternative to poor weather or unlit streets as the long dark nights draw in, also allowing you to lock into a specific pace, providing more cushioning than continually pounding the unforgiving tarmac and depending on the model of treadmill; a range of different programmes to add some variety to your workouts.

Whether you are training indoors or out, plodding around the same route or same session each time is a guaranteed route to boredom. One treadmill solution is to continually vary your workout. Make sure that you use a variety of training methods to keep yourself motivated. And don't neglect the strength training too. Training with free weights and gym equipment will serve to strengthen the muscles and joints and improve your running but also make you less susceptible to injury.

The word from the Virgin London Marathon Medical Director, Dr. Sanjay Sharma is that if you cannot run 15 miles comfortably the month before a marathon – you will not manage it in safety or enjoy the experience. If this is the case, stick to a half for now and enter the big one when you are 100% ready…

If you have a Marathon or a running story you would like to share with us please do get in touch.  We would love to hear from you.

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27 Sep 2012 @ 09:09 | Michelle Caines

How Obesity will affect our Future Generations

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obese childObesity is a growing concern. The last decade has seen statistics grow and more and more people being classed as obese, and the problem is now sharply increasing in our children, with just over 33% of 11-year-olds now overweight or obese and 22% of four and 5-year-olds. That’s a shocking number of children.

The recent start of the new school year was greeted with reports of a dramatic rise in demand for extra-large uniforms for primary school pupils. 11 year old children wearing size 14 clothes.

There are concerns that if this present trend continues then obesity related diseases like diabetes, raised blood pressure and cholesterol and even heart disease which is usually uncommon in youngsters, will occur at much younger ages. The current generation of children is the first generation expected not to outlive their parents - a very sad statistic.

Nutrition should be on the curriculum as compulsory in schools. Healthy eating - tried and tested. Homework set on researching and trying new foods, maybe looking into detail at labels and what they mean. The differences between good fats and bad ones. Education is key. While the kids are young and impressionable enough and are a captive audience, they need to be educated.

Physical Activity is key and goes hand in hand with nutrition. PE is still taught in schools, I took PE as a GSCE subject and we learned all about the human body and basic anatomy and physiology, I don't know how much of PE nowadays is classroom based learning about the body and how it works but it too should be on the curriculum as compulsory alongside the practical sports side.

Exercise and Fitness Equipment has come a long way since the treadmill was first introduced in 1875. By the 1960s, treadmills were common in homes and gyms. Elliptical Crosstrainer machines came later and were first released in the mid-1990s and have become very popular.

Articles like the one released last week about trampolining being dangerous for kids’ do not help! Kids need to be encouraged to be more active, not to be sat in front of the TV or the games console after school and at the weekends. Join a sports club, play outside with other kids, that’s what we had to do.

Michelle Obama - Lets Move CampaignIn the United States, at the legislative level, First Lady Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' campaign has brought national attention to the childhood obesity cause. Something like this needs to be happening in the UK too.

Celebrity Chef, Jamie Oliver, works hard to tirelessly campaign for healthier school dinners and education about food.  There are people out there passionate enough to have a voice, but will they be heard over the billions and billions of pounds that are spent on the food industry in advertising their newest ‘sugar free’ or ‘reduced fat’ ready meal? We will see.

 

Leading a healthy lifestyle, granted it can be hard. Particularly when you are limited on time and surrounded by people and society who want to give you all the unhealthy foods and drinks and make you feel sometimes like you are unusual if you do not choose to accept. But like anything once it becomes a habit, it will be second nature and you will wonder why you didn't start sooner. There is a lot of willpower involved in trying to make changes for the better, particularly relating to diet - it is too easy to just have one more, or start tomorrow.

So let us help starting now, to change the way our children and our children's children think about physical activity and food. After all, they are our future generations of military personnel, teachers, doctors, sporting heroes and our future role models. What is stopping you from starting today?

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21 Sep 2012 @ 16:09 | Michelle Caines

Triathlon Explained

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Triathlon Training Were you inspired by the Olympic Games? Do you need a challenge to keep you focused on your training through the winter?

As the darker shorter days are fast approaching, now is a good time to think about your sporting goals for the coming year and start planning your training programme.

 

Having a goal in mind is a good way to keep you motivated and focused. Joining a club is an great way to involved in sports, meet and train with other aspiring athletes.

Have you ever considered Triathlon?

A triathlon is a physical competition involving three disciplines: swimming, cycling and running. These three events are completed in succession without breaks.

Triathlons are endurance activities covering long distances. Triathlon Season generally runs from the springtime April/May through to September so the winter is a good time to keep the training going.

There are varying degrees of races you can train for so if you are a newbie and fancy having a go then you might be suited to trying a sprint triathlon as a taster introduction to Tri’s or even a Duathlon if water isn’t your thing.

Here are a few explanations as to all the different types of races that you can train for from the beginner to the Ironman veterans among you!

Super sprint Triathlon

400m Swim

10km Bike Ride

2.5km Run Sprint

Sprint Triathlon

Sprint triathlons are shorter distance triathlons, This is half the distance of a standard / Olympic triathlon and less than a quarter of the distance of the Ironman! Due to their shorter distances, sprint triathlons have become increasingly popular and are ideal for beginners.

750m Swim

20 Km Bike Ride

5 Km Run

The Standard Triathlon / Olympic Triathlon

The most common distance

1500 Metre Swim

40 Km Bike Ride

10 Kilometer Run

Half Ironman (70.3) and Ironman Triathlon

The most gruelling of the triathlon distances, This is what an Ironman consists of. There is a 17 hour time limit in order to finish an Ironman race.

The Half-Ironman is often called a "70.3" because that is the total number of miles travelled in this race.

2.4 Mile Swim

112 Mile Bike Ride

26.2 Mile (Marathon) Run

Duathlon

If, like me, you fancy having a go at a Tri but have the disadvantage of not being a strong swimmer (there are many people who cannot swim, are afraid of water etc plus the fact that most swims are in the open water and not a pool) then perhaps a Duathlon is the right choice for you.

Duathlons are most similar to triathlons, with the key difference being the lack of a swimming leg.

Sprint distance

5km Swim

20km Bike

2.5km Run

Standard distance

10km Swim

40km Bike

10km Run

Long distance

10km Swim

150km Bike

30k Run

When it comes to competing there are usually two categories: Elite - professional triathletes who compete at an international level and age group - triathletes who are non-professional.

There is no need to invest in lots of special gear as a beginner as the swim, run and bike kit can double up. As long as outfit you choose is comfortable and made of a breathable fabric. Shoes are the most important part of your running equipment. Your feet need to be well supported and comfortable, visit a running shoe specialist shop before you buy and have a gait analysis done so that the right shoes are recommended.

Training for an event like this can be varied with indoor and outdoor training weather permitting.  The beauty of home fitness equipment is that it can assist greatly in helping you to reach your training goals when the weather is bad or you just dont fancy going out.

Why not try the following 'indoor triathlon' challenge as part of your training regime. 

1000 meter row on the rowing machine

1000 meter on the Exerise Bike

1000 meter run on the Treadmill

As you increase your endurance and strength you can set yourself longer challenges!

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18 Sep 2012 @ 12:09 | sarah bugliarello

Don't be a Statistic!

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Sole Fitness Cardio

Did you know that Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the biggest killer in the UK?

Did you know that by doing approximately 30 minutes of exercise a day you could reduce the risk of CVD dramatically?

Did you know that Sole Fitness is a Best Buy award winning brand as voted for buy a leading consumer magazine?

Don't become a statistic!

You're not just buying a piece of fitness equipment, you're improving your future.

Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical

Sole Fitness F85 Treadmill

Sole Fitness F65 Treadmill

Sole B94 upright bike

All of the above machines can be purchased outright and we can even offer 0% interest free finance of 6 months (6 months interest free finance only on special offer products).

So why not give us a call today on 0800 328 4440 to find out about our amazing deals on Sole Fitness products. Exclusive offers available only to GymCompany customers.

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12 Sep 2012 @ 12:09 | Michelle Caines

Table Tennis continues to increase in popularity following the Olympics!

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Table Tennis has come a long way from its origins in the late 19th century, when it developed as an after-dinner game played by upper-class English families.

More than a century later, Table Tennis is a breathtaking spectacle that blends power, speed, skill and subtlety. It’s the biggest participation sport in the world and also an Olympic sport! Team GB did not win the Table Tennis medals this time around with China sweeping up the Gold medals but this sport is up and coming – there is always Rio 2016!

Did you know that Table Tennis is also known as ‘Ping Pong’, ‘Whiff Waff’ and ‘Flim Flam’, reflecting the sound of the ball being struck and bouncing off the table!

Butterfly table tennis equipment is used all over the world at every level of table tennis. The world leader in table tennis. 

Butterfly is a brand created by the Tamasu Co of Tokyo in 1954. For most of the last 50 years, Butterfly has been at the forefront of the development of top performance table tennis equipment and evidence of this is the list of World, European and Commonwealth champions to have used and recommended Butterfly table tennis equipment. Butterfly were the main supplier of the tables to London 2012.

Table tennis is a competitive game but it can also be a social game too, becoming more and more popular in clubs and in the home. It is a great way for kids to learn hand to eye coordination and also adults alike. Play is fast and demands quick reactions.  It is a game that can be played by anybody of any age and ability.

The new Butterfly Junior Rollaway table is a great entry level table. Popular with both schools and families alike, the Butterfly Junior Table is 3/4 size, and ideal either for those with limited playing area, or whose children are still a little too small to play on a full-size table.

Take a look at our website to see the full range of table tennis tables and fitness equipment.

Watch the video link here for a taster of table tennis – London 2012 may now be over but the legacy lives on.

 

 

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04 Sep 2012 @ 15:09 | Michelle Caines

Choose a Wellness life with the new Forma range from Technogym

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Technogym, one of the Worlds Top Brands in Fitness and Gym Equipment. Perhaps this is why they were chosen as the Official Fitness Equipment Supplier to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nerio Alessandri, President and Founder of Technogym said “London 2012 will represent a unique opportunity for the UK to promote the wellness lifestyle and attract more people to regular physical activity”. And we really do hope that the legacy of the games will live on and people will be inspired to lead healthier, active lifestyles.

Simply moving a little each day can open the doors to health and improve your relationship with your Technogym Forma body. If your daily commitments are keeping you from consolidating this healthy habit, don't get discouraged. Look around you. Where better than your own home to get a jump on things and take a healthy turn in your life? It takes less room than you think!

Run, Spazio, Bike, Cross and Recline: thanks to these five pieces of equipment, the new Forma Range will help you find wellness at home with a different movement every day. Designed to fit in many different spaces, they'll turn an unused area into the new wellness corner in your home. Here are a few hints to get you started.

Jogging in the bathroom: if you'd like to capitalize on time you have before your bath or shower to squeeze in 15-20 minutes of jogging, open Spazio Forma and train. When it's closed, the treadmill takes up less than a square metre and it looks good too.

Bike in the bedroom: if you set aside the beginning or the end of the day for exercise, Bike Forma by your bedside will always be on hand for a workout before breakfast or after your day in the office.

Crosstrainer in the living room: with Cross Forma you can work out in broad curves in your living room without rearranging the furniture. At just a half metre in width and boasting a compact design, it fits discreetly into even the most elegant rooms.

Train with the right motivation, anytime you want - Today you can train at home with the same results you get in the gym.

With the Goal Oriented Displays you'll get the motivation you need to become more consistent every day. Set your goals and monitor time, calories burned, and distance covered in every phase of your workout.

Thanks to the Smooth Motion transmission belt, movement on all the equipment is always fluid and silent, letting you exercise whenever you want, at any time of day and without disrupting others.

Leave room for wellness: with the Forma range, exercise becomes a regular and most importantly enjoyable appointment in your day, and a fundamental stage in your new, healthy lifestyle!

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