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Bouncing Your Way Into Fitness

October 2010

By Dina Pugh, San Francisco

My roommate Heidi is always the first to try any new fitness activity, so I wasn't surprised when she told me about House of Air, a trampoline gym in an former airplane hangar. Just a few of the offerings include dodgeball, fitness classes, and open jump time. House of Air is catching on with people looking for a fun, novel experience, mixed with social interaction and a total body workout. It may even provide some competition for last year's big indoor wall climbing trend.

I've also been noticing TRX suspension training equipment - that I reported on in last year's Health & Wellness blog - becoming a popular outdoor activity for groups! More and more, the people I know are looking for fitness routines that take them into interesting settings and enable them to meet new people.

Traditional cardio workouts, pilates and yoga are also getting a run for their money. Fun and invigorating Cardio Barre classes employ a ballet bar and is popular with my friends who want to strengthen their core but also break a sweat. My friend Veronica says, "I like the emphasis on the core and long lean muscles...and using the bar is fun, not boring like yoga or machines. It's a little bit different and it's actually hard. Usually I find aerobic workouts aren't that hard or are too monotonous...like Spin."

Veronica also told me that while Acai berries seem to be in every drink now, from Jamba Juice's Pre-Boosted Smoothie to Snapple's Acai Mixed Berry Red Tea, she prefers her anti-oxidants in the form of good old blueberries and cranberries. Simply put, "I like the taste better." Veronica also drinks a lot of green tea, admittedly seduced by all the hype. But ultimately she feels that it works: "The anti-oxidants boost my metabolism and suppress my hunger."

My other roommate Gabby, a very regimented snacker, loves Nabisco's 100 Calorie Packs because "they are prepackaged and automatically limiting." Right now in the pantry she has two kinds - chocolate chip cookies and Cheese Nips, to satisfy either the sweet or savory craving.

When it comes to apparel, my fitness-savvy friends are all raving about sneakers with negative heel technology. Veronica, who has the Reebok EasyTone variety, claims, "If I walk a long distance in them I have muscle soreness in my hamstrings and butt that I wouldn't normally. I play basketball in them too. I like the style of mine because the look more normal. Most others, like the Skechers [ShapeUps], look weird."

Natural hair and skin products like the Korres at Sephora are in the medicine cabinet of my house. I even saw that Target has a whole aisle of natural and organic products, indicating a wider mainstream trend. "Non-sulphate" shampoos and conditioners, that used to be only in high-end salons, are now being made by major manufacturers like L'Oreal. They are known to prevent drying out hair, especially after you've undergone coloring or the vastly popular Brazilian Blowout straightening treatment.

Green spas, like Avra Organic Spa, are also catching on all over the city. They use all-natural products in facials, like pumpkin and fruit acids, rather than harsh chemicals.

Spas in this economy? My friends and I are not paying full price for spa treatments, we are waiting until we get offers from Groupon and Yelp's newly launched Daily Deals that offer 50% and more off spa services and fitness classes. Gabby, who is usually the one to send me these offers tells me, "You dont want to join more than one because they suck you in and you end up signing on for everything."

What is especially "out" in the world of health and wellness? Colonics! Enough people I know have had bad experiences with them and now research has proven that they flush out the good bacteria that your body needs along with the bad. Just ask my doctor friend Jen, "You don't need colonics to clean you out, that's what your liver is for!" So my friends look toward more intuitively healthy detox methods like periods of not drinking alcohol or coffee, eating high fiber, well balanced meals with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with a sprinkle or capsule of dandelion root to naturally cleanse the liver.

Health & Fitness
San Francisco

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