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On Fitness
BY MOLLY MARTIN
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• Beeping timers

• Youth track training

• Aromatherapy book

• Senior exercise

• Free bicycle helmets

• Senior exercise

Q. I have spinal stenosis and do exercises that I repeat at 5-second intervals. I'm getting tired of counting! Do you know of any kind of timer that beeps every five seconds? — M.R.

A. I checked around and queried local trainers, and think your best option might be a simple digital timer that you can set to count down from 5 seconds and repeat, such as Franklin's model FR-391 ($13.95; 800-321-2353; www.franklinclock.com). It's small but has a large liquid-crystal display. Other options:

• A metronome. New digital models have more speed settings than the classic mechanical ones. I've seen one as low as $18.11 at www.musicbasics.com.

• Make a cassette tape of a chime or a ringing bell at the desired intervals.

• A sports watch with a countdown timer and repeat option. Many brands are available at most sporting-goods stores (look under Sporting Goods in the Yellow Pages) and some drug and discount stores. Among the models most mentioned include the Timex VO2 Rush ($38 and up), which has a large face and numbers, and two linked timers, Nike Triax ($60 and up) and the VibraLite3, which also blinks or vibrates, for those with hearing difficulties or to not disturb others ($48.95 from Senior Shops, 800-894-9549; www.seniorshops.com). Road Runner Sports also has a variety of watches (800-636-3560; www.roadrunnersports.com).

Fitness Notebook
Fitness news you can use
Rope-skipping in Renton
René Bibaud, a five-time speed and freestyle jump-rope champion, will perform and tell about her life as a professional rope jumper Thursday at Exercise Express in Renton (3901 N.E. 4th St.; www.exercisexpress.com). Bibaud, a performer and choreographer for Cirque Du Soleil's show "Quidam," has two new Rope Work videos. The event is free; call 425-255-1475 to register.
Total Gym recall
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Fitness Quest have announced a voluntary recall of Total Gym 1000 and Total Gym Pro, serial numbers DK000001 through DK129350, models with serial number prefixes XO or SM, and models without serial numbers (310,000 machines recalled). There have been about 400 reports of handles and cables breaking and 30 reports of injuries, including lacerations and abrasions. The units were sold at sporting-goods stores, Web sites, catalogs and direct sales from June 1997 through October 2001 for between $180 and $200. Models sold on television infomercials are not included in this recall. Consumers are advised to stop using this equipment immediately and order a free repair kit by calling 800-321-9236 between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Friday.
Q. How can I order that technical aromatherapy book you referred to recently?

A. Telephone orders for "How Aromatherapy Works" by Michael Alexander ($85, Whole Spectrum Arts and Publications) are taken at 800-822-9698. — H.B.

Q. My 12-year-old daughter runs the 800 for her school track team (her third year in this event). Do you know of any freelance coaches/trainers who work with kids, i.e., who'd meet with her on an individual or semi-private basis to develop a training program, evaluate her form, etc.? She takes running pretty seriously, and it would be nice to have some more professional feedback. — H.B.

A. One good possibility is to hook up with a local track club. At www.pntf.org/html/youthclubs2.htm you'll find a directory of those in Western Washington connected with the Pacific Northwest Track and Field Association, which in turn is associated with U.S.A. Track and Field (the sport's national governing body). With a club, she can get to know coaches, train, compete in local meets and work toward regional and national events, including the Junior Olympics. Q. How can I order that technical aromatherapy book you referred to recently?

A. Telephone orders for "How Aromatherapy Works" by Michael Alexander ($85, Whole Spectrum Arts and Publications) are taken at 800-822-9698.

Q. My 12-year-old daughter runs the 800 for her school track team (her third year in this event). Do you know of any freelance coaches/trainers who work with kids, i.e., who'd meet with her on an individual or semi-private basis to develop a training program, evaluate her form, etc.? She takes running pretty seriously, and it would be nice to have some more professional feedback. — H.B.

A. One good possibility is to hook up with a local track club. At www.pntf.org/html/youthclubs2.htm you'll find a directory of those in Western Washington connected with the Pacific Northwest Track and Field Association, which in turn is associated with U.S.A. Track and Field (the sport's national governing body). With a club, she can get to know coaches, train, compete in local meets and work toward regional and national events, including the Junior Olympics.

Q. My mom needs help! She has taken over leading exercise classes in her mobile-park community, and they've been doing the same set of exercises forever (1968 is printed on the cards)! Where do we look for new exercises, or at least an elder-friendly video they might try? — T.R.

A. Your mom might get some help from the government, which offers a free 80-page booklet with basic exercises for balance, strength and flexibility for seniors (800-222-2225 or weboflife.ksc.nasa.gov. Demonstrations are online at www.nih.gov/nia. The booklet and accompanying video are $7 by check or money order, payable to the National Institute on Aging, sent to NIAIC, Dept. W, P.O. Box 8057, Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057.

Another handy book is "How to Prevent Falls" by Betty Perkins-Carpenter ($11.95, Senior Fitness Productions; www.amazon.com).

As for videos, www.collagevideo.com (800-433-6769) has 13 titles for seniors (click the top "GO" on the left, then Specialty Workouts, then Seniors).

Q. There once was a program that gave away free bicycle helmets for children. Does it still exist?

A. I don't know if this is the one you'd heard of, but now through Labor Day, children up to 18 can receive free bicycle helmets and bicycle-safety training and win prizes in bicycle safety rodeos in a program conducted by the Seattle-based nonprofit Head Injury Hotline, in partnership with Cascade Bicycle Club, Safe Kids, Think First and Seattle King County Health Department. For dates and locations, 206-621-8558 or go to www.headinjury.com.

Finally, for the woman looking for exercise videos with choreography of Michael Jackson videos, a reader recommends live lessons from Dave Serfling, who teaches a variety of dance styles at all levels, including some sessions specializing in Michael Jackson and Prince moves, at the Rockin' Horse Dance Barn in Renton (11820 150th Ave. S.E.). For more information, call 425-255-9211 or www.learn2dance4fun.com (but don't follow the Web site's directions to the Dance Barn, Serfling says; instead call for better ones).

Molly Martin is assistant editor of Pacific Northwest magazine. She can be reached at 206-464-8243, mmartin@seattletimes.com or P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111.

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