Help for cyclists,
The agency has set up www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike to provide information about route and trail maps for all areas of the state, making connections to Washington State Ferries and Amtrak Cascades, bicycling safety, biking to work and school, tips for commuters, route-closure information, grant opportunities, technical help and links to other bicycle-related resources. Whew!
On the walking site, www.wsdot.wa.gov/walk has maps and information for walking and hiking trails, safety tips, links and more.
"He hasn't had any kind of injury, so he doesn't qualify for physical therapy according to Medicare rules," she says, "but does have a VCR and might use an illustrated exercise book."
Anne McDowell, a senior fitness instructor for the Bellevue Family YMCA, responded with many ideas:
One simple solution would be mall walking in air-conditioned comfort.
An exercise program that includes gentle stretching and strength training will help maintain a better quality of life as he deals with the aches and pains of arthritis. (Of course, McDowell says, it's important for him to check with his doctor before beginning any new program.)
For seniors who can't get out, she suggests a 48-minute video from the National Institute on Aging. The video comes with an 80-page booklet that has pictures of exercises for strength training, balance and stretching. It can be ordered at 1-800-222-2225.
"If he wants more of a challenge, he can use resistance tools such as elastic tubing that comes with large, padded handles or light hand weights." Once he gets further into the fitness habit, you might encourage him to try a senior fitness class at a local YMCA or senior center, McDowell advised.
Someone who just moved here was looking to buy home gym equipment and wanted to know the best way to track it down, so I turned to P.J. Glassey, owner of the X Gym. He offered a long list of ideas: "The best equipment really depends on preference and price range. Vectra (at Omni) looks the coolest (the least like gym equipment) and is good quality as well, but pretty pricey. If they can afford Vectra they can probably afford a Chameleon gym, which hides when not in use and is more functional (www.chameleongym.net). Body Solid (Fitness Outlet) is cheaper, very functional and also good quality but looks like a gym.
"I would never recommend free-weight barbells for a home gym simply because they are too dangerous. If someone has to train with a barbell they should get a Smith machine with linear bearings (never linear bushings) and always use the safety stops.
Dumbbells are always a great workout. You can do more with dumbbells than a barbell anyway, and if you have an accident they tend to fall to the side of you instead of on you. The worst a dumbbell will do is bruises or smashed toes. A barbell, on the other hand, can collapse some vertebrae or smash a trachea both of which can be fatal, and have been in many cases among solo garage weight lifters.
"Even the best machine will be good only until your body adapts to it. That is why I usually recommend that people buy a pair of dumbbells, a Swiss ball and a weight bench to start. If they don't end up using it, they've wasted less money, and if they do use it, they have a bigger variety of exercises for less money."
So what happens if you lose or break a piece of your beloved (and expensive) equipment?
Ginny Pietila, co-owner of Club Emerald on Mercer Island, said her business buys most of their "oddball" parts and supplies from a company named Sportsmith (www.sportsmith.net). "They have a phenomenal array of parts and pieces for just about every equipment manufacturer out there," Pietila says.
Richard Seven is a Pacific Northwest magazine staff writer.
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