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Those who can afford the time and expense involved may wish to take advantage of the facilities offered by a health gymnasium. None of the equipment and other facilities provided by a gymnasium are strictly necessary to the process of getting fit, but they can add interest and variety to your physical exercises. Another advantage offered by a good gymnasium is constant supervision, which enables you to exercise with safety confidence and a congenial atmosphere. Exercising with people who share a common purpose can provide extra enjoyment and inventive.
It is necessary first of all to distinguish between the different types of gymnasiums. Training gymnasiums are essentially for athletes and other men and women who wish to develop their skills for particular athletic activities. They provide facilities for the athletes to keep themselves fit for their chosen sports. The health gymnasium provides advice, instruction, and facilities for everyone who wishes to become or keep fit, whatever his or her initial physical condition. Their clients range from professional athletes to office workers who wish only to make the best use of their lunch hours.
The health gymnasium varies widely in quality. When choosing one for yourself, you should check that it is staffed by qualified and responsible instructors. You may feel flattered to be trained by a sports celebrity, but professionally trained physiotherapists and physical education instructors can be equally, if not more, beneficial to an unfit person. You should expect to be asked details of your medical history and to be carefully examined before being allowed to use all the facilities.
Three types of exercise
The accessories provided in health gymnasiums to help exercise range from simple weights and benches to more sophisticated equipment such as pulleys and rowing machine. These accessories are appropriate for different kinds of exercises.
Isometric exercises involve applying muscular strength by pulling or pushing immovable objects. The muscles are tensed and this tension is sustained for short periods of time. Because little movement is involved in these exercises, they develop static rather than dynamic strength.
The exercises involve pulling or lifting an object to a certain position and then returning it to its original position. They cause the muscles to contract as you move but, because of the weight or force employed, it is to the same degree throughout the exercise. The weight or force used can only be that which you can lift or pull at the weakest point in the range of motion involved and at other points your muscles are not sufficiently trained to develop in strength.
The third type of exercise requires more sophisticated equipment. These type of exercises can be designed for the particular needs. For example, a person who is training for a particular sport can do exercises that stimulate exactly the demands of this sport, and also developed precisely to strengthen the muscles he or her most needs.
Facilities for massage may be available at the health gymnasium or sauna baths. Massage is used in physical therapy as a means of rehabilitating patients who are suffering from certain physical pain or ailments but, as a mean of getting or keeping fit, its value is very limited.
Sauna baths may be attached to health gymnasium or may exist as separate establishments. Most sauna baths are organized according to similar basic principles. They have an invigorating effect on the whole body and aid physical and mental relaxation, but their effects are temporary rather than long-term.
Sauna baths provide a healthy and enjoyable means of relaxation, but the sudden rise and pulse rate can be dangerous. Pregnant women and people with high or low blood pressure should, therefore, avoid them.