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New Fitness System Brings Zest to the Over 40s

Originally Published 26 August 2003

The University of Warwick is assisting a Birmingham based SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprise) with health promotion by increasing awareness of a unique fitness system designed to help fortify those who are unfit or over 40.

The Exten Fitness System uses state of the art motorised chairs to give users a safe all-body workout and help those who are unfit or overweight get in shape. The unique technology offers an alternative to the exercise machines currently found in gyms and provides a new way of achieving a healthier lifestyle.

The idea of the Fitness System was developed by Birmingham based Exten Fitness Systems. However, it was when the company approached the University of Warwick’s Innovation Direct service, a free consultancy service for West Midlands based SMEs, that the equipment’s real potential was explored.

University of Warwick researchers helped Exten Fitness Systems identify the benefits to machine users, their product’s key markets and effectively promote the no-sweat work out that is set to help counter the UK's 'couch potato' culture.

A total of 23 exercises from a 10 chair system means that users can complete a workout in 30 minutes. The benefits of the system include increased muscle tone and mobility, improved circulation and coordination, and noticeable inch loss.

Those who are unfit, especially females over 40, feel uncomfortable or are unfamiliar with using exercise equipment, and may be reluctant to utilise traditional exercise machines.

Don Rickard from Warwick University’s Innovation-Direct, said: “Until now health clubs have not been particularly successful in bringing the benefits of regular exercising of all muscle groups to the older person, especially ladies over 40, who are intimidated by the macho atmosphere of the average gym. However, the Exten regime is breaking the mould and is successful in showing that getting fit can be fun and bring new zest to their lives in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Cliff Johnson, Director of Exten Fitness Systems, said, “The Exten Fitness System makes exercise attractive to those who are unfit. It offers seniors, overweight people and those undergoing physiotherapy the chance to exercise safely. The collaboration with Innovation Direct has successfully helped us attract people to workout and promote the system to health clubs and health professionals. Following trials it is now being used by physiotherapists, Local Authorities and private gyms throughout the UK.”

The University of Warwick’s Innovation-Direct provides free of charge support and advice on the technological and market place challenges companies face in developing innovative products. Innovation-Direct helps SMEs in the identification of new markets, development of new products, improvement of existing products and use of new materials and processes.

For more information contact:
Don Rickard, Senior Research Fellow, University of Warwick, Tel: 024 7657 2568 Stuart Ward, Industrial Designer, University of Warwick, Tel: 024 7657 4294 Visit : Cliff Johnson or Chris Weaving, Exten Fitness Systems, Tel: 0121 784 7793