Curves_Diabetes by fanzhongqing


  SELF-MANAGEMENT                                                                                               ®

                                  THE CURVES
                               A New Option for Exercise
                                             by Cynthia Mascott

          f a Curves International fitness                                   resistance of confined liquid, it pro-
          club hasn’t already opened in                                      vides an opposing force in both
          your neighborhood, chances                                         directions, engaging a different set
          are that one soon will. The                                        of muscles depending on whether
   gym, designed especially for women                                        the user is pushing or pulling. How
   (but also used by men in some loca-                                       much resistance the machine pro-
   tions), is one of the fastest-growing                                     vides depends on how hard and
   franchises in the United States, with                                     how fast the user pushes or pulls.
   over 7,000 American locations and                                         For increased resistance (and a
   more than 8,000 locations world-                                          harder workout), the user increases
   wide.                                                                     the speed of the repetitions. This
      Although each club is owned                                            enables each exerciser to work at a
   independently, all locations follow                                       comfortable level without having to
   essentially the same model. Most                                          adjust the machine.
   Curves clubs are located in large,                                            One drawback to the Cur ves
   one-room facilities in shopping                                           machines is that the seat heights
   centers or business districts. The                                        are not adjustable, meaning the
   facilities contain between 8 and 13                                       machines may be less comfortable
   resistance exercise machines set up                                       for people who are not within the
   in a circle so that all exercisers are                                    average size range. Shorter women,
   facing toward the center. The gyms                                        however, may be able to modify the
   typically don’t have mirrors, a fea-                                      seat height with a cushion. Another
   ture that appeals to many of the                                          potential disadvantage of the
   core Curves clientele—generally                                           machines is that the hydraulic sys-
   middle-aged women who are new                                             tem means that the exerciser does
   to exercise and often intimidated                                         not perform the “negative” portion
   by conventional health clubs.                                             of the resistance exercise. (The
      The Cur ves machines are                                               “negative” portion is when the
   designed for a woman’s smaller                                            exerciser lowers the weight back to
   frame and use hydraulic pressure,                                         its starting position in a controlled
   or the pressure of confined liquid                                        manner. This part of the exercise
   in a cylinder, rather than metal                                          helps to build muscle in a some-
   weights to provide resistance.                                            what different way from the “posi-
   Because the equipment uses the                                            tive” part of the movement.)

Copyright ® 2005 R.A. Rapaport Publishing, Inc. For subscription information, call (800) 234-0923 and mention code
5CHI2 or visit Reprinted with permission from Diabetes Self-Management.
          The setup
The following eight machines com-         Biceps/ Triceps
pose the standard setup that is
found in all Curves locations:
■ Biceps/Triceps: Works the mus-
cles in the backs and the fronts of
the upper arms
■ Leg Extension/Leg Curl: Exer-
cises the muscles on the fronts and
the backs of the thighs
                                                                              Shoulder Press /
■ Shoulder Press/Lat Pull: Targets
                                                                              Lat Pull
muscles in the shoulders and the
upper back
■ Hip Abductor/Adductor: Focuses
on the inner and outer thighs and
the hips
■ Chest/Back: Exercises muscles of
the chest and back
■ Squat: Works the fronts of the
thighs and the buttocks
■ Abs/Back: Targets the muscles
running vertically along the mid-
line of the stomach and the back
■ Leg Press: Strengthens muscles in
the fronts of the thighs and the but-
   In addition, certain locations
may have some or all of the follow-
ing four machines:
■ Dip Shrug: Focuses on the shoul-
ders and the back
■ Pec Dec: Works muscles in the                             Leg Extension /
                                                                                                       Hip Abductor /
chest, shoulders, and back                                  Leg Curl
■ Oblique: Targets the sides of the
■ Glute: Strengthens the fronts and
backs of the thighs and the buttocks
■ Lateral Lift: Works muscles on the
sides of the waist
   Between ever y two exercise
machines is an “aerobic recovery sta-
tion”—a small, cushioned platform
on which members are encouraged
to engage in an aerobic activity such
as dancing, doing jumping jacks, or
jogging in place to keep their heart
rate elevated while giving their mus-
cles a rest. Some facilities have stor-
age lockers and changing areas.
Many Curves locations also offer
some form of nutrition counseling.
However, the clubs do not offer the
amenities found in many traditional
gyms, such as showers, a sauna, or
day care for children.

52                                                                                               Diabetes Self-Management
                                       The workout
Chest / Back                    At their initial visit to the club,
                                members are weighed and their
                                body measurements and body fat
                                percentage are taken. They then
                                have the option of repeating the
                                process every month to chart their
                                progress. A full health history is
                                also completed at the initial visit
                                and put on file.
                                    Before their first workout, mem-
                                bers are given instructions on how
                                to use the hydraulic machines to
                                ensure that their form is correct;
                                on visits thereafter, a fitness trainer
                                is available for assistance. The exact
                   Abs / Back   breakdown of the routine varies
                                slightly from location to location,
                                but generally an exerciser enters
                                the circuit at any available machine
                                and works out at a low intensity for
                                about three minutes while pro-
                                gressing from machine to machine
                                as guided by an audio recording.
                                Starting at a low intensity helps to
                                increase heart rate and body tem-
                                perature so that there is less
                                chance of stress on the heart or
                                injur y to the joints or muscles.
                                After the initial warm-up, the exer-
                                ciser increases the intensity of the
                                    Each machine is used for
                                approximately 30 seconds, at which
                                point a recorded voice interrupts
                                the music and instructions are
                                given to move to the next station.
                                The entire workout lasts for about
                                30 minutes which, depending on
                                the number of machines at the
                                facility, usually takes exercisers
                   Leg Press    around the circuit two to three
                                times. For the last three minutes of
                                the workout, exercisers are advised
                                to slow down a bit to allow their
                                heart rate to return to normal; they
                                then wrap up the routine with three
                                minutes of stretching.
                                    Every eight minutes throughout
                                the routine, members are instructed
                                to check their pulse to ensure that
                                they are working within their target
                                heart rate range. Although many
                                exercise professionals have moved
                                away from this idea, according to

March/April 2005                                                    53
   the Curves philosophy, the goal      improving blood glucose control in        Cur ves Training Manual. All
for people in the general popula-       people with Type 2 diabetes.              Curves employees are required to
tion is to work out at 60% to 80% of                                              be certified in CPR (cardiopul-
their maximum heart rate. New                       Safety                        monary resuscitation) and first aid.
members are shown how to find                     guidelines
their pulse and target heart rate by
                                        There are a number of precautions
                                                                                      Hours and rates
a Cur ves employee. Maximum
                                        that people with diabetes should          Hours of operation vary from loca-
heart rate is generally determined
                                        take to ensure a safe workout.            tion to location, but during week-
by subtracting one’s age from 220.
                                        Before beginning an exercise pro-         days, most facilities open between 6
There are a number of ways to cal-
                                        gram, it is a good idea to get clear-     AM and 7 AM. At noon, there is
culate the target heart rate range,
                                        ance from your doctor and possibly        generally a brief closure for lunch,
but the Curves formula suggests
                                        your eye doctor, particularly if it has   with doors reopening around 2 PM
multiplying the maximum heart
                                        been more than a year since your          or 3 PM until about 8 PM. Saturday
rate by 0.60 and 0.80 to find the
                                        last eye exam or if you have been         hours are typically limited to the
60% to 80% range. For instance, if
                                        diagnosed with or had laser surgery       morning, and only a small number
you are 60 years old, your approxi-
                                        for diabetic retinopathy.                 of locations are open on Sundays.
mate maximum heart rate would
                                           It’s also a good idea to check         There is a one-time initiation fee of
be 160 beats per minute. Your tar-
                                        your blood glucose level before           $149, although there are often spe-
get heart rate would therefore be
                                        each workout. If your blood glu-          cials available that can reduce this
between 96 (160 × 0.60) and 128
                                        cose level is below 100 mg/dl, you        price. Monthly dues are generally
(160 × 0.80) beats per minute.
                                        may need a snack before getting           between $29 and $59; costs vary
   For people who are just begin-
                                        started. Because of the possibility of    depending on the package you
ning an exercise program or those
                                        exercise-induced hypoglycemia,            choose and the facility you go to.
who have a medical condition such
                                        monitor your blood glucose level
as diabetes, heart disease, or high
blood pressure, Cur ves suggests
                                        after your workout as well, espe-               Curves ahead
                                        cially if you take insulin, a sulfonyl-
working out at only 50% of maxi-                                                  Any step toward more physical
                                        urea such as glipizide (Glucotrol,
mum heart rate. A wall chart                                                      activity is a step in the right direc-
                                        Glucotrol XL), glyburide (DiaBeta,
posted in the club helps users easily                                             tion. Even integrating several short
                                        Micronase, Glynase), or glimepiride
determine whether they are within                                                 walks into your day can improve
                                        (Amaryl), or the drugs repaglinide
their target range.                                                               your health. But if you feel that a
                                        (Prandin) or nateglinide (Starlix).
   According to Cur ves founder                                                   more structured program as well as
                                           Be sure to wear a well-fitting,
Gary Heavin, a Curves workout is                                                  the opportunity to exercise with
                                        comfortable pair of shoes to your
an efficient combination of                                                       others might help you stick to a
                                        workout, and keep a source of car-
strength training, aerobics, and                                                  regular exercise routine, you may
                                        bohydrate, such as glucose tablets
stretching. He suggests members                                                   want to give Cur ves a tr y. Many
                                        or raisins, nearby in case you
visit the center three times a week                                               have found that the convenience,
                                        develop hypoglycemia.
and incorporate walking or stretch-                                               camaraderie, and feeling of well-
ing into their routine between visits                                             being gained from exercising at
to the club. Although research on
                                                   The staff                      Curves keeps them coming back
the Curves workout plan is limited,     The owners and managers of                and sticking to a fitness program
Heavin’s recommendations are            Curves franchises must complete a         for the first time in their lives. Look
generally in line with both the         40-hour training program at the           at the book Cur ves: Permanent
American College of Sports Medi-        Curves International Headquarters         Results Without Permanent Dieting, by
cine’s recommendation of 2–3 days       in Waco, Texas. They are also             Gary Heavin and Carol Coleman,
per week of resistance training for     required to attend quarterly              for more information. To find the
people who are just starting out on     Advanced Camp training. Curves            Curves International nearest you,
an exercise plan and the Surgeon        additionally encourages them to           call (800) 848-1096 or log on to
General’s recommendation to do          complete an 18-hour online col-           www. ■
at least 30 minutes of moderate         lege certification program in Fit-
exercise on most days of the week.      ness and Wellness through Thomas
And at least one study has shown a      Edison State College in New Jersey.       Cynthia Mascott is a freelance
circuit training program using a        The fitness technicians who work at       writer in Sherman Oaks, California.
combination of aerobic and resist-      Curves must complete a two-week           She has had Type 2 diabetes since
ance exercise to be effective at        training program as outlined in the       1996.

54                                                                                               Diabetes Self-Management

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