All About Fitness

Exercise and Fitness: Questions & Answers

Gina Jackson - Fitness Trainer
Vital Health Zone is proud to announce Gina Jackson, who is our resident exercise and fitness expert and who is available to answer all your questions about exercising and fitness. Gina has a private practice and is available for consultation.

Gina answers all your exercise and fitness questions below:

Q: I ride horses 2 -3 times per week and in the summer may ride up to 50 in a day whilst judging.

I do Pilates but know I should do something else aerobic as well for my cardiovascular health. I'm not a fan of running (stress on knees) and do not have a gym locally.

Any suggestions would be greatly welcome.


A: It must be nice to have a job outside in the open air, connected to your body, the earth and nature by riding horses all day long. Your core connection is evident by the fact that you use Pilates and equestrian sporting activities frequently. These both require (and thus develop) a centered and concentrated focus, strong back and abdominals.

I understand the desire to avoid the body breakdown caused by of running, although it is the closest connection you can have to the experience of riding in the open, free space and having a connected feeling to your elements. I don't ride horses, but I still enjoy a good 3-5mile run 2x week. The older I got, the more pounding I experienced on my knees, heels and hips. As a result, last spring, I bought a pair of Kangoo Jumps and totally eliminated the pain in each and everyone one of my workouts.

The shoes are based on rebound exercise and are a low impact rebound sport shoe designed to provide a safe platform for jogging and other exercises that are notoriously hard on the joints. The boots use a lightweight leaf-spring to absorb shocks due to impact on the ground and create a rebound effect that reduces shock impact on ankles, knees, hips and lower back by up to 60%.

They are Swiss designed for joggers, however, they also provide benefits for athletic strengthening and conditioning, rehabilitation and injury prevention and group aerobics. The unique "floating above the ground" sensation created by Kangoo Jumps has to be experienced to be understood.

Quality vs Quantity

Kangoo Jumps deliver the benefit of 50-minutes exercise in only 20 minutes and the injury prevention potential has already caught the attention of several elite football teams. The boots can be used indoors or outdoors on paved roads, dirt paths and grass as well as at the beach or on snow. I know this from personal experience. Not only have I run on the treadmill indoors (which many people find amazing), I have used the shoes at the NJ shore beach, along the Hudson River Trail of the Palisade Park overlooking NYC, dirt paths in Upstate NY, etc.

NASA has found rebound exercise to be the best form of exercise for astronauts because it restores bone and muscle mass lost during time spent in outer space. Consequently Kangoo Jumps are recommended for people suffering osteoporosis, with the "slow-motion" steps and exercises of Kangoo Aerobics make it suitable for middle aged and senior people. The enjoyable nature of the exercise (ie it beats push ups and jogging in standard running shoes) has seen the Jumps used successfully in programs combating obesity in young people in the US.

They can be purchased online, for about $220USD. Feel free to use my affiliate code (GJPF09) if you decide to purchase a pair, you will get a 5% discount.

Other Options

The other option I recommend and one I use personally during the warm weather months is a road bike. A mountain bike and a trail can make a world of difference in clearing your head while building cardiovascular strength. Climbing hills with the bike will give you the cardiovascular boost you seek.

As a pilates and equestrian sports devotee, you will use and rely on your core strength and find these two disciplines to be good cross-training exercises to support the prevention and overuse of muscle and back pain; typical injuries and imbalances caused by cycling.


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