TriActive America Blog

Spring Forward With Outdoor Fitness Equipment

Yell, “it’s Spring!”

I think most of us are tired of winter and ready to get back outside.  I live in California and this year’s intense rains have conquered five years of relenting drought.  I looked out the widow of my house and saw my fruit trees were in blossom and then full foliage.  People love being active in the outdoors.  Years ago communities built crude outdoor fitness equipment stations (par courses) along public trails.  The idea of these were to combine cardio, with equipment that provided balance and flexibility.

The 2nd TriActive America Fitness Zone at Cuesta College in 2004

Those original installations were made from wood with metal inserts.  Go take a look at some of these early installations and you find equipment that is no longer usable.  Our TriActive America outdoor fitness equipment is made from high grade steel that has been rust primed and powder coated to last for a number of years.  Every few days I drive by our first TriActive America Fitness Zone and feel proud that the original equipment installed in the spring of 2004 is still being used and looks great.

I volunteer for our local community college and it is there that we installed the second TriActive America Fitness Zone.  That was in the summer of 2004, and like our first installation the equipment is used regularly and looks great.

But what is even better is that we have taken several steps up from the original par courses, in that we offer equipment designed to provide, strength, flexibility, balance in addition to the original cardio and stretch.  TriActive America has designed outdoor fitness equipment to serve user populations from pre-teen to aging adults.  I am 76 and am know starting to appreciate the toll that time takes on a person’s body.  TriActive America has a solution with Multi-Gym Modular System and our Accessible Multi-Gym.

If your mobility is restricted to using a wheel chair, TriActive America has The Swivel Seat and the Wheelchair Rickshaw.  No matter what age you are or if you have physical limitations, TriActive America has the outdoor fitness equipment that will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors.


Outside Fitness Equipment Helps Maximize the Power Of Exercise

Jim Sargen on an Air Walker

As the Founder of TriActive America, I do my best to practice what I preach. We started the outdoor exercise revolution here in the United States and while I do most of my exercising on TriActive America’s Outside Fitness Equipment, I also have two gym memberships.

Now you may be asking yourself, “You started the outside exercise revolution, why would you have multiple gym memberships?” the answer to this question is that I see it as a way to research how other people exercise and how this information can be used to improve our Outside Fitness Equipment to help people exercise better.

One recent trend I have noticed is that there have been more people over the age of 50 that are exercising. This is an encouraging trend in comparison to past years. With the exception of busier peak hours for the millennial generation, these days the majority of people that are exercising are over the age of 50.

As the saying goes, “some things never change” unfortunately the one thing staying constant even with other exercise trends changing is that many of the 50+ crowd are putting in a lot of time and effort exercising but are getting very poor results.

In the meetings I have with our designers at TriActive America, our focus is on developing Outside Fitness Equipment that gives users a full range of motion which in turn gives everyone the benefit of all the energy that is expended.

The reason why this area is important is because when exercises are not properly executed, one common result is muscle pulls that can be very painful and discourage people from continuing to exercise.

One inevitable reality of aging is that our muscles become more prone to injury from simple and routine movements. The older we all get, the more important it becomes that even routine exercises and movements are done correctly.

Injuries due to improperly executed exercises are an issue that is not exclusive to the 50+ crowd. Every day there are sports reports on athletes who injured themselves while improperly executing exercises.

This is something that I can personally relate to. Recently, I was suffering from muscle pulls around my elbow joints. However, I had recently figured out how I was improperly using the equipment. One major point to make is that this was from the usage of indoor gym equipment and yet another example of how indoor equipment design can lead to injury.

On a positive note, I am able to report that after 13 years of using TriActive America Outside Fitness Equipment, I have never been injured by using this equipment. At TriActive America, we design our Outside Fitness Equipment to be used by age groups ranging from pre-teens to seniors and everything in between.

Do you dislike the fact that you have to continually adjust and re-configure indoor equipment? You are not alone and we understand this frustration. Because of this, our TriActive America Outside Fitness Equipment is frequently designed to fit all body types and sizes.

All TriActive America Outside Fitness Equipment also carries simplified instructions for proper use and our website also provides additional videos and instructional materials. This helps to address the issue seen with indoor exercise equipment where adults are not sure how to use it. While TriActive Outside Fitness Equipment is not designed for younger children, they are frequently attracted to it and are instinctively able to figure out how to use it.

This reinforces the lesson that as we inevitably age, the mindset and instincts we had as children stays with us over the years.


Never to old to exercise

Ray Chavez, 104 years-old, eldest Pearl Harbor survivor exercises daily.

I was watching the morning news while riding my exercise bike.  I do this six days a week for a half hour, varying intensity in 1-2 minute bursts, when a story appeared that captured my attention.  The story was about the oldest Pearl Harbor survivor, who at 104, is planning on attending this years 75th anniversary.  But what really captured my attention was the report that at 102, he was down to 95 lbs and was in feeble condition, when he made a decision to start regular exercise.  He has been working out at the gym with a trainer these past two years and has gained 20 lbs, mostly muscle.  Instead of using a wheel chair or walker he is moving on his own two feet.

TriActive America has been in business for over nearly fourteen years.  We began the outdoor fitness market with the aim of making exercise available to the large majority of the population.  Our outdoor fitness equipment can be found in parks, schools, on college campuses and cruise ships.  I am 76 and two population groups have been at the heart of this effort.  The young and the aging.  Young people are now more sedentary, consume loads of carbs and sugar and get very little exercise.  Those in my age range often are subject to health conditions that are the result of poor diet and a lack of physical activity.

For many years, I have used Google search to find articles related to the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle composed of healthy eating and being active.  Articles have repeatedly commented on the befits of exercise as an aid in dealing with major health issues, from heart disease to cancer in all forms.  Exercise turns on the body’s natural ability to fight diseases and restore people to good health.

If your like me, I daily have aches or pains, but staying active helps me overcome these conditions and lead a very active life.  If a 104 year old Pearl Harbor survivor can benefit from exercise, then you can too.  Remember to check with your doctor to help find what form of exercise or physical activity is best for you.


Building a better community

My mother was a type 1 diabetic.  So for many years my doctors told me to expect that I would become diabetic.  That day arrived on my 61st birthday exam.  I had regularly exercised, ate a healthy diet and was active.  But then I decided I needed to get serious.  That meant cutting some things out of my diet, like french fries, french bread and ice cream.  I upped the exercise and increased my walks.  My doctor gave me an A for keeping my diabetes under control.  One other major thing happened.  I started looking around at other people and at children in particular and noted that there was indeed an obesity problem in our country.

Community exercise in China is the standard approach to individual wellness. They start young. 

An extended trip to China showed me that community centered exercise produced real results.  The Chinese love to eat and multi course meals are a par.  But they are constantly active.  Driving by a McDonalds one morning, I noted the entire employee crew outside doing exercises.  Then later from my hotel room I looked down on the roof of an elementary school and saw all the students and faculty in group exercise.

TriActive America was born when, in Beijing, my wife and I noticed rudimentary exercise equipment and people of all ages from grandparents to small kids using the equipment.  The deal was closed when I noticed my wife, who was not a fan of exercise, using the equipment.  It took a couple of years to get all of the elements together that resulted in the first fitness zones in the America’s.

During my professional career, I have balanced family, work and volunteering.  At a conference focused on the health and wellness of children, I was shocked to learn that diabetes was the fastest new medical condition to affect young people.  I also learned that kids with Type 1 diabetes were also developing Type 2 diabetes.  In my mind, I accepted that adults have the ability to make decisions affecting their health and even if the decisions are not healthy ones, they have the ability to make changes.  With kids, this is not the case.  Young people do not have the information or the capability to tie all of the information into making intelligent decisions affecting their health.  They need help from adults.

In my mind I saw a connection between free community exercise areas.  My first career was in City Management.  In developing annual budgets most city revenue is allocated to public safety and public works.  What is left over goes to parks and recreation, senior services, libraries and the like.  It then occurred to me that connecting the many different groups in a community, sufficient funds could be raised to place fitness zones in community parks and schools.

Over the years TriActive America has encouraged communities, parents groups, charitable organizations to tap into the community resource base that has an interest in making sure that their community is a place that encourages healthy activity.  A number of projects have been sponsored by local service organizations, like Rotary, Lions and similar groups.  Installations in communities were supported by grants from NFL based franchises.  The medical community has a vested interest in helping local communities offer healthy outlets.  One installation in Louisiana was the result of efforts by  local Camp Fire Girls and their parents.  They worked with their local water district to provide the land and some funds and the installation was provided by local volunteers, including the Girls parents and siblings.

There are numerous examples of local partnerships and the greatest benefit is that an entire community came together to make it happen.  I hope that this article is helpful in encouraging local citizens to take responsibility for ensuring the health of their friends and neighbors.

 


Getting fit in the great outdoors

I’ve got to be truthful, I do exercise indoors, although I do prefer being outdoors in the fresh air.  I look for every opportunity, but it’s not always convenient.  There is one benefit to exercising in indoor gyms.  The first is that I can see people, fixated on the screens mounted on their bikes,  treadmills or any of a bunch of combo equipment.  I contrast this to the outdoors experience.  For one thing, the air is fresh and not  the smell of sweaty gym clothes.  Nothing turns me off faster than that “gym” smell.  It’s just a sterile environment.  That’s why I found the idea of developing outdoor exercise equipment for the outdoors so appealing.  One big turn on is that “gym fashion” doesn’t matter.  Wear what you want.  This particularly true with mature women .  Who wants to be compared with girls in their early twenties  wearing their Lulu Lemon tights.

On of our early installations in the Los Angeles area featured four older women, in their warm ups, riding an exercise bike, chatting and smiling.  They were having a fun time exercising.  Contrast that to the indoor gym setting I mentioned in the previous paragraph.  When I think of outdoor excise or activity, the word “freedom” pops into my mind.  Physical limits have been removed and you have the freedom to move in many different ways.  No wonder that most of our favorite pastimes are spent in the outdoors.  Golf, tennis, swimming, cycling, walking are all outdoor activities.

I have had people say, “why do we need outdoor fitness equipment, when people golf, run, walk, play tennis, hike and all the other outdoor activities that comprise a large part of our recreation.”  All of these activities are great and people should continue this activity.  The fact is that our bodies require a variety of exercise to provide a balanced mix to provide the best benefit.  Most outdoor activities are cardio based and cardio is an important component of a well maintained body.  Their are five groups of exercise that provide a well balanced exercise program.  They are strength, cardio, flexibility, coordination and balance.  Try Active America produces outdoor exercise equipment designed to fit each of these groups.

Going beyond individual outdoor exercise equipment, Tri Active America has designed a series of “packages” of equipment designed to meet the specific needs of various population groups.  Our kids package, “Let’s Move Kids” features outdoor exercise equipment designed to provide a safe and fun outdoor exercise for kids.  At the opposite end of the program is the “Olympian”.  You get it this group of outdoor fitness equipment is designed for the person focused on more intensive exercise experience and covers all exercise groups.  Other packages are “The Lean and Green Gym”, The “Challenger”, “The Trail Blazer”, Cross Train, Muscle Beach and for our men and women isn uniform, “Bust Your Butt.”

Chris Litvinchuk (left) and Bruce Carson are available to help you through the sales process.

I encourage you to contact our sales representatives.  Both Bruce Carson and Chris Litvinchuk have been with TriActive America since 2004.  They have become recognized for their high level of customer service and knowledge as TriActive America has shaped the outdoor fitness industry.  TriActive America brought the outdoor exercise equipment market to the America’s, and TriActive America continues to lead the way in innovating equipment, finding ways to make installation cheaper and easier, and adhering to the highest standards of ASTM for outdoor fitness equipment.  Call them Toll Free at 1-800-587-4228 or by email to clitvinchuk@triactiveamerica.com or to bcarson@triactiveamerica.com.  I encourage you to go to our web site, which provides a broad picture of the capabilities of TriActive America’s commitment to outdoor fitness.


Bust your butt.

TriActive America has designed outdoor fitness equipment that meets the needs of most populations. Over the next few blogs I will focus on one category. This blog it’s about our outdoor fitness equipment and the package that supports our military.

Take time to access our TriActive America web site, www.triactiveamerica.com and then click on the button for Military. This segment focuses on equipment that has in large part been designed to meet the requirements of the military. The military has pioneered outdoor exercise and boot camp training to hone the skills of Americas service men and women.

TriActive’s outdoor fitness equipment is meant to supplement the boot camp model and to keep service personnel in top physical condition.

From the time that the company began selling the first outdoor fitness equipment to the present, Triactive has been meeting the needs of US service members. Our outdoor fitness gyms are in use at Guantanamo Bay, Kuwait, Nome Alaska, the Pentagon, and at service bases around the globe.

But our outdoor fitness equipment is just not for service personnel, but also their families, base personnel and support members. The goal is to help keep the military family in the best condition possible, healthy and active.  Military families move when the service person is reassigned.  This can be stressful as it means upending relationships and having to develop new patterns.  Some of these assignments are abroad and families not only have to adjust to new locations, but also different cultures and lifestyles.

Regular exercise can help.  When a person exercises, hormones are released into the body that helps the body cope with stress.  Drugs have become an easy “fix” when a person is stressed or depressed.  The problem is that as time moves on, increased doses of drugs may be required to maintain that good feeling.  Exercise on the other hand is a drug free solution that in many instances produces a more satisfying solution.  Each of us react differently to the benefits of exercise.  My son and I were talking about the “endorphin” high that some people feel after an exercise session.  We both fell better, but don’t necessarily get that buzz.  But that’s the point.  Exercise provides steady and positive benefits.  You may not get the “high”, but after a period of time, you will notice a marked improvement in your attitude and disposition.

Helping improve quality of life for our nation’s service personnel and their families provides the Tri Active America team with that buzz, from knowing that what we do in our daily work can have an important benefit to the men and women who safeguard our way of life.  Thank you America’s military and military families.


A Little History

Marc_Jim

CEO, Marc Sargen (left) and Founder, Jim Sargen.

Well this is the second article in my new blog.  The photo is of my son Marc and I.  People tell me it is hard to tell the two of us apart.  We both move quickly, are both exactly the same height at over six foot two, and on the phone even our voices are similar.  Guess it proves he is my son.

Back in 2002 on a trip to China I was introduced to some very primitive outdoor exercise equipment.  My then wife, not a fan of exercise started using it, and from that the idea of introducing outdoorfitness equipment to the americas’s began.  TriActive America began development of the first outdoor
fitness equipment in 2003 and by the middle of 2004, the first two beta installations were in the ground and being used by local people in California’s central coast.

It took some time to establish this new way of viewing outdoor exercise.  Years ago a company had developed outdoor fitness trails.  But these were made of wood, rapidly degraded and gradually disappeared.  So TriActive America’s introduction of thirty five individual pieces of outdoor fitness equipment was an attraction at the first trade shows.  People at our first National Parks and Recreation Association trade show, asked if this was playground equipment.  Jumping twelve years later, the concept of outdoor fitness equipment and exercising in outdoor fitness gyms is an accepted fact. The trend has gone global and we regularly ship outdoor fitness equipment out of the country on a regular basis.

Our web site boasts of well over two installations all over the globe and the trend is accelerating.  You find TriActive America’s outdoor fitness equipment in many unique areas.  We were surprised when the US Navy purchased equipment for a base in Kodiak, Alaska.  Or during the Iraq war, TriActive America Fitness equipment was installed in forward bases in Kuwait. TriActive has installations at the park serving Yankee Stadium.  Our outdoor fitness equipment is installed on several Carnival Cruise ships.  In New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, the SF bay area and in places far and wide, the concept of outdoor fitness exercise has become a mainstream of modern american life.

What really pushes my button, is the local efforts made by private citizens who gather friends, neighbors and local businesses to develop outdoor fitness facilities in their community’s.  The very first was a group of campfire girls who enlisted parents, and expanded it into a community wide effort to install equipment on vacant land owned by the local water utility.  The utility came up with the cash and the parents and friends provided the labor to install the equipment.

Since then, TriActive America has continually updated equipment to make it easier to install and safer to use.  In the process we have reduced the cost to install equipment and in a lot of cases local citizens muscle is used to do the installation.

But it not just the outdoors anymore.  Communities are exploring blended facilities with some of the outdoor fitness equipment installed indoors and a second block adjacent but outdoors.  I have learned that where there is a will, there is a way.  Communities are getting enthused to do something that helps people in their areas create free public outdoor fitness gyms so that citizens of all economic levels and a variety of fitness levels can find equipment that works for them.

Several years ago, TriActive America worked with the Palo Alto, California Veterans Hospital to develop the first equipment suitable for paraplegics and other patients with serious physical limitations.  TriActive America has expanded this equipment with the addition of equipment suitable for seniors and other mature adults with limitations.  Article after article speak about the value of exercise for people who have health issues and physical limitations.  TriActive America equipment is now available to serve nearly all areas of american life.

People have asked me why a man at that time in his early sixties would want to undertake the job of creating a new industry and one that functions in an area that is not attractive to a lot of people.  It’s just for that reason that I saw introducing and producing outdoor tines equipment into the american mainstream was the right thing to do.  You know a lot of people get up in the morning and go off to jobs that provide income but not a lot of personal satisfaction.  That is not the case for me and for all of us who work at TriActive America.  Every day we talk with people who want to do something positive and help them fulfill this goal and in doing so we make our own very small contribution to improving the quality of life for all americans.

If you have questions or ideas on future themes you would like to see in this blog sending me an email to:

jpsargen@triactiveamerica.com


Living a Life in Balance

After years of putting it off, my crew at TriActive America has prevailed and I am beginning my new blog.  The focus will be on the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.  I know that people are sick of all the preaching they hear from doctors, physical fitness guru’s, the media and people we know.

The truth is for many people that trying to live a healthy lifestyle is difficult when confronted with all the demands in our busy lives, and the abundance of not healthy foods and drinks that are and easy pick when in a rush.  The truth is that you almost have to be a nutritional scientist to decipher all the information provided on the back of packages.  I know reading the info is difficult especially as you get older and the eyes don’t quite focus on the small and smaller print.

As a kid I lived an active life.  I lived next door to the church and school I attended.  There were three large fields used for a variety of sports.  If that wasn’t enough across the street was a large park and beyond that a series of playing fields.

My mom was a fantastic cook and baker.  As a result I always was a portly kid.  Somehow the old theme calories in calories out never seemed to balance.  That began to change when I entered college.  To dates, I had to compete with other guys for the “hot” girls.  Somehow I never attracted the “hot” girls but did all right in the girl friend market.  I had slimmed down as a result of working a lot at my dad’s restaurants and leading a busy school and social life.

There was one guy I knew who looked great.  He was a professional fashion model, had a great wardrobe and drove a Mercedes sports coupe.  I asked him how he got to look so good and he told me he learned how to say ‘NO” to his body’s desires.  I asked him if this was difficult and he said it was very much like an alcoholic, who wants the drink, but says no.  I decided to try this and even though it was really difficult, slowly I noticed a change.  I am 6’4” and was able to drop my weight from 220 to 205.  This did’t happen overnight.  It took several years and I learned that by making small, subtle changes, I was able to stay the course.

But there were years where I did not stay on the wagon.  I put on weight and when I exercised, I felt slow and lethargic.  At one point I got up to 240 lbs, took a good look at myself and said “NO.”  That time I meant it.  I increased the amount and variety of exercise.  I reduced the sugar and other carbs and again, slowly the weight came off.

For me the big moment occurred when I got a telephone call from a former classmate in high school.  He was the buff football star and I was always the dumpy guy who rode in the same school bus.  He was surrounded by great looking people and I was in the nerds section.

I was amazed when my secretary told me I had a call.  He had seen my brother on TV and this led him to want to look me up.  We set an appointment.  He would come to my office which was in the lower level of the regional mall I managed.  My secretary commented that I was apprehensive.  She was right on.  I was very nervous.  Then I saw this guy coming down the stairs.  He was very overweight, had glasses and looked years older than me.  My secretary looked at me and saw the biggest grin on my face.

At our next reunion, I ran into him and noted he had slimmed down.  I told him how great he looked and he told me that it was his reaction to how good I looked and how poorly he looked when we had our meeting several years ago.  I felt great that in an indirect way, I was able to inspire him to get himself into shape.  I though about this for a while and came to the conclusion that it is better to lead by example than by preaching.

People are much more receptive to people who keep the preaching to a minimum and leave.