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Feel Good toning tables proving a hit at White Oak Leisure Centre, Swanley

Punishing sessions are often associated with exercise, but the introduction of new hi-tech, low impact equipment at one leisure centre is proving every little helps.

A dozen Feel Good toning tables have been installed at White Oak Leisure Centre in Swanley to provide an alternative to the more high intensity, sweat-inducing training often associated with fitness facilities.

The equipment – which has cost Sencio Community Leisure £55,000 and is housed in its own self-contained room with no mirrors or loud, thumping music – is designed to attract not only those intimidated by the usual gym surroundings but also people with health or mobility concerns.

Cllrs Merilyn Canet and Pat Bosley
Cllrs Merilyn Canet and Pat Bosley

It can be used by people recovering from surgery or suffering from spinal and brain injuries, heart conditions and multiple sclerosis, and is used in care homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centres globally.

Unlike many exercise regimes that can strain the body, the toning tables are biomechanically matched to it to offer all-round workouts that are both effective and, more importantly, kinder to joints.

Among those already reaping the rewards just a few weeks after the tables were introduced at White Oak is pensioner Anne Asche.

The 72-year-old, who lives in Elm Drive, Swanley, is so pleased with the benefits that she attends a session every day.

“I had a back operation a couple of years ago so these are marvellous to use.

“I’m more agile now and I’m walking better. I can pick things up off the floor when I used to have to use my grabber.”

Anne Asche with Liane Brown
Anne Asche with Liane Brown

Others feeling the benefits are husband and wife Tony and Lynne Beadle, also from Swanley.

Like Mrs Asche, the couple were not gym users before the toning tables were introduced. But having once competed at a high level at swimming and gymnastics respectively as teenagers, they understand the importance of regular exercise at any age.

“The usual gym environment is for people already fit who can sustain running machines and the like,” said Mr Beadle, 66.

“I had a spine operation about three years ago and was told not to do any heavy lifting for six months but because of that you lose muscle tone.

“These machines help to build that tone up again and are an easy way into it. They are also a way of oiling the joints and helping with movement.”

Sencio is also keen to promote the social benefits of using the new equipment.

Chief executive Jane Parish said: “Only 12% of people who visit a leisure centre use a gym so this is more about trying to attract people who feel gyms are not for them.

“Toning tables have been around for years but these are much more developed and can be programmed progressively.

“They are also ideal for people with mobility issues – our very first customer walks with a walking frame and comes all the way from Edenbridge to use the tables.

“But it’s also about people feeling comfortable, not being intimidated and having fun.”

For more details contact White Oak Leisure Centre on 01322 662188.

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