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updated: 1/3/2012 11:37 AM

Fitness center shows off high-tech equipment

Oakbrook Terrace Park District Fitness Center celebrates 20 years

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  • Will Greco, 4, of Oakbrook Terrace, greets Chicago White Sox mascot Southpaw at the Oakbrook Terrace Park District Fitness Center.

       Will Greco, 4, of Oakbrook Terrace, greets Chicago White Sox mascot Southpaw at the Oakbrook Terrace Park District Fitness Center.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago White Sox mascot Southpaw exercises with Nick Frega of Lombard as he visits the Oakbrook Terrace Park District Fitness Center Monday during its 20th anniversary celebration.

       Chicago White Sox mascot Southpaw exercises with Nick Frega of Lombard as he visits the Oakbrook Terrace Park District Fitness Center Monday during its 20th anniversary celebration.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago White Sox mascot Southpaw gives Linda Toaddy of Lombard a playful chomp on the head as he visits the Oakbrook Terrace Park District Fitness Center's 20th anniversary celebration.

       Chicago White Sox mascot Southpaw gives Linda Toaddy of Lombard a playful chomp on the head as he visits the Oakbrook Terrace Park District Fitness Center's 20th anniversary celebration.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 

Forget the dumbbells.

The Oakbrook Terrace Park District Fitness Center has installed a software-based fitness tool that it unveiled Monday with a demonstration at its 20th anniversary celebration.

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"It's like Wii with punching pads," Fitness Director Shawn Mulford said of the new Nexersys equipment.

Those punching pads record accuracy, intensity and speed. A digital screen offers techniques on motions from kickboxing and karate.

It's part of an effort to offer the latest exercise trends at the facility at 1 Parkview Plaza in an evolution from the "Arnold weightlifting era" to a focus on medical needs, Mulford said.

That's why the fitness center offers monthly screenings on nutritional, spinal and foot health from area hospitals and other providers.

Mulford's eyeing more changes. He's hoping to convert a racquetball court into an additional spinning room, improve locker-room facilities and offer more exercise classes for kids and their families.

On Monday, the celebration recognized the fitness center's 20-year legacy with free exercise classes and use of the facility until 10 p.m. And Chicago White Sox mascot Southpaw joined in on some of the exercising, too.

It was an event designed to generate awareness about the fitness center's amenities and help locals with lofty New Year's resolutions.

Fitness center staff will continue to provide tips on how to use the Nexersys equipment, including Luann Pope, the fitness center's aerobics coordinator.

The interactive device, which also records a gamelike score, will help users stick with their fitness goals, Pope said.

"Keep it fun," Pope said. "Don't make it a chore."

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