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The New

Roll Off Pounds

July 31, 1986

Need to get rolling again on a regular exercise program?

The Ball Trek exerciser might just shape up your sagging muscles and strengthen your resolve.

The new training device, touted as the best way to make whole-body exercise safe and fun, looks like a giant pair of thongs. Inset in the bottom of each are 13 nylon roller balls; on the top are Velcro straps.

Wearing the devices over workout shoes, users participate in low-impact exercise classes or perform a 15-minute series of five low-impact lower body exercises. Either way, the aim's the same: to improve muscle strength and flexibility and raise the heart rate enough to achieve a training effect--all at the same time--without the jarring effects of jumping or running.

Although the devices look precarious enough to fell even the most coordinated user, they have been biomechanically tested and deemed "relatively safe" by exercise physiologists at the National Athletic Health Institute, affiliated with Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood. Now under way at the institute is a study of the device's physical effects on 28 exercisers, ages 21-35.

As with most exercise, it's tougher than it looks. "You can actually work up a sweat," said 29-year-old Katja Jones, one of the study participants. "You really have to use your leg muscles."

By year's end, the company expects to sell more than 25,000 of the devices, priced at $74.95 for small sizes and $79.95 for regular sizes. Luckily for the fashion-conscious, the Ball Trek exerciser comes in enough colors (black, blue, red, white, yellow, purple and gray) to spare any worry about that kind of coordination. Look for Ball Trek exercisers at your local sporting goods emporium starting next month.

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