US20080224412A1 - Apparatus and method to facilitate group exercise and movement - Google Patents

Apparatus and method to facilitate group exercise and movement Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080224412A1
US20080224412A1 US11/717,966 US71796607A US2008224412A1 US 20080224412 A1 US20080224412 A1 US 20080224412A1 US 71796607 A US71796607 A US 71796607A US 2008224412 A1 US2008224412 A1 US 2008224412A1
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Prior art keywords
arms
central area
arm
attached
movement
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Abandoned
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US11/717,966
Inventor
Donna Newman-Bluestein
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Donna Newman-Bluestein
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Priority to US11/717,966 priority Critical patent/US20080224412A1/en
Publication of US20080224412A1 publication Critical patent/US20080224412A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F9/00Games not otherwise provided for
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B21/00Exercising apparatus for developing or strengthening the muscles or joints of the body by working against a counterforce, with or without measuring devices
    • A63B21/28Devices for two persons operating in opposition or in cooperation
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F9/00Games not otherwise provided for
    • A63F9/0001Games specially adapted for handicapped, blind or bed-ridden persons
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F3/00Board games; Raffle games
    • A63F3/00173Characteristics of game boards, alone or in relation to supporting structures or playing piece
    • A63F3/00533Connection of game board or part of game board to supporting structure
    • A63F2003/00564Connection of game board or part of game board to supporting structure by tying to supporting structure, e.g. with ropes
    • A63F2003/00567Connection of game board or part of game board to supporting structure by tying to supporting structure, e.g. with ropes using elastic means, e.g. rubber bands

Abstract

An apparatus and method are disclosed for facilitating group movement activities. The apparatus includes a set of arms that extend radially outward from a central area. In use, a group of participants arranged in a circle around the central area each grasp at least one of the arms at a suitable point along its length, and the participants pull on the arms so as to cause the central area to move in a desired manner. The central area can be integral with the arms, or can be a distinct object, such as a disk or a polygon, with the arms attached symmetrically around its perimeter. Graphics can be applied to the surface of the central area. Bells and/or other objects that make sounds when moved can be attached to the arms. A handle and/or a cuff can be attached to the end of each arm to aid in holding it.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention generally relates to exercise and movement devices, and more specifically to devices that promote group exercise and movement.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Exercise and movement can provide a wide range of physical and psychological benefits for participants of all ages and abilities. Cardiovascular and overall physical health is improved, while at the same time mental acuity and self-esteem are enhanced.
  • Additional benefits can be realized through group-oriented exercise and movement, which can promote a healthy balance of individual self-awareness and group identity. Applications of group-oriented exercise and movement include dance/movement therapy, creative and expressive arts therapy, recreation/activity therapy, occupational therapy, early childhood gymnastics classes, physical education, special education, early childhood education, team building, inter-generational programs, and parties and ice breakers.
  • The benefits of group-oriented exercise and movement can be enhanced by providing a device that can be manipulated simultaneously by all members of the group. For example, a large ring can be grasped and moved by everyone in the group, causing all the group members to act as a unit. However, a large ring has multiple disadvantages. For example, since each grasping point along a ring is directly connected to each neighboring grasping point, individual movements of those grasping the ring around its circumference are inhibited, causing the sense of group identity to be established at the expense of self-awareness, rather than in balance with self-awareness. Further, a large ring is difficult to grasp for individuals with physical or cognitive impairments. Movement options are very limited unless all members of the group are physically able to stand and move about without fear of falling or injury. Finally, a large ring requires a fixed minimum amount of space and cannot be easily adapted to different group sizes and movement spaces.
  • Other devices such as flexible bands and cords are more adaptable to different space and group sizes, but they still provide only limited movement options since each grasping point along a band or cord is directly connected to each neighboring grasping point.
  • A large disk or parachute grasped about its periphery by participants provides a wider range of movement options. For example, a round parachute can support a ball in the center, and the participants can work together to bounce the ball in the center while standing or seated, thereby creating an active central focus. However, as before, grasping the circumference of a large disk or parachute also inhibits individual movements, again since each grasping point along the circumference of the large disk or parachute is directly connected to each neighboring grasping point. Further, the air resistance inherent in the movement of a large disk or parachute requires that the participants possess a significant amount of hand and arm strength, making use of such a device unsuitable for participants with physical or cognitive impairment.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • A group exercise and movement apparatus is disclosed, together with methods of use thereof, that is suitable for use by participants with a wide range of abilities, including participants with physical and/or cognitive impairments. The apparatus of the invention provides a central point of focus for the members of a group using the apparatus. The apparatus is easy to grasp, and experiences minimal air resistance when moved by the group. The apparatus can be used by weak and/or infirm people, since it is relatively easy to grasp or manipulate, and does not require agility or mobility. Further, the invention can be flexibly adapted to different group sizes and movement spaces. The apparatus includes a set of narrow fabric strips, herein referred to as arms, radiating outward from a central area. One end of each arm is attached to, or integral with, the central area, while the remainder of the arm is available for a participant to grasp at any desired position along its length.
  • By pulling in a cooperative manner on the arms, the participants can cause the central area to rise and fall, and otherwise to move in a desired manner. The apparatus is readily adapted to different movement spaces in accordance with the position along each arm that each participant grasps. By changing the radial distance at which each participant grasps, the size of the movement space required by the device can be controlled. Further, the invention allows a variety of group sizes to be accommodated. For example, smaller group sizes are accommodated by participants grasping more than one arm and/or by using fewer than the total number of available arms.
  • The arms can be manufactured from any suitable lightweight and flexible material, such as fabric, plastic, or some combination thereof. The arms can also be made of rope, cord, string, or twine. In preferred embodiments, the arms are made from fabric that is lightweight and comfortable to hold, and the central area includes a round disk or polygon made from fabric, plastic, or another suitable material, and can be either flat or cupped (concave), allowing it to support a ball, a beanbag, or any other suitable object to be manipulated by the apparatus. In a further preferred embodiment, the arms are manufactured from an elastic material, providing additional movement and exercise possibilities. In still another preferred embodiment, the arms and/or central area include colors and/or patterns that encourage heightened activity levels, and further draw attention to the central area of focus. In yet another preferred embodiment, objects such as small bells that make sounds when moved are attached to the arms, thereby increasing each participant's awareness of his own individual movements. Also, a handle can be attached at the end of one or more of the arms of the apparatus to aid in grasping the end of the arm by a user of the apparatus. If some users are not strong enough to grasp a handle, or the end of an arm of the device, a wrist cuff attached to the end of the arm of the device can be used to grasp and hold the users wrist, thereby avoiding the need for any grasping strength of the user.
  • Methods of use of the apparatus include raising and lowering the central area from the floor, moving the central area from side to side, bouncing the central area up and down, walking in a circle around the central area, and lifting, balancing, and tossing various objects placed on the central area. In a preferred embodiment, use of the apparatus according to any of these methods is accompanied by suitable music.
  • Accordingly, one general aspect of the invention is an apparatus for facilitating exercise and movement for a group of individuals. The apparatus includes a plurality of extended arms, the arms extending outward from a central area, each arm having an end which is graspable by an individual of the group. In preferred embodiments, the arms are integral with the central area. In preferred embodiments, the arms are distinct from the central area, and are attached thereto. In preferred embodiments, the arms and the central area are made from a strong and lightweight fabric. In preferred embodiments, the arms are attached to the central area using one of: sewing, stitching, riveting, gluing, a zipper mechanism, a Velcro™ mechanism, and a clip mechanism. In preferred embodiments, the arms are made from one of: rope, cord, string, and twine.
  • In preferred embodiments, the central area is made from one of: cloth, plastic, wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic foam, and cardboard. In preferred embodiments, the plurality of extended arms extend radially outward from the central area.
  • In preferred embodiments, at least one arm includes a handle. In preferred embodiments, a handle is attached at an adjustable location along the arm. In preferred embodiments, at least one arm includes a wrist cuff.
  • In preferred embodiments, each arm is cut from a strip of fabric. In preferred embodiments, the arms are made from an elastic material.
  • In preferred embodiments, the central area is formed by joining together one end from each of the arms. In preferred embodiments, the central area is one of a distinct: disc, polygon, concavity, ball, and saucer. In preferred embodiments, the central area is decorated. In preferred embodiments, the central area is capable of supporting an object.
  • In preferred embodiments, an object that emits sound is attached to at least one of the arms
  • Another general aspect of the invention is a method for promoting group exercise and movement. The method includes: providing an apparatus having a plurality of extended arms, the arms extending outward from a central area, each arm having an end which is graspable by a member of the group; arranging the members of the group around the central area such that each member can grasp at least one of the arms; and each member of the group pulling on at least one of the arms together with other members of the group, each member pulling a respective arm outwardly from the central area.
  • In preferred embodiments, an object is placed on the central area, and the members of the group work together to cause the object to move.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
  • The invention will be more fully understood by reference to the detailed description, in conjunction with the following figures, wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a top view of an embodiment of the invention having an integral central area;
  • FIGS. 2A and 2B are top views of embodiments of the invention having a central area with arms attached thereto, one being plain, and the other being decorated with ornamentation so as to attract more attention to the central area;
  • FIG. 2C is a side view of an arm with pendant jingle bells;
  • FIG. 2D is a side view of an arm with a handle;
  • FIG. 3 is a pictorial view of the invention in use by a group of seated participants; and
  • FIG. 4 presents a pictorial view of the invention in use by a group of seated participants, wherein an object is supported on the central area and manipulated by the group.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • With reference to FIG. 1, the exercise and movement apparatus of the invention includes a set of narrow bands of fabric 100, herein referred to as arms, radiating outward from a central integral area 102 made from any suitable material, such as fabric, plastic, or other lightweight and strong material. Each of the arms 100 extends outwardly from the central integral area 102, and is integral with respect to the central integral area. Thus, in this embodiment of the invention, the central integral area 102 and the arms 100 are made from a single piece of fabric. The arms 100 can be made from any suitable material, such as fabric, plastic, or other lightweight and strong material, and in this embodiment of FIG. 1, are made from the same material as the central integral area 102.
  • In alternate embodiments, the arms 100 can be non-integral, meaning that they can be distinct pieces that are attached (such as by sewing or stitching) to a distinct central area, as shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B, for example. In other non-integral embodiments, the arms 100 can also be made from any lightweight flexible extended material, such as rope, string, wire, cable, or twine.
  • In preferred embodiments, the central area is a distinct object that has a perimeter to which the arms can be removably attached, such as by a zipper mechanism, or by a plurality of clips. In these preferred embodiments, the central area objects are manufactured from fabric, plastic, or any other suitable material that can withstand the stress of being pulled and suspended by the arms. In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 2A, the central area 200 is a flat circular disk, whereas in FIG. 2B it is a flat polygon 202. In other preferred embodiments, the central area is shaped to form a cup or basket. In some preferred embodiments, colors and/or patterns 204 are applied to the arms and/or the central area to encourage lively activity and to further draw attention to the central area.
  • With reference to FIG. 2C, in a preferred embodiment, each participant's awareness of his or her individual movements, as well as the overall awareness of simultaneous group movement, is heightened by attaching to each arm 206 one or more small bells 208, such as jingle bells, or other apparatus that makes sound when an arm of the apparatus is moved.
  • In another preferred embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 2D, handles 210 are attached to the arms 206 to make it easier and more comfortable to grasp the arms, for example when the users are physically impaired. In some preferred embodiments these handles are fixed (such as by sewing or stitching) in location on one or more arms, while in other preferred embodiments, Velcro, buckles, or other removable fasteners are used to provide handles of variable size and/or position along the length of the arm 206, or at the end of the arm 206.
  • Alternatively, a wrist cuff can be attached at the end of each arm 206 of the apparatus for attachment to the wrist of a participant that otherwise would not be able to use the apparatus of the invention due to weakness or lameness of a hand and/or limb that would prevent that participant from holding onto an arm or handle of the invention.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates a group of seated individuals 300, 302, 304, and 306 making use of the apparatus. In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 3, the arms and the central area are made from elastic fabric that is light in weight and comfortable to hold. The participants 300, 302, 304, and 306 are arranged substantially in a circle, with the central area of the apparatus located substantially at the center of the circle. Each participant grasps at least one of the arms at a convenient point along its length. If the number of participants is less than the number of arms, some or all of the participants 302, 306 can grasp more than one arm, and/or some of the arms can be left unused. Arms to be left unused are selected such that they are located in substantially symmetrical positions about the central area. When a participant chooses to grasp an arm such that the full length of the arm is not used, the excess arm length can be held in the participant's other hand 300, or wrapped around the participant's grasping hand 308.
  • Methods of usage of the apparatus include raising and lowering the central area from the floor, moving the central area vertically and horizontally, bouncing the central area up and down, and walking in a circle around the central area. In preferred embodiments, an object such as a ball, a beanbag, or a similar item is placed on the central area, thereby increasing the difficulty, and also providing additional movement options such as balancing, bouncing, and tossing the object. FIG. 4 illustrates a preferred embodiment in which the object is a ball 400.
  • In a further preferred embodiment music is played during usage to provide a coordinating rhythm, and to make the process more enjoyable.
  • Other modifications and implementations will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as claimed. Accordingly, the above description is not intended to limit the invention except as indicated in the following claims.

Claims (20)

1. An apparatus for facilitating exercise and movement for a group of individuals, the apparatus comprising: a plurality of extended arms, the arms extending outward from a central area, each arm having an end which is graspable by an individual of the group.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the arms are integral with the central area.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the arms are distinct from the central area, and are attached thereto.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the arms and the central area are made from a strong and lightweight fabric.
5. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the arms are attached to the central area using one of: sewing, stitching, riveting, gluing, a zipper mechanism, a Velcro™ mechanism, and a clip mechanism.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the arms are made from one of: rope, cord, string, and twine.
7. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the central area is made from one of: cloth, plastic, wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic foam, and cardboard.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the plurality of extended arms extend radially outward from the central area.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one arm includes a handle.
10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein a handle is attached at an adjustable location along the arm.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one arm includes a wrist cuff.
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein each arm is cut from a strip of fabric.
13. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the arms are made from an elastic material.
14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the central area is formed by joining together one end from each of the arms.
15. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the central area is one of a distinct: disc, polygon, concavity, ball, and saucer.
16. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the central area is decorated.
17. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the central area is capable of supporting an object.
18. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein an object that emits sound is attached to at least one of the arms
19. A method for promoting group exercise and movement, the method comprising: providing an apparatus having a plurality of extended arms, the arms extending outward from a central area, each arm having an end which is graspable by a member of the group; arranging the members of the group around the central area such that each member can grasp at least one of the arms; and each member of the group pulling on at least one of the arms together with other members of the group, each member pulling a respective arm outwardly from the central area so as to cause the central area to move.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein an object is placed on the central area, and the members of the group work together to cause the object to move.
US11/717,966 2007-03-14 2007-03-14 Apparatus and method to facilitate group exercise and movement Abandoned US20080224412A1 (en)

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US20070235944A1 (en) * 2006-04-10 2007-10-11 Sardella Albert O Game of competitive physical skill in achieving balance
US20100013163A1 (en) * 2006-04-10 2010-01-21 Albert Otto Sardella Method of playing a game of competitive physical skill in achieving balance
US20110070569A1 (en) * 2009-09-21 2011-03-24 501Fit Studios Llc Group exercise program utilizing free weight, machine fitness accessory and body movement exercise combination
US8523674B2 (en) 2011-10-19 2013-09-03 Brad Kaldahl Video game controller for multiple users
US8540572B2 (en) 2011-10-19 2013-09-24 Brad Kaldahl Video game controller for multiple users
US8740707B1 (en) 2011-10-19 2014-06-03 Brad Kaldahl Video game controller for multiple users
US10603562B1 (en) 2017-03-03 2020-03-31 Darrick Green Position alignment device

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US7611149B2 (en) * 2006-04-10 2009-11-03 Albert Otto Sardella Game of competitive physical skill in achieving balance
US20100013163A1 (en) * 2006-04-10 2010-01-21 Albert Otto Sardella Method of playing a game of competitive physical skill in achieving balance
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US9295872B2 (en) * 2009-09-21 2016-03-29 Millennium Fitness Ltd Group exercise program utilizing free weight, machine fitness accessory and body movement exercise combination
US10363473B2 (en) * 2009-09-21 2019-07-30 Millennium Fitness Ltd Group exercise program utilizing free weight, machine fitness accessory and body movement exercise combination
US8523674B2 (en) 2011-10-19 2013-09-03 Brad Kaldahl Video game controller for multiple users
US8540572B2 (en) 2011-10-19 2013-09-24 Brad Kaldahl Video game controller for multiple users
US8740707B1 (en) 2011-10-19 2014-06-03 Brad Kaldahl Video game controller for multiple users
US10603562B1 (en) 2017-03-03 2020-03-31 Darrick Green Position alignment device

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