The backyard gym

PALO ALTO — When his patients need a quiet, private place to work out, Amol sends them to his backyard.

The Palo Alto podiatrist owns a special kind of Modern-Shed: His 12-by-26-foot structure is half ballet studio for his 17-year-old daughter and half exercise room with pressurized conditions to help those with breathing issues, balance troubles and other ailments.

In the sealed 12-by-13-foot exercise space, oxygen is sucked out to mimic the atmosphere at high altitudes.

That may sound strange, but the pressurized conditions help those with breathing problems, Amol says.

Amol found Modern-Shed through articles in Sunset magazine because he was looking for a pre-fabricated structure that would be easy to put together.

He and his wife regularly run triathlons and other races, so they wanted a space to train.

However, the foot doctor has issues with his knees, caused by genetics and other factors.

In his Modern-Shed, he installed a special anti-gravity AlterG treadmill that allows him to run with less stress on his joints.

“You can train at a faster speed with less stress,” Amol said. “The treadmill has a built-in air compressor and a sealed-in area at the waist where you zip into shorts, so then you use your body weight to just run or walk.”

Despite a downturn in the economy, home fitness is alive and well, said Jeff Bergerson, Seattle-area sales representative for Precor fitness equipment.

Modern-Sheds allow people to create the type of fitness spaces that match their needs.

“About 75 percent of the people that come into our store, they’re going to say we just don’t have enough room,” Bergerson said. “These elliptical and treadmills are so big. Many people are looking for multiple pieces. Unless they have a large house, they’re going to need to create more space.”

Amol encourages his friends, patients and teenage friends of his daughter to train in his Modern-Shed.

“It’s good for people who have balance problems, people who have had a stroke, or Parkinson’s,” he said. “It’s a pretty amazing thing.”

— Arla Shephard

Amol Saxena uses an AlterG treadmill in a pressurized room that mimics high-altitude conditions.
Amol uses an AlterG treadmill in a pressurized room that mimics high-altitude conditions.
Amol Saxena's daughter uses half of the Modern-Shed as a ballet studio.
Amol’s daughter uses half of the Modern-Shed as a ballet studio.
The Saxena's Modern-Shed is half fitness room and half ballet studio, all steps away from their home.
Amol’s Modern-Shed is half fitness room and half ballet studio, all steps away from their home.

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