Patent application title: Multipurpose Personal Flotation Device
Debra Blackwell Schmid (Marlton, NJ, US)
IPC8 Class: AB63B3573FI
Class name: Buoys, rafts, and aquatic devices body supporting buoyant device
Publication date: 2014-12-04
Patent application number: 20140357141
Multipurpose personal flotation devices are provided. The devices
preferably feature a unique D-ring design and use a comfortable and
effective closed cell foam as buoyant material. A partial internal frame
helps make the flotation devices well adapted for aquatic exercise and
aquatic therapy. Also provided are flotation devices that can be
assembled and disassembled. Kits for assembling the devices are also
1. A multifunctional personal buoyancy device comprising at least a
partial internal frame and one or more sections of buoyant material,
wherein the internal frame includes at least one straight section
substantially covered by an external buoyant covering, and at least one
section of the buoyant material defines an arcuate portion connected to
the straight section of the internal frame.
2. The personal buoyancy device of claim 1 that is D-ring shaped.
3. The personal flotation device of claim 1 wherein the buoyant material comprises closed-cell foam.
4. The personal flotation device of claim 2 wherein the closed cell foam comprises polyethylene, cross-linked polyethylene, EPDM, PVC, EVA, polystyrene, expanded polyethylene, neoprene, a nitrile-containing foam, an NBR foam, or a rubber foam, or any combination thereof.
5. The personal flotation device of claim 1 wherein the internal frame passes through a through-hole in each end of the arcuate portion to connect thereto.
6. The personal flotation device of claim 5 wherein the arcuate portion, the frame cover or both comprise a curved cross-sectional profile.
7. The personal flotation device of claim 5 wherein the internal frame extends sufficiently past the arcuate section to form two handles and the device further comprises handle covers thereon.
8. The personal flotation device of claim 1 that enables a user to undergo both isometric and isotonic exercise therewith.
9. The personal flotation device of claim 5 wherein the internal frame comprises one or more sections that can be connected, disconnected, or reconnected with each other or the device via one or more connectors.
10. The personal flotation device of claim 9 wherein the internal frame features two removable handles that are adapted for use as exercise dumbbells.
11. The personal flotation device of claim 10 comprising optional dumbbell ends that can be connected via connectors to the handles when the handles are removed the internal frame.
12. The personal device of claim 1 wherein the device can be disassembled for packaging and shipping and reassembled thereafter.
13. A personal buoyancy device for exercise or therapeutic use comprising at least a partial internal frame and one or more sections of buoyant material, wherein the internal frame includes at least one straight conduit substantially covered by an external buoyant covering, and at least one section of the buoyant material defines an arcuate portion connected to the straight section of the internal frame which extends to form a handle on each end of the internal frame.
14. The flotation device of claim 9 wherein a resistance band extends through the conduit of the internal frame and is connected on each end to a resistant band grip; said resistance band available to the user as further form of exercise.
15. A kit for assembling a personal flotation device said kit comprising: a) components sufficient for assembling a personal flotation device comprising at least one section of an internal frame; at least two sections of buoyant material, one of which is adapted to function as a frame cover, and the other of which is adapted to connect to the internal frame after the frame cover is applied; and optionally two handle covers; b) instructions for assembling the components into a personal flotation device; and c) a CD, DVD, or links to one or more Internet locations containing additional instructional material including but not limited a manual for use or video instruction for using the personal flotation device for exercise, therapy, recreation and/or safety.
16. The kit of claim 15 further comprising one or more of: a) a resistance band for assembly with the device; wherein the internal frame comprises a conduit and said resistance band is extended therethrough; b) one or more connectors or couplers for assembling the device; c) one or more dumbbell ends adapted for connecting to the handles of the device; and d) further information on aquatic exercise or aquatic therapy in health, or the use of the personal flotation device for exercise, therapy and improving health.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/829,555 filed May 31, 2013, the entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference.
 1. Field of the Invention
 This relates generally to personal flotation devices. More particularly this relates to personal flotation devices useful for aquatic exercise, physical therapy, rehabilitation, recreation, and the like.
 2. Description of Related Art
 Personal flotation devices are used for a number of purposes including safety, pleasure/recreation, and exercise/therapy.
 To be useful, such devices must provide enough buoyancy to allow the person using the devices to either float completely, or partially depending on the use. Moreover, for the purposes of exercise or therapy, it can be the case that the more buoyant the device the more resistance can be created in the water. For example, with aquatic dumbbells, greater buoyancy means that greater resistance is encountered by the user to force the dumbbell into the water, or that greater effort is required to resist the buoyant force of the dumbbell rising to the service.
 In various scenarios, the user may sit on, lie on, or use a flotation device for support. For some purposes, only a limited degree of buoyancy is desirable because the end use requires that the user be more submerged--for example walking or jogging in a pool for rehabilitation is not possible if there is no contact with the bottom of the pool, even though the user's may be free for movement. Current flotation devices generally do not provide many options for the end users. Moreover, current devices are often not comfortable, and are fairly limited in their application for multiple purposes; i.e. many devices are only useful for a single intended purpose.
 There is therefore a need for new flotation devices that are useful for a variety of purposes and provide new features and benefits.
 In a first of the several aspects of this disclosure, the inventor has provided multifunctional personal buoyancy devices (generally referred to as "flotation devices" herein) comprising at least a partial internal frame and one or more sections of buoyant material. The internal frame generally includes at least one straight section substantially covered by an external buoyant covering. At least one section of the buoyant material defines an arcuate or curved portion connected to the straight section of the internal frame.
 In certain presently preferred embodiments, the personal buoyancy devices provided herein are D-ring shaped, and this shape provides useful properties.
 The inventor has surprisingly discovered that a simple to assemble and build personal flotation device has many benefits, and is particularly useful for aquatic exercise and therapy.
 In another of its several aspects, provided are personal buoyancy devices for exercise or therapeutic use comprising at least a partial internal frame and one or more sections of buoyant material, wherein the internal frame includes at least one straight conduit substantially covered by an external buoyant covering, and at least one section of the buoyant material defines an arcuate portion connected to the straight section of the internal frame which extends to form a handle on each end of the internal frame.
 In certain aspects the flotation devices include a frame that allows them to be easily assembled and disassembled. In other aspects of this disclosure, the personal flotation devices are particularly adapted for physical therapy and aquatic exercise and include a resistance band to provide additional movement/exercise options for the user.
 In another of its several aspects, methods of using the devices for exercise or therapy are provided herein.
 In yet another aspect, the invention provides novel kits for assembling a personal flotation device said kit comprising:
 a) components sufficient for assembling a personal flotation device comprising at least one section of an internal frame; at least two sections of buoyant material, one of which is adapted to function as a frame cover, and the other of which is adapted to connect to the internal frame after the frame cover is applied; and optionally two handle covers;
 b) instructions for assembling the components into a personal flotation device; and
 c) a CD, DVD, or links to one or more Internet locations containing additional instructional material including but not limited a manual for use or video instruction for using the personal flotation device for exercise, therapy, recreation and/or safety.
 These and/or further aspects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art in view of this disclosure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 depicts an embodiment of a personal flotation device as provided herein from a top view. FIG. 1 (a) shows a cross sectional view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1. The cross section is taken through line A-B.
 FIG. 2 depicts an view of an embodiment of the internal frame featuring connectors that allow assembly and disassembly of the device, and in particular removal of the handles.
 FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of the flotation device further comprising a resistance band extending through the internal frame, which is present as a conduit.
 Provided herein are flotation devices for personal use in exercise, therapy, or recreation. Also provided are flotation devices that can be readily assembled or disassembled as need for storage and which feature cross-functional uses.
 The inventor has surprisingly discovered a simple structure that is comfortable, flexible, useful and convenient to use as compared to current devices for such purposes. In operation, the devices are used in water (e.g. a pool, lake, or other body of water) by a user who in one application will slip the device over his or her head. The versatile design provides multiple ways for the user to manipulate the device to accommodate the desired outcome. In one application, the device is positioned against the user's back (i.e., in the D-ring design the arc section is placed at the back of the user in this mode), and the user's arms are on top of the device, along the arc section. The user can grasp the handles and then move his or her lower body in a variety of motions to achieve the end result of the exercise or therapy. The user can also press the handles downward, and/or resist their return to the surface in order to exercise the arms and upper body in various ways.
 Alternatively, the user can grasp the handles and lean forward to free up a variety of other leg movements, kicks, and the like. Still another mode of use involves sitting on the arc section of the device, and gripping the handles. The user can them pump his/her arms while pedaling or circling the legs. There are many other variations on movements and configurations. Surprisingly the device can provide both isotonic and isometric exercise to facilitate muscle strengthening and therapy. The device can also be used for safety for children or nonswimmers, or for pure recreation.
Definitions & Abbreviations
 Unless expressly defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms, terms of art, and acronyms used herein have the meanings commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art in the field(s) of the invention, or in the field(s) where the term is used. In accordance with this description, the following abbreviations and definitions apply.
 As used herein, the singular form of a word includes the plural, and vice versa, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, the references "a", "an", and "the" are generally inclusive of the plurals of the respective terms. For example, reference to "a trial" or "a participant" includes a plurality of such "trials" or "participants."
 The words "comprise", "comprises", and "comprising" are to be interpreted inclusively rather than exclusively. Likewise the terms "include", "including" and "or" should all be construed to be inclusive, unless such a construction is clearly prohibited from the context. Further, forms of the terms "comprising" or "including" are intended to include embodiments encompassed by the phrases "consisting essentially of" and "consisting of". Similarly, the phrase "consisting essentially of" is intended to include embodiments encompassed by the phrase "consisting of".
 Where used herein, ranges are provided in shorthand, so as to avoid having to list and describe each and every value within the range. Any appropriate value within the range can be selected, where appropriate, as the upper value, lower value, or the terminus of the range.
 The methods and devices and/or other advances disclosed here are not limited to particular methodology, protocols, and/or structures described herein because, as the skilled artisan will appreciate, they may vary. Further, the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only, and is not intended to, and does not, limit the scope of that which is disclosed or claimed.
 Although any devices, methods, articles of manufacture, or other means or materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice of the present invention, the preferred compositions, methods, articles of manufacture, or other means or materials are described herein.
 All patents, patent applications, publications, technical and/or scholarly articles, and other references cited or referred to herein are in their entirety incorporated herein by reference to the extent permitted under applicable law. Any discussion of those references is intended merely to summarize the assertions made therein. No admission is made that any such patents, patent applications, publications or references are prior art, or that any portion thereof is either relevant or material to the patentability of what is claimed herein. Applicant specifically reserves the right to challenge the accuracy and pertinence of any assertion that such patents, patent applications, publications, and other references are prior art, or are relevant, and/or material.
 The following abbreviations apply unless indicated otherwise:
 cm: centimeter(s);
 in: inches;
 t: time.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS
 In a first of its several aspects, provided herein are multifunctional personal buoyancy devices. The devices generally comprise at least a partial internal frame and one or more sections of buoyant material. Preferably the internal frame includes at least one straight section. The internal frame substantially covered by an external buoyant covering, and at least one section of the buoyant material defines an arcuate portion connected to the straight section of the internal frame.
 The devices have been shown to be useful for a wide variety of purposes. They are particularly well suited for use in aquatic exercise, physical therapy, and aquatic-based rehabilitation exercises. The unique properties of the devices, such as the D-shaped devices, allow a user to comfortably hold, e.g., the straight section. In particular, the combination of the curved and straight sections allow the user to from the "outside" of the device, or from the "inside" of the device (e.g. while `wearing` the device around their torso (similar to prior ring-type flotation devices). The buoyant material is lightweight, but provides excellent resistance for a large variety of aquatic exercise, therapy, or rehabilitation due to its buoyancy and dimensions. The devices can also be used as novelties/toys and provide the advantages of being very lightweight yet at least partially rigid such that they retain their shape.
 The devices may be of any useful shape. In one preferred embodiment, the personal buoyancy device has a substantially D-ring shape. For example, the device can comprise an internal frame having a single straight section. The frame is covered with buoyant material and connected to an arcuate section of buoyant material. In a presently preferred embodiment, the D-ring shaped device defines an internal area that is large to go around a person's torso and allows the device to be slipped over the person's head or stepped into conveniently.
 The D-ring devices can have any useful dimensions as will be discussed more fully below. In one embodiment, the D-Ring structure has dimension along the straight portion or section of about 22 in, but can vary e.g. from about 16 to about 30 in or more. The curved portion of the D-ring structure can comprise a single section of total length of about 60 in., but can vary from e.g. about 36 in. to about 84 in. The inner radius of the D-ring in various embodiments is about 18 in., and can vary from e.g. 12 in. to about 32 in. or more. It will be apparent to the skilled artisan that the smaller dimensions would be more inclined to meet the needs of a child or a smaller person while the larger dimensions would meet the needs of adults, and the largest dimensions would be adapted generally to the big and large people, plus sizes, and even morbidly obese who require support during aqua exercise or therapy.
 The devices are exceedingly lightweight and devices suitable for flotation for average size people (of, e.g., 180-200 lbs body weight) weigh less than one pound. The heaviest component of the devices is generally the internal frame. Because of the lightweight nature of the devices, it is anticipated that they may find use in the area of water safety as they may be much easier to throw or project to a distressed or tired swimmer, a panicked person in the water or a person who has been injured or is otherwise unable to get themselves to safety. A small or less muscular lifeguard would be able to toss the flotation devices more readily than traditional life rings. Even a small person, an elderly person, or a child could throw the instant devices and increase the chance of having a successful outcome.
 The devices are useful for recreation. For example, many popular "water parks" featuring slides, pools, rivers and the like have been developed. In one embodiment, the devices may be used for example on a "lazy river" where the user simply needs to float enough to allow the "current" generated by powerful pumps to propel them through the `river`. Commonly flotation jackets, inner tubes, or the like are used. The flotation devices used are easier to use than jackets because they do not need to buckled or size-adjusted. They are also more durable than even the most heavy-duty tube-style floats, particularly the embodiments using closed cell foam as the buoyant material. Accordingly, the devices disclosed herein offer many practical and economic advantages over the flotation devices currently in use for such purposes.
 More commonly however, the devices are used for exercise and physical therapy and while much of this disclosure is directed to such applications, it should be kept in mind that the devices are multifunctional or multipurpose.
 The devices may be readily understood with reference to the figures. FIG. 1 depicts a top view of an embodiment 100 of a personal flotation device 110. The device 110 features a prominent arcuate section 120 of buoyant material, such as closed-cell foam. Arc section 120 is connected to the internal frame 150, which is covered by a frame cover 160--comprising a further section of buoyant material. Handles 180 are integral with the internal frame 150 and are covered with handle covers 185 comprising padded material that increases comfort and aids the user in gripping the device, particular when it is wet. As will be seen, in certain embodiments the handles 180 are removable.
 In a presently preferred embodiment, the cross-sectional profile of the buoyant materials (e.g. arc section 120 and frame cover 160) is preferably smooth and symmetrical, such that the top and bottom of the flotation device are substantially the same in look and feel to the user. In one embodiment the cross-sectional profile of the buoyant material is round. In such embodiments, commercially available foam tubes may be used to make the device. FIG. 1a shows a cross-sectional view of the device 110 taken at line A-B. It can be seen that the buoyant material of arc section 120 and the frame cover 160 are circular in cross section. This provides excellent comfort factor to the user of the device 110, particularly where the device is worn around the torso, e.g. the user is within the D-ring structure and depending on the depth of the water, the device is held under the arms, e.g. in the vicinity of the arm pits during use. The smooth or round cross-section is also well adapted to uses wherein the users sits on arc section 120 or frame cover 160. Diameter 105 of the buoyant material may be varied to alter the buoyancy or the comfort or fit of the device 110. Diameters of such material may range from about 2 in to 6 in or more, with about 2 to about 4 in preferred at present. Many commercial suppliers of closed cell foam tubes provide them in such diameters. It is to be noted that in FIG. 1a the bulk of arc structure 120 that is observable (presented with lighter line weight and cross-hatching) is in the background--i.e. not in the same plane as the cross-section. It can also bee seen from the cross-sectional view in FIG. 1a that the buoyant material (e.g. tubes of closed cell foam in this embodiment) may be manufactured similar to a conduit, i.e. with center hole 108 running along the length of the tube. In certain embodiments (as depicted), hole 108 is well adapted to having the foam tube serve as a frame cover 160 as the interior hole 108 diameter 111 can be selected to correspond to the external diameter of the internal frame 150 (e.g. commercially available PVC or ABS conduit), thus facilitating construction.
 The internal frame 150 may be made of any lightweight material with sufficient strength to help preserve the structure of the device. Preferably the material used for the frame 150 is water resistant and chemical resistant. Particularly useful are materials that are resistant to chemicals used for treating water (such as chlorine, bromine, and salt used to treat swimming pools) or present naturally therein (e.g. salt in seawater). Presently preferred for use with the devices 110 are readily available materials such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). Both of the foregoing materials are commercially available as pipes in a variety of useful diameters. Each of these materials has adequate strength, and chemical resistance, and are sufficiently lightweight. PVC is more resistant to UV light and thus may be preferred in embodiments where in the devices are intended for outdoor use, even though the vast majority of the internal frame is covered with buoyant material and not directly exposed to UV light.
 In various embodiments, the buoyant material can be any buoyant material including, for example, an air-filled bladder, foam, or other buoyant material. Buoyant closed-cell foams are preferred for certain embodiments herein. Surprisingly, the inventor has found that closed foam products commonly referred to as "noodles" or "pool noodles" provide an excellent source of closed cell foam. As with the PVC or ABS materials for the internal frame component, the pool noodles are commercially available in a variety of diameters, lengths, and cross-sectional profiles.
 Preferably, the devices are buoyant for extended periods of time as measured by time (t) in the water. In various embodiments, the buoyant material preferred for use herein will remain buoyant (defined as retaining at least 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, or even more of the original buoyancy) after a period of hours, days, weeks, months or even longer in the water. Many material will eventually lose or have reduced buoyancy after prolonged exposure and use in the water, e.g. they can become `water-logged` or the like. Preferably the buoyant material for use herein will regain any `lost` buoyancy after a brief period of drying, such as by simply being removed from the water, or placed in the sun.
 Generally any closed cell can be used with the devices. Examples include polystyrene, polyethylene, cross-linked polyethylene, EPDM, PVC or other vinyl foams, EVA (e.g. a co-polymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate), expanded polyethylene, neoprene, and various rubber foams including nitrile and NBR foams, and combinations of any of the foregoing. Particularly useful are those that are commercially available as tubes, and those that can be thermo-formed or molded.
 In one embodiment, the buoyant material can be partially sprayed on or molded onto the internal frame. In such embodiments, the foam may not yet be formed, hardened, or fully expanded at the time of application to the frame. In other embodiments, the foam is fully expanded and cured prior to application as described above.
 As discussed above, the flotation devices can be adapted for people of any body size or body weight. It is to be understood that the D-ring shaped devices 110 can be made in a variety of sizes such as children's and adult's, small-medium-large, or based on height or weight. Not only can the overall dimensions of the device (e.g. the length of the internal frame 150 (and the frame cover 160) and the radius of arc section 120) be varied to accommodate different body sizes, the diameter or effective diameter of the buoyant material (e.g. diameter 105 as seen in FIG. 1a) can be varied to accommodate people of different body weights, or to provide more comfort or security to people in the water. For example, a total nonswimmer, or a person with limited use, control, or strength in their legs may require greater buoyancy to have confidence while doing therapy in the water than a confident swimmer who is using a device to practice and develop more powerful kick, or an otherwise able-bodied person who is rehabilitating an injury. The latter people would tend to require less buoyancy than the former people when using the device 110. The skilled artisan will appreciate that the larger the radius of the buoyant material, e.g. arc section 120 and frame cover 160, the more buoyant the device 110, and concomitantly, the more weight it can support.
 In another aspect of the disclosure, provided are personal flotation devices consistent with the foregoing, and further featuring an internal frame that comprises one or more sections that can be connected, disconnected, or reconnected with each other or the device. With further reference to the figures, FIG. 2 shows an embodiment 200 of internal frame 250 that can be assembled and disassembled. Handles 280 can be readily connected or disconnected to the internal frame 250 via connectors or couplings 225(a,b). It should be noted in this embodiment, the internal frame actually comprises 3 separate pieces (i.e. center section 250a, plus the two handles 280).
 Once the handles are removed/disconnected, the arc section (not shown) can also be removed. The inventor has discovered that the devices featuring such internal frames 250 offer several advantages. The devices can be disassembled to store substantially flat and can also be shipped more cost effectively. Moreover, the inventor has developed a further advantage whereby the handles 280, once separated from the internal frame section 250a are adapted to convert to aqua exercise dumbbells. The handles 280 are adapted to connect (via further couplings 225(a,b) that can be received on each end thereof) to end pieces fitted with one or more short sections of frame material having buoyant material thereon to serve as dumbbell ends (not shown). Generally such dumbbell ends feature relatively short lengths of e.g. PVC or ABS frame, with a short section of closed cell foam. In one embodiment the foam ends are round `slices` of foam, however other cross sections such as square, hexagonal or the like are possible. The relative resistance of the handles 280 converted into dumbbells can be varied by using dumbbell ends featuring `thicker` sections of foam, or using section of foam with a great effective radius. The larger the radius and/or thicker the section, the great the resistance will be in the water.
 The couplings 225(a,b) may be of any type known in the art wherein assembly and disassembly can be effected quickly and preferably with the use of any tools. In various embodiments the couplings 225(a,b) feature interconnecting or interlocking male-female portions, quick connect or quick release devices, or the like. Various types of retaining means are known in the art and will be suitable for use herein. In one embodiment the couplings have fairly tight tolerance and retain the handles by friction alone and can be attached/detached with a simple twisting or untwisting motion. The couplings 225(a,b) preferably provide a reasonably secure attachment such the handles when attached provide solid connection to the frame and the user can manipulate the device during various exercises or movements without any inadvertent disconnection of the handles 280 or the like. Moreover, generally it is preferred that there be no portion of the coupling the projects off of the end(s) of the handles 280. Rather, it is preferred that connection be made with an unexposed portion of handles 280, e.g. wherein the handle 280 is received into the coupling 225(a,b) as depicted in FIG. 2.
 In various embodiments, the internal frame 250 comprises a hollow (e.g. the frame 250 is made from a conduit or pipe) and thus handles 280 are also hollow, and both have ends 265 wherein the exterior portion and interior portion are accessible for connection. Thus, while many configurations of having the handles readily removable are contemplated for use herein, in one presently preferred embodiment, the connections via couplings 225(a,b) are arranged such that the handles 280 insert into the inside end 255 of the coupling rather than vice versa. In this manner, when the handles 280 are not being used as dumbbells the end of the handles 280 will be smooth, and may even be adapted to receive an end-piece, e.g. for cosmetic purposes. The opposite configuration is also contemplated, i.e. wherein the coupling is received into both the handle 280 and section 250a of the internal frame.
 In yet another aspect of the disclosure, a flotation in accordance with all of the foregoing is provided. The device features an internal frame that has a hollow therethrough. A further component is connected to the device by running the length of a suitable resistance band the length of the internal frame and having grips attached thereto such that the user can add the additional exercises provided by the resistance band.
 This can be more fully understood by further reference to the drawings. FIG. 3 shows an embodiment 300 of the flotation device 310 showing this further aspect. The arc section 320 is interconnected with the internal frame 350 having a hollow therethrough. In various embodiments, the internal frame 350 is a section of conduit or pipe made of e.g. PVC, ABS, or other lightweight, water resistant and chemical resistant material. Resistance band 370, such as are known in the art is extended through the hollow of the internal frame 350 and extending beyond handles 380 to resistance band grips 375.
 The skilled artisan will appreciate that the user of the device 310 may do all of the exercises/movements otherwise possible with the flotation devices as described above, and may also use the resistance band 370 in a wide variety of movements to augment both upper and lower body exercise
 A further aspect of the invention provides a method of aquatic exercise or therapy comprising the steps of:
 a) providing to at least one person a personal flotation device comprising at least a partial internal frame and one or more sections of buoyant material, wherein the internal frame includes at least one straight section substantially covered by an external buoyant covering, and at least one section of the buoyant material defines an arcuate portion connected to the straight section of the internal frame; and
 b) carrying out an exercise or therapy session utilizing the device.
 In one embodiment the method is used by an exercise instructor or a therapist to conduct an exercise class or therapy session. Preferably the person using the device is capable of using the device safely and carrying out the exercise or following the instructor's direction.
 In another aspect of the disclosure, provided are kits for a personal flotation device. The kits generally comprise the following in one or more packages:
 a) components sufficient for assembling a personal flotation device comprising at least one section of an internal frame; at least two sections of buoyant material, one of which is adapted to function as a frame cover, and the other of which is adapted to connect to the internal frame after the frame cover is applied; and optionally two handle covers;
 b) instructions for assembling the components into a personal flotation device;
 c) a CD, DVD, or links to one or more Internet locations containing additional instructional material including but not limited a manual for use or video instruction for using the personal flotation device for exercise, therapy, recreation and/or safety;
 and optionally:
 d) a resistance band for assembly with the device;
 e) one or more connectors or couplers for assembling the device;
 f) one or more dumbbell ends adapted for connecting to the handles of the device; and
 g) further information on aquatic exercise or aquatic therapy in health, or the use of the personal flotation device for exercise, therapy and improving health.
 The scope of the invention is set forth in the claims appended hereto, subject, for example, to the limits of language. Although specific terms are employed to describe the invention, those terms are used in a generic and descriptive sense and not for purposes of limitation. Moreover, while certain presently preferred embodiments of the claimed invention have been described herein, those skilled in the art will appreciate that such embodiments are provided by way of example only. In view of the teachings provided herein, certain variations, modifications, and substitutions will occur to those skilled in the art. It is therefore to be understood that the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described, and such ways of practicing the invention are either within the scope of the claims, or equivalent to that which is claimed, and do not depart from the scope and spirit of the invention as claimed.
Patent applications in class BODY SUPPORTING BUOYANT DEVICE
Patent applications in all subclasses BODY SUPPORTING BUOYANT DEVICE