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Hot Fitness Trend: Functional Fitness

January 16, 2014, 6:17 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Hot Fitness Trend: Functional Fitness

57-year-old Michelle Rife hopes to get a "step up" on her health. She's trying out this new piece of workout equipment that challenges her balance.

"I think this is really perfect for me being over 50--in the later 50's--because I do feel like my balance and stability isn't as good," Rife said.

Through this exercise, Personal Trainer Karri Stearns hopes participants are able to learn how to focus their mind on stabilizing their body.

"To get this mind-body connection using your core because if you think about daily activities, and when you are reaching for something or you are balancing on one foot, people aren't aware of that. That's when they tip over," Avera McKennan Fitness Center Group Exercise Supervisor Karri Stearns said.

Along with improving your stability, this exercise can also help strengthen your core muscles.

"Those are the muscles that are going to help us if we feel like we are going to fall. We can then catch ourselves," Stearns said.

To make the exercise even more difficult participants can incorporate weights and other exercise equipment.

"I could feel my core working while I was lifting the weights. I felt that extra edge. Also it helped with concentration," Rife said.

While this exercise may seem intense, Rife says anyone can try out functional fitness.

"You can do it at your level. Some people are on the two steps. I just take the one because I'm newer to it, and I don't feel like I have very good balance," Rife said.

Even those who struggle to balance can work to improve their stability.

"We would probably start them just standing and holding onto a chair and not even using a balance tool," Stearns said.

While you might have to go out of your comfort zone,

"The first day I was like, 'Umm,'" Rife said.

Rife is glad she switched up her routine.

"It's pushed me to a new level," Rife said.

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