New func­tional fit­ness stu­dio opens at YMCA in Ni­a­gara Falls

The Niagara Falls Review - - Local - PAUL FORSYTH Ni­a­gara This Week

Folks squeez­ing in a work­out at the Ni­a­gara Falls YMCA now have a whole new slew of ex­er­cise op­tions, in­clud­ing climb­ing over­head bars and wail­ing away at heavy box­ing bags with the in­tro­duc­tion of the cen­tre’s first func­tional fit­ness stu­dio.

YMCA of­fi­cials gath­ered in a for­mer squash court in­side the cen­tre at McBain Com­mu­nity Cen­tre in Mon­trose Road couldn’t re­sist do­ing some climb­ing, punch­ing and pulling on pul­leys as the new ad­di­tion of­fi­cially opened on Wed­nes­day.

Func­tional fit­ness has been grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years, with en­tire gyms de­voted to it with what ap­pears to be min­i­mal­ist equip­ment such as ket­tle bells and large ropes.

Cathyann White, vice-pres­i­dent of health, fit­ness and aquat­ics for YMCA of Ni­a­gara, said the premise of func­tional fit­ness is that it uses your own body weight in con­junc­tion with equip­ment or tools to repli­cate ev­ery­day body move­ments you do at home, at work or in sports.

“It im­proves strength, bal­ance and flex­i­bil­ity,” she said.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., says while us­ing var­i­ous mus­cles in the up­per and lower body at the same time, func­tional fit­ness ex­er­cises also em­pha­size core sta­bil­ity.

Func­tional ex­er­cises tend to use mul­ti­ple joints and nu­mer­ous mus­cles. In­stead of only mov­ing the el­bows, for ex­am­ple, a func­tional ex­er­cise might in­volve the el­bows, shoul­ders, spine, hips, knees and an­kles, the Mayo Clinic says.

“This type of train­ing, prop­erly ap­plied, can make ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties eas­ier, re­duce your risk of in­jury and im­prove your qual­ity of life,” the clinic says.

Train­ing may be es­pe­cially ben­e­fi­cial as part of a com­pre­hen­sive pro­gram for older adults to im­prove bal­ance, agility and mus­cle strength, and re­duce the risk of falls.

Krista Cienik, man­ager of the Ni­a­gara Falls YMCA cen­tre, said the func­tional fit­ness stu­dio open­ing is a sec­ond part of a ma­jor redo of the branch’s fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties.

“At the end of Au­gust we did a com­plete re­fresh of our fit­ness cen­tre. We have all new car­dio equip­ment, we have a new, more open lay­out that al­lows mem­bers to work more flu­idly. We have all new, high-tech equip­ment with TVs, Net­flix, On­De­mand.

“It’s bring­ing us more into the mod­ern era,” said Cienik.

White said the im­prove­ments are part of the YMCA’s hefty in­vest­ments in im­prov­ing its var­i­ous Ni­a­gara cen­tres, which has in­cluded re­fur­bished cen­tres in Grimsby, Wel­land and St. Catharines in the past few years.

“It’s part of our on­go­ing com­mit­ment to re­vi­tal­iza­tion,” she said. “We’ll con­tinue to look at ways we can en­hance pro­gram­ming for all ages.”

That in­cludes new skills-based sports for kids, and re­vis­ing aquat­ics stan­dards, said White.

“We’re con­stantly try­ing to im­prove and that’s what this is part of. (We’re) just try­ing to en­hance and mod­ern­ize our ap­proach to fit­ness pro­gram­ming to keep it fresh.”

Four new group fit­ness classes were also added re­cently, such as Zumba strong, Barre and yoga, said White.

De­spite the size­able in­vest­ments in im­prove­ments, Cienik stressed that peo­ple or fam­i­lies with lim­ited means shouldn’t think join­ing the YMCA will be be­yond what they can af­ford. Be­cause it’s a char­i­ta­ble agency, the YMCA of­fers fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to any­one who shows need.

“Any­body who has a need, we can help them par­tic­i­pate, which re­ally sep­a­rates us from our com­peti­tors. We do a quick as­sess­ment so we can find a rate that’s fea­si­ble for them so they can par­tic­i­pate.”

PAUL FORSYTH NI­A­GARA THIS WEEK

Sam Cameron, Chico An­deri and Melody Cosby with the YMCA Ni­a­gara Falls branch try out some of the new equip­ment on the Precor Queenax train­ing ma­chine in the new func­tional fit­ness stu­dio in the branch.

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