Functional fitness training: Is it right for you?

Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to help you do everyday activities safely and efficiently. Find out more about functional fitness exercises — and what they can do for you.By Mayo Clinic Staff

Do you live to exercise? Unless you’re an elite athlete, you probably answered no to that question. Most people, in fact, would say they exercise to improve their quality of life.

And that’s the focus of functional fitness. Functional fitness exercises are designed to train and develop your muscles to make it easier and safer to perform everyday activities, such as carrying groceries or playing a game of basketball with your kids.

What is functional fitness training?

Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.

For example, a squat is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you rise up and down from a chair or pick up low objects. By training your muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks, you prepare your body to perform well in a variety of common situations.

Functional fitness exercises can be done at home or at the gym. Gyms may offer functional fitness classes or incorporate functional fitness into boot camps or other types of classes. Exercise tools, such as fitness balls, kettle bells and weights, are often used in functional fitness workouts.

What are the benefits of functional fitness training?

Functional exercises tend to be multijoint, multimuscle exercises. Instead of only moving the elbows, for example, a functional exercise might involve the elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles. This type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce your risk of injury and improve your quality of life.

Functional exercise 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.

What are examples of functional fitness exercises?

Multifaceted physical movements found in activities such as tai chi and Pilates involve varying combinations of resistance and flexibility training that can help build functional fitness.

Other examples of specific functional fitness movements that use multiple joints and muscles include:

  • Multidirectional lunges
  • Standing bicep curls
  • Step-ups with weights

Multidirectional lunges prepare your body for common activities, such as vacuuming and yardwork. To do a lunge, you keep one leg in place and step out with the other leg — to the front, back or side — until your knee reaches a 90-degree angle and your rear knee is parallel to the floor.

Are functional fitness exercises for everyone?

If you are older than age 40, haven’t exercised for some time or have health problems, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Similarly, women who are pregnant should check with their doctors.

It’s also a good idea to start with exercises that use only your own body weight for resistance. As you become more fit and ready for more of a challenge, you can add more resistance in the form of weights, resistance tubing or performing movements in the water.

 The functional fitness payoff

As you add more functional exercises to your workout, you should see improvements in your ability to perform your everyday activities and, thus, in your quality of life. That’s quite a return on your exercise investment.

credit: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/functional-fitness/art-20047680?pg=2


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As a younger man, John Stock never thought of himself as a small business owner. The jobs he held early in his career didn’t exactly scream “entrepreneur.”

Equipped with a business degree, Stock spent a decade with PricewaterhouseCoopers, then became the acquisition director for Nabisco and chief financial officer for Canada-based Emco Distribution Group, a $1.5 billion corporation. That job led him from Canada to Cary where he became the CEO of Emco Wheaton.

Recreation Factory Partners CEO John Stock is photographed at the Orange County… more


“My family and I were certainly becoming accustomed to change and transformation,” he says.

That company ultimately merged with one from the United Kingdom and instead of relocating to the Northeast, Stock took a “generous package” to leave the company, but stay in the Triangle.

“We had three middle- and high-school-aged children and did not want to uproot them again,” he says.

It was a turning point for Stock.

“I suppose the more difficult personal reinventing started then to leave traditional large corporate life to become small business entrepreneurs,” he recalls.

Stock had been part of a group named Ice Ventures, a group that passively invested in the Cary Ice House and believed there existed potential to build a regional sport and recreation entity. So, they then built a Garner facility, acquired three ice rinks in Charlotte and Greensboro, built a new rink in Wilmington, and acquired the business operations of a soccer and in-line facility in Cary.

Then he formed Recreation Factory Partners, which built the flagship operation: The 200,000-square-foot Sports Factory in Wake Forest. At its peak, Recreation Factory Partners and its sister company Ice Ventures had 12 locations and $20 million in annual revenue.

Over the past decade, various groups approached Stock to purchase the facilities not in the Triangle and he sold them off one at a time. Then, New York-based Polar Ice Company acquired the Cary, Garner and Wake Forest facilities.

Separately, but at the same time, the Orange County Sportsplex was being managed by a nonprofit entity, but had average annual losses approaching $1 million. Stock took over that management contract – he had no ownership interest in the facility – and helped turn the Sportsplex into a profitable enterprise. He credits his wife, Brenda Stock, with helping make the Sportsplex profitable.

“When she first joined us to lead the effort to turn the Cary Ice House from a losing operation to one of the most profitable single-sheet ice rinks in the country, she became a permanent fixture in the business,” he says. She was then instrumental in growing the Sports Factory. Although she has no formal business training, Stock says she has some of the “most business common sense of anyone I’ve encountered,” and taught herself skills in finance and accounting. “In truth, she is an amazing story since she has an almost McKinsey-like approach to business – asking continual ‘why’ questions until she understands the root of any issue and then initiates immediate corrective action,” Stock says.

Stock carved out a part of the company set up as purely a management-services business using the staff already in place. This serves as sort of a second turning point, when Recreation Factory Partners built a successful business in managing the types of facilities that it used to own.

Recreation Factory Partners has 90 employees and about the same number of contractors who provide instructor and specialized training services.

The Orange County Sportsplex now has about 5,700 members and generates around $3.7 million in revenue per year. Orange County leaders have plans for a 50,000-square- foot addition to the facility.

The management model has been successful enough that Stock is in discussions to replicate the model in two other markets. Stock, who is 62, is also thinking about a transition, and is in the process of changing the structure from a simple limited liability entity to an S Corp. structure to facilitate added shareholders and succession.

“While I’d like to think I am still vibrant, I am likely in the last chapter of my business career,” he says.

Jason deBruyn covers the biopharmaceutical and health care industries. Follow him on Twitter @TriBizHealth or @jasondebruyn.


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Lifeguard FirstAid CPR Class
The Sportsplex will be holding a Lifeguard/CPR/First Aid Certification Class March 25th – 26th. Registration is open, so register now to reserve your spot. This class is perfect for anyone who is wanting to work at a pool/as a Lifeguard this summer, as well as anyone who needs a First Aid or CPR certification for work.

Dates & Times:
Friday, March 25th: 9am – 1pm & 2pm – 7pm
Saturday, March 26th: 9am – 1pm & 2pm – 7pm
***Future classes will be held in May/June and August.***

Full Certification: All days/times.
CPR Only: Friday 3/25 9am – 1pm
CPR & First Aid Only: Friday 3/25 9am – 1pm & Saturday 3/26 2pm – 7pm
Re-Certification: Saturday 3/26 2pm – 7pm

Full Certification: $350
CPR Only: $100
CPR & First Aid Only: $200
Re-Certification: $150

**Certifications subject to each student’s ability to pass written exams and physical tests. There are no refunds for failed tests.**

Must be 15 years old.
Must be able to swim 300 yds continously (freestyle and breaststroke), tread water for 2 minutes, and swim and retrieve a 10lb diving brick.

You can register online, or in-person at the Sportsplex by filling out a paper registration form. Please direct any questions to the Head Guard at 919.644.0339 ext. 241, or mgarbutt@oc-sportsplex.com.

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insanity logoNew this session!

Choose 1 class a week OR get even better results with 2 classes a week.

If you’re starting a workout program that calls itself “Insanity,” you know it’s going to be over the top. Insanity is a total body workout that requires no equipment. You use your own body weight for resistance. The program is based on a fitness method called “max interval training.” In traditional  Interval training, you exercise at a very intense pace for a short period of time, and then rest for longer periods in between. The idea is to increase your aerobic fitness level while burning fat.

Sunday 5-6pm and/or Wednesday 5-6pm
Starting Feb 7th and ending March 16th.

Members: $50/1 class week                  Non-members: $65/1 class week
Members: $80/2 classes week              Non-members: $110/2 classes week


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(February 2, 2016)

(Hillsborough, NC) – The Orange County SportsPlex invites boys and girls to the SportsPlex on Saturday, Feb. 20 for a Try Hockey For Free clinic as part of Hockey Weekend Across America. Starting at 1:00 pm local youth, ages 4 to 12, are encouraged to experience ice hockey for the first time and learn the basic skills in a fun, safe environment.

Try Hockey for Free“We look forward to welcoming families to SportsPlex to try our great sport of ice hockey” said Ken DiOrio, Hockey Director. “Our goal is for these families to enjoy watching their kids learn new skills with big smiles on their faces.”

We ask participants to dress accordingly.  You will be standing on a HUGE block of solid ICE!, We also ask if you have a bike helmet and snow gloves to bring those as well.  We have some helmets for use but at a limited supply.  Each participant MUST WEAR A HELMET on the ice. We will have a good number of rental skates to use as well as hockey sticks.

USA Hockey’s Try Hockey program, with the support of the National Hockey League and NHL member clubs, among others, is designed to provide youth hockey associations a national platform to introduce new kids to the sport. In addition to presenting sponsor Kraft Heinz, Total Hockey and Liberty Mutual Insurance are official sponsors of Try Hockey For Free Days. USA Hockey has close to 300 locations offering this unique opportunity to kids nationwide.

To register for this Try Hockey For Free event, please visit www.TryHockeyForFree.com.

For more information, please contact: Ken DiOrio- Orange County SportsPlex Hockey Director at KDiOrio@oc-sportsplex.com, 919-644-0339 ext 239.


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