People who don't like having to concentrate on choreography with zumba or step aerobics often make their way to a core board class at Belleville Health and Sports Center.
Core boards are oval platforms that tilt and swivel with short bases that can be adjusted to make them more or less "wobbly." Even a simple exercise, like standing on the textured rubber surface and rocking from side to side, yields results.
"You're working a lot on your core because your whole body has to stay engaged just to keep your balance," said Denise Dill, 51, of Belleville, a personal trainer at the center.
On a recent Monday morning, Denise was looking through a window into the aerobics room, watching a core board class taught by Micki Classen.
About 10 women followed Micki's lead by stretching, twisting, jogging, bending, marching, punching and "swimming" on boards. Those who felt steady enough even did jumping jacks.
Upbeat music played on the sound system. Mirrored walls allowed students to keep an eye on their form.
"If you're crooked, straighten up," said Micki, 60, of Belleville, who also serves as center manager.
Micki likes core board because it provides cardiovascular exercise while helping people improve or maintain balance and strengthen abdominal and back muscles.
Anne Miller has been dropping in on the core-board class off and on for about six months. She describes it as high energy and fun.
"It takes a while to get your balance," said Anne, 36, of Belleville. "You just have to take it slow. You can start with more low impact and work up to the higher impact."
The core-board class is open to people of all ages. It can benefit senior citizens, who often lose balance as they get older.
Beverly Benedict, 66, of Belleville, has been taking core board for several years, along with weight lifting, pilates, indoor cycling and TRX (total body resistance exercise).
She likes core board because it works a variety of muscles and seems easier on her joints than some exercises.
"I don't really like step aerobics," she said. "I don't like zumba, either. I'm not a dancer. I guess I don't have that much rhythm. With core board, you just do what (Micki) says."
Reebok core boards similar to the ones used at Belleville Health and Sports Center can be purchased for $140 to $200. They're furnished for people in the class, which begins at 9 a.m. Mondays.
The center is at 1001 S. 74th St. Classes are free for members or $11 per class for non-members. For more information, call 618-398-2778 or visit bhsc.info/index.html.
Micki's list of what else is hot in fitness
Extreme Body Blast -- The center's version of boot camp
Power Cut -- Weight-lifting class
Zumba -- Aerobics that incorporates several dance forms
Indoor Cycling -- Riding stationary bikes with a group leader
TRX -- Total body resistance exercise with suspension equipment
Chair Aerobics -- Exercising while seated
Yoga and Tai Chi -- Age-old practice to build strength, flexibility and balance
Pilates -- Customized body-conditioning routine with equipment (reformer) or without (mat)