functional fitness
functional fitness

Exercising is probably not all you live to do. Most people only exercise as a way to improve their quality of life. That is the main precept behind functional fitness. These exercises are focused on the muscles you need to do your everyday tasks such as carrying in your groceries.

Definition of Functional Fitness Training

The exercises in functional fitness are concentrated on training your muscles to handle daily tasks. They mimic the basic movements you might use throughout the day doing your normal daily activities whether at work, home or play. Exercises emphasize core stability while using upper and lower body muscles simultaneously.

One example is a squat. This is a functional exercise because it uses the muscles you need to get up from a chair or to reach down to pick up objects. When you train your body to do well in different common situations, you prepare it to handle everyday tasks.

It doesn’t matter if you do functional exercises at home or the gym. Some gyms offer classes focused on functional fitness or incorporate these types of exercises into other classes like boot camps. Often, workout tools like weights, kettlebells or fitness balls are used in these types of workouts.

Primary Benefits of Functional Fitness Training

The exercises used for this type of training usually use several joints and muscles together to perform movements. For example, rather than just moving the elbows, a functional exercise may use the elbows along with the shoulders, spine, knees, hips, and ankles. When this type of training is applied properly it can not only improve your quality of life, but it can make everyday activities easier while reducing your risk of an injury. Older adults often incorporate functional exercises into their training regimen to help improve balance, muscle strength, agility and to help reduce the risk of a fall.

Examples of Functional Exercises

Functional fitness is built through the use of comprehensive physical movements. Tai chi and yoga are examples of activities that incorporate a variety of resistance and flexibility movements that are beneficial. There are other movements that include moving numerous joints and muscles such as:

  • Standing bicep curls
  • Multidirectional lunges

Lunges in a variety of directions help your body prepare for common activities like yard work or vacuuming.

Can anyone benefit from functional fitness?

Generally, functional fitness exercises are safe but there are some instances when precautions need to be taken. For instance, if you have not been exercising for quite some time or if you have health problems you should check with your primary care physician before beginning any type of new exercise program. Also, if you are pregnant, you should ask your doctor before participating. It’s also important to start with exercises that use just your body weight for resistance. Once you start getting used to exercising and your fitness level improves, they can you challenge your body more with the addition of weights or resistance tubing. For some people, beginning movements in water provides a low impact way to do functional exercise.

How Functional Fitness Pays Off

As you continue to practice functional exercises and your fitness improves, you will add more exercises to your workouts. Then you should begin to experience improvements in performing everyday tasks. This is how you improve your quality of life.