Glad you asked! Functional Fitness is a form of exercise that trains and develops your muscles to make it easier and safer to perform everyday activities, such as carrying groceries, unloading the dishwasher, or carrying a bag of dog food. It also helps athletes and non-athletes improve their stamina and strength for activities such as running, snow shoeing, skiing and swimming.
What is functional fitness training?
Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together by using complex muscle sets to simulate common movements you might do at home, at work or while playing sports. 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 when you pick up low objects. By training your muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks, you are preparing your body to perform across a number of common situations.
Functional fitness exercises can be done at home or in a gym. Many gyms offer functional fitness classes. by incorporating it into boot camps or other class types. They also include high-intensity functional training, where you do a variety of functional movements at high intensity. Exercises may include aerobic exercises, body weight movements and weightlifting. Exercise tools, such as fitness balls, kettlebells and weights, are often used in functional fitness workouts.
What are the benefits of functional fitness training?
Functional exercises tend to use multiple joints and complex muscle sets. Functional exercises involve elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees , shoulders, back, abdominals and ankles. This type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, help 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.
Is functional fitness for everyone?
If you haven’t exercised for some time, or if you have health problems, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Similarly, if you’re pregnant, check with your doctor. Moderate activity is generally safe during pregnancy if you’re healthy, but your doctor can assess what’s best for you.
It’s also a good idea to start with body weight exercises. As you become more fit and ready for more of a challenge, you can add more resistance such as weights or resistance bands. But be careful not to add too much resistance to exercises that require high impact, as this places joints and soft tissues at more risk if these exercises aren’t performed optimally. Performing movements in the water is a low impact way of achieving functional exercise.
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 in your quality of life. That’s quite a return on your exercise investment.