Have you ever read the line ‘not everyone has the time for-’ or ‘not all of us can dedicate 3 hours in the gym-’ and felt like you weren’t doing enough for your health? Sure, you don’t necessarily have time for 3 hours of high-intensity training every day, but you may also not want to exercise on the same schedule as a professional athlete. In fact, not only do you probably not want to work out for hours at a time in pursuit of washboard abs, you probably don’t need to spend that amount of time and energy training at all.
Functional fitness is fitness aimed at preparing your body for living everyday-life, giving you strength in the areas of your body most used in daily activities through simple exercises that anyone can do. Functional fitness is for the regular, everyday individual that wants to feel strong, energized, and confident, made to enhance their lives while seamlessly integrating into their routine.
What Is Functional Fitness?
Functional fitness exercises are designed to target key areas of your body used for common, everyday tasks and movements. With a focus on teaching various areas of the body to work together and an overall emphasis on core strength/balance, functional fitness is often used in conjunction with other types of exercise, as a standalone therapy for injury recovery, or to help older adults and individuals with degenerative conditions to retain muscle strength and mass.
Functional fitness exercises not only strengthen the body, they prepare it to complete common tasks like mowing the lawn, standing and washing dishes, vacuuming, folding laundry, and even participating in sports and activities. By engaging various joints and muscles at once, functional fitness strengthens the body as a whole and helps to make common tasks easier and more comfortable. Functional fitness is fitness aimed at making everyday life easier, reducing strain and stress, and increasing your ability to get things done.
Benefits of Functional Fitness
In some training methods, one part of the body is focused on at once, which can create excess stress and strain in that area. For professional athletes and individuals that are especially dedicated to spending hours in the gym, spending hours on one area of the body may help them to attain a specific goal, but for the everyday person, these types of exercises can cause injury and act as a deterrent to regular exercise.
Functional fitness is fitness that makes sense for the everyday person’s lifestyle by engaging the full body to create improved overall strength and flexibility. Simple movements like standing up, turning, walking up and down stairs, climbing ladders, getting in and out of cars and showers, and other movements we may not think about can become more difficult after an injury, due to age, or simply due to a lack of movement. Functional fitness helps to keep your body prepared for the movements of everyday life by improving muscle strength, balance, and agility.
Who Is Functional Fitness For?
Functional fitness is for anyone that craves a healthy, comfortable life, and can be practiced by anyone that wants to improve strength, balance, and agility. In particular, functional fitness-specific exercises may be beneficial for individuals recovering from an injury, older adults, or individuals with degenerative conditions. Individuals that spend the majority of their time at a desk or in front of a computer may also benefit from functional fitness since long periods of sitting can reduce strength and impact flexibility.
Example Functional Fitness Exercises
Many existing types of exercise include functional fitness movements and can help to build your functional strength. If you want to get more out of your functional fitness, you can easily add functional fitness exercises to any routine or do them on their own. Some examples of activities that include versions of functional movements are tai chi and yoga, both of which engage the full body to build strength, balance, and flexibility. Want to step up your functional fitness game? Try practicing a few of these movements each day to strengthen your full body and improve your quality of life:
- Dumbell rows
- Dumbell reverse lunge with rotation
- Glute bridges
- Goblet squats
- Hip openers
- Lateral lunges
- Reverse lunge
- Shoulder presses
- Single-leg Romanian deadlift
- Yoga squats