Why Functional Fitness Is Right For You
Functional fitness is more than just a current fitness trend. It’s a lifestyle choice that revolves around strengthening your body for the activities you do every day. It’s about making your daily tasks easier and making you feel better while doing them. Functional fitness aims to enhance your quality of life, and by focusing on it, you’re setting yourself on the path towards robust health and an improved life.
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What Is Functional Fitness
Functional fitness goes beyond the typical exercise perspective to achieve an aesthetically perfect body. It advocates for a more practical and long-term beneficial approach. This type of fitness involves promoting your health and comfort in everyday activities and overall well-being.
The crux of functional fitness lies in mirroring the movements we repetitively do in our daily lives with our workouts. The objective is to increase your strength, flexibility, stability, and endurance for these tasks, thus enhancing your overall functionality.
Functional Fitness For Your Lifestyle
Do not get caught up in the crazy workouts you see others performing at the gym or those with concrete training goals. Functional fitness helps you to become stronger in daily tasks to help fight age-related decline. Increasing fitness is a boost for yourself and shouldn’t be a burden. The workouts should be easy and able to be performed anywhere by anyone.
Here are examples of fitness activities functional fitness helps:
- Carrying groceries without back pain
- Lifting your children without straining your muscles
- Walking up the stairs effortlessly
- Performing yard work without getting too winded
As your functional fitness improves, you’ll find these tasks more effortless, changing chores into something you have the strength and stamina to handle comfortably.
Functional Exercises to Incorporate
While traditional bodybuilding focuses on isolated muscle groups, functional fitness exercises recruit multiple joints and muscles and often involve more complex, multi-step movements. These exercises strengthen your different muscle groups and foster better coordination and balance. Functional fitness can include power moves, strength moves, range of motion moves, and balance moves.
Here are five common exercises for a functional fitness routine.
Squats recruit big muscle groups and involve moving through a seated position. Squats mimic several activities of daily living, like getting up from a chair, climbing in and out of bed, and getting out of a car. The good thing about squats is they can be done differently to help strengthen the legs and the glutes. Try variations like Jump Squats, Split Squats, or Goblet Squats.
Planks strengthen the core, which is essential for stability in your body. Sometimes, we take our ability to sit or stand up straight without pain for granted, and a strong core is essential to maintain that balance. In addition, planks recruit so many other muscles, making them great for overall strength. Try variations like Side Planks, Extended Planks, or Reverse Planks.
Lunges that move through different planes, like in the front or the side, mimic movements like tying a shoe or vacuuming. It is important to keep your legs bent at a 90-degree angle and make sure your knees do not go over your toes.
Think of moving furniture or picking something off of the ground. Deadlifts prepare you for all of those activities with ease. Try variations like Single Leg Deadlifts, Sumo Deadlifts, or Kettlebell Deadlifts.
Are you tired of making more than one trip to the car after grocery shopping? This exercise is perfect for you to improve these types of activities. Farmer carries involve picking up weights, holding them at each side, and walking a considerable distance. As it gets easier, add weight to improve your strength.
With these five exercises, you can now create a full-body functional workout. Here is an example:
- Farmer Carries Up and Back 5x
- Squats 3 Sets of 20
- Plank 4 sets of 30 seconds
- Deadlift 3 sets of 10
- Forward and Backward Lunge 3 sets of 10
Remember, doing a 5-minute warm-up before starting and stretching afterward is essential to avoid injuries and muscle strain.
Functional fitness is essential for lifelong well-being. As we age, we learn that we may not be able to do all of the things we did when we were younger. Regular functional workouts can decelerate age-related physical decline and preserve a healthy range of motion. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all workout, and everyone’s body has different needs. Tuning into your body’s signals and choosing functional exercises tailored to your goals and abilities can make a world of difference in your overall health and well-being.