What Is Functional Fitness and Why It Is Good for Your Body
You might think that the best way to achieve a fitter body in the next couple of months is going to the gym—well, you’re right. However, some gym training will not help you perform your daily functions at all. Let’s say you focus on building your stamina in the gym by running on the treadmill, but your day-to-day tasks include doing house chores like carrying grocery items, pushing around, and moving things. Your workout routine doesn’t reflect on what you do—making it hard to do daily functions. But that can be helped if you try functional fitness instead.
What is Functional Fitness?
Functional fitness refers to the exercises that help you do your daily activities. It is the training that strengthens your muscle to help you execute particular tasks like carrying things, walking up and down the stairs, squatting to pick up items, reaching up for something, and more.
By mirroring your exercise to your tasks, you can steer clear from straining or pulling some muscles. With functional fitness exercises, you can prepare yourself to do a host of common activities.
Functional fitness exercises don’t necessarily require you to go to the gym. You can perform such exercises even at the comfort of your home by using some helpful tools and equipment like dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga mats, and a chair.
The benefits of functional fitness
Aside from helping you perform daily activities with such ease, here are other reasons why you should give it a try.
Functional fitness exercises help you develop better balance, flexibility, muscle strength, coordination, and agility. These will all help make one more mobile, which contributes to the overall capacity to execute daily activities.
Decreases the chance of injuries
When you are mirroring your tasks to your exercises, you train your body to adapt and develop in certain areas, making you withstand potential challenges. Doing the right functional fitness exercises will help you develop stronger muscle and ligament strength, which are the areas prone to injuries when doing physical activities. You can avoid strains, sprain, lower back injuries, pulled muscles, and more.
Enhances body balance and posture
Functional fitness aims to train muscles together in resisting any stressors. This will help achieve overall strength and improved balance since the muscles will learn how to manage your weight. This will also result in a better posture.
Boosts brain memory
Regularly doing functional fitness exercises doesn’t just train your muscles and core, but also your brain. This causes the brain to improve its memory, helping maintain focus, and think more efficiently.
Makes you work efficiently as a whole
Training several groups of muscles all at the same time contributes to the improvement of the body’s holistic function. You are not just targeting a few areas, but systems to help them work together in making you perform things better as a whole.
Helps achieve better everyday life
Since functional fitness is all about training your body to improve body functions and withstanding any injuries, you can get a better everyday life. You are pinpointing the body areas you usually use to perform tasks, so you are building your strength and improving your stress relief factor.
When the right functional fitness is done, you can even become happier since you can perform tasks efficiently.
Who is functional fitness for?
Functional fitness is generally recommended to start at a beginner’s pace. However, if you have existing health conditions like pregnancy, illnesses, or any disorder, you must first check with your doctor the right fitness plan.
The ideal pace to start with is doing easy exercises and building up the numbers day by day. As you become more resilient to these things, you can then gradually increase the resistance. But be mindful of the amount of force and impact you try to integrate into your functional fitness exercises as you may incur injuries.
The functional fitness exercises to try
Here are some simple functional fitness exercises to get started with.
Squats mimic the way you sit in a chair. Here’s how to do an effective squat:
- Stand straight and place your feet on the ground shoulder-width apart with your arms at your sides.
- Start to squat down by bending your knees, pushing back your hips—mimicking a sitting position.
- Put your arms forward as you bend your knees.
- Ensure your thighs are parallel to the ground, then pause and push back your heels to go back to the original position.
Push-ups train your core to lift heavy weights and develop a stronger core.
- Do a high plank position with both palms on the floor—ensuring your arms are shoulder-width apart and shoulders above wrists. Extend legs behind and feel your core and glutes engage.
- Lower yourself to the floor by bending your elbows.
- Push your palms on the floor and straighten arms to go back to a high plank position.
3. Side plank
Side planks will help you improve your balance and develop a stronger core.
- Lie on your left or right side with the forearm resting in the ground. Ensure the elbow is under the shoulder, and feet are closed together.
- Place your free hand on the used shoulder.
- Push down through your forearm and form a straight line from head to feet.
- Hold the position for up to 45 seconds.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Rest for one minute.
Doing deadlifts can help you in carrying heavy items daily.
- You’ll need two dumbbells in this exercise.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent forward, and dumbbells in each hand in front of quads.
- Bend your hips forward and bend your knees slightly as you push the buttock back. Keep your back flat, and slowly lower your weights to your shins. Your torso must be almost parallel to the floor.
- Engage your core and push through the heels to stand straight. Pull dumbbells up as you stand while keeping it close to shins.
- When standing, pause, and squeeze your buttocks.
Step-down is a functional exercise you can do to improve balance and stability. It mimics the ascending and descending of stairs.
- Find a small bench you can use.
- Step one foot on the bench and one foot on the ground.
- Push through your heel of the foot resting on the bench, step up to extend your leg, and slowly bring the other foot back to the ground.
- Repeat on the other side.
There are many more functional fitness exercises you can try. You can get a variety of functional fitness activities by taking this online personal development course, Functional Fitness Training: The Easy Way to Get in Shape at Home.
The great thing about doing functional fitness rather than other physical fitness activities is you are empowering yourself to perform tasks you do daily—making life easier for you. You are not just physically healthy, but also capable of performing physically demanding tasks.