For most of us, the gym isn’t the only place that tests our physical limits. We lift heavy weights every time we buy that extra-large bag of dog food. We squat, bend and twist while we put away groceries or play with our kids. All of these activities, plus pulling, hauling, pushing, and loading, can put a lot of strain on our bodies. Functional fitness helps us prepare.
What Is Functional Fitness Training?
Functional fitness focuses on movements that will make us fitter for the activities that make up our daily lives. Most functional fitness activities involve multi-joint movements. You will work your ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders, and wrists to build strength and increase your range of motion. This helps you handle the activities that make up your daily life, reduces pain and injury risk, and leaves you feeling more capable and more energetic.
How Does Functional Fitness Differ from Other Forms?
Functional fitness trains you to use the best muscle movements for any job, rather than relying on brute force. So, you will not spend a lot of time doing things like bench presses when you engage in functional fitness, since those are not everyday movements.
Most exercise machines are designed to isolate and work muscle groups. Functional fitness, by contrast, works on increasing strength and ability as a whole. Instead of building mass and strength, you focus on increasing general ability.
Why Functional Fitness Is Important
Exercising good form can make the tasks you engage in every day easier. This means you’ll be able to, for instance, get more done in the garden than you would have with less training for this sort of daily task. You will be able to lift and carry without feeling excessive strain and fatigue.
Functional fitness is especially important for older adults. As we age, we become more vulnerable to tripping, falling, and losing our balance. If we lift or move things with bad body form, we are more likely to injure ourselves. Functional fitness makes us more aware of our bodies in a way that can keep us from getting hurt.
Functional Fitness Workout Goals
The right functional fitness moves will depend on the abilities you want to develop further. However, there are a few general areas most people focus on when they take up functional fitness training.
- Increasing Strength.
- Target several muscle groups at once to build stability.
- Improving Flexibility & Balance.
- Balance and flexibility training makes it less likely that you will hurt yourself in unstable environments.
- Reducing Pain.
- About one in five adults deals with chronic pain. Functional fitness is thought to improve body mechanics in a way that helps subside pain.
- Eliminate Injuries.
- By becoming more adaptable and flexible, you are able to do more without getting hurt. This means less downtime, less pain, and being able to do more with your life.
When you focus on how fit you are over how fit you look, you are able to accomplish more and feel better. Changing your attitude toward functional fitness can and will enhance your daily life.