Functional fitness refers exercises specially designed to train all muscles in your body to help you carry on daily tasks more effectively and safely. Unless you are an athlete, your main occupation is not exercising. The main reason why most people exercise is to improve the quality of their lives. It is also the main focus when it comes to functional fitness exercises, which are designed to develop and train muscles so that you can easily go about your regular tasks, such as playing with your partner or kids, farming, or carrying groceries from the garden. Functional fitness helps in daily life through various ways, including:
1. Stimulates Common Movements
Functional fitness workouts are tailored to train several muscle groups to work hand in hand making it easier to go about your daily activities at home or work. This is achievable as they prepare your muscles by stimulating common movements done when undertaking regular tasks. Although functional fitness targets certain muscles in your lower and upper body,the exercise also ensures core stability and balance. For instance, squats are functional fitness exercises that train the muscles you use when standing up, walking, rising from a chair when picking an object. By training your body to function in every task, it makes it easier for it to perform better in common situations.
2. Reduces The Risk Of Injury
Functional exercises target various muscle groups and joints. For instance, instead of moving your elbows only, a functional exercise involves your elbows, shoulders, knees, hips, ankles, and spine. When applied properly, these exercises not only make your daily tasks easier, but also lower your risk of injury and improve the quality of your life. Even if you train regularly, performing functional workouts can enhance your overall performance at the gym.
3. Improves Stability
Functional exercises are very ideal for the elderly as they improve balance and strengthen muscles. This can be beneficial in preventing falls, commonly experienced by the elderly. Functional fitness combines various training sessions tailored to boost stability, balance, mobility, flexibility and strength. These key principles keep your body constantly challenged in all areas yielding to a strong, healthy and vibrant body. Don’t consider yourself too old for functional fitness exercises even if you are above 60 years. It can spare you from a fall!
4. Promotes Weight Loss
If your goal is to lose weight and reap other health benefits, you should regularly engage in functional fitness exercises. These workouts engage all muscle groups in your entire body which boosts metabolism while improving strength and endurance. The exercises ensure that there is an even burning of fat throughout your body, which is essential for a great physique. Along with a healthy diet, fitness training will help you reach your weight loss goals at ease.
5. Improves Muscle Tone/Density
People who are after lean and strong bodies should engage in functional exercises that also tone the muscles and increase density. Many gymnasts in Olympics spend most of their time constantly training movement patterns and lifting their own bodyweight. You don’t have to spend hours on a treadmill or performing bicep curls to tone your muscles. Working with your own bodyweight can do wonders.
6. Strengthens The Core
When it comes to functional fitness, all exercises involve core activation—training the core to keep your spine stable against external forces. This is attained when your spine is engaged in a variety of movement patterns and body positions. This mimics the demands placed upon your core and spine when going about your daily tasks or recreational activities. However, don’t cut other exercises that work your core, such as crunches. Let functional workouts complement your core strength and stability.
7. Conditions Muscles
Functional training offers essential training for sport specific conditioning. It improves the link between the nervous and musculoskeletal system, facilitating quick reactive and powerful movement patterns irrespective of your sport. This is also important when going about regular activities at home or work. It can also improve your performance at the gym when dealing with weights and other equipments.
8. Improves Mood
It is evident that people who engage in regular exercise report being happier than those who don’t engage in workouts. Just like with any other exercise, functional training stimulates the release of endorphins, hormones associated with improved moods and better feelings. Your performance in every aspect of your life is at its peak when you are in the right mood.
Examples Of Functional Exercises
Any physical activity that is multifaceted qualifies as functional exercise. However, it should involve varying combinations of flexibility and resistance training that can support functional fitness.Some of these functional fitness exercises include:
- Tai chi
- Push ups
- Pull ups
- Ball squats with overhead lift
- Standing bicep curls
- Multidirectional lunges
- Weighted step-ups
Should I Perform Functional Exercises?
Functional exercises can be performed by everyone irrespective of gender or age. However, if you are above 40 years and haven’t exercised for a while, check with your doctor before trying a new exercise program. Also, check with professionals if you have underlying medical condition like arthritis. For beginners, start exercising using your own body weight for resistance. You can gradually start working with weights once you become physically fit.
Functional fitness training comes with many benefits that make performing regular tasks at home or work easier. These exercises target all muscle groups involved on a daily basis. Functional training can increase your performance and save your time at the gym or work. Fitness experts recommend bodyweight resistance training for beginners. Engage a trainer if you are a fresher in functional fitness exercises to avoid injuries and progress at an appropriate pace.