What is functional fitness? It’s a question we hear fairly often because this phrase is becoming so trendy in the health world. It’s a somewhat new take on exercise with a distinct slant from many of the established training methods and objectives. Many individuals are now building their workout plans around the fundamentals of this practice. If you haven’t already, you’ll probably start seeing it pop up in gym discussions and fitness websites all over the place.
But, again, just what is functional fitness? Unlike many other exercise formats that work toward goals like muscle definition and cardiovascular endurance, functional fitness is all about conditioning your body for everyday tasks and activities. Trainers and body builders like these programs because they are comprehensive, taking a holistic approach to bodily wellness. They turn the spotlight on joints and muscles that many exercise methods overlook. And these the positive effects of these practices can truly benefit anyone, because they aid your daily grind.
What is Functional Fitness?
The exercises in a functional fitness regimen are not necessarily unique. What makes this approach distinct is that each activity and workout helps to muscles and joints that you rely on heavily each day. As an example, a constant focus on building huge bulging biceps isn’t going to have a great deal of practical benefit, outside of the aesthetic appeal. But strengthening your core and hips might help you carry laundry baskets or shovel the driveway. Gaining full-body strength will help ensure you are ready to handle anything that comes at you.
In trying to determine what is functional fitness and what is not, the bottom line is that relevant exercises will offer some functional improvement to your handling of daily tasks.
Why Functional Fitness is a Good Idea
First of all, the barrier of entry isn’t very high. If you don’t work out much and are looking for a way to break in that isn’t too strenuous, this is an excellent option. You can go at your own pace, choose movements that aren’t exhausting, and spend as much time as you please. Best of all, the effects of these exercises can make a meaningful difference in your life. It’s one thing to look in a mirror and feel better about your triceps or abs. It’s another thing to actually find it easier completing household chores and enjoying time with family.
One thing that derails many workout plans is the amount of effort not leading to particularly noticeable perks. With functional fitness, this isn’t really an issue. Add in a foam roller for back and muscle stretching and massing for recovery.
Types of Functional Fitness
There are a wide range of different activities that can fall under the functional fitness umbrella. It’s really about how you bring them together to create a full-body workout that strengthens and enhances each area that we use frequently. However, here are a few particular examples:
Squats: These core-builders will improve your agility and strength in very useful ways. Plus, it’s an exercise that is very easy to do in the comfort of your home. You don’t really need any props or equipment, although a medicine ball can help.
Stair Climb While Carrying Weights: Take a dumbbell in each hand, then ascend and descend the staircase at a brisk pace. This is another easy home workout and the practical impact is obvious. After a few weeks of this, you’ll find it much easier to haul a storage box out of the basement.
Lunges: Another simple set of movements requiring no accessories or special know-how. Lunges can help improve your posture and leg strength, with a variety of supportive outcomes.
Stabilization Exercises: Any activity that works on balance and stabilizing will help increase your range of motion and core strength. These skills come in handy all the time, in a variety of settings.