Traditional fitness routines focus on building muscle and strength, which is great. But functional fitness takes it a step further by focusing on movements that are relevant to everyday life. Functional fitness exercises mimic the motions you make every day, training your muscle groups to help you do everyday activities easier, more safely, and more efficiently.
Why is functional fitness important?
There are many benefits to functional fitness, including:
Reduced risk of injury: Functional fitness exercises can help to strengthen your core and improve your balance and coordination, all of which can help to reduce your risk of injury in everyday life.
Improved performance in sports and activities: Functional fitness exercises can help you to improve your performance in sports and activities that require similar movements, such as running, biking, and lifting heavy objects.
Increased strength and endurance: Functional fitness exercises can help you to build strength and endurance in all of your major muscle groups.
Improved overall health and fitness: Functional fitness can help you to improve your overall health and fitness by increasing your cardiovascular health, reducing your risk of chronic diseases, and improving your mental health.
Three examples of functional exercises:
1. Squats: Squats are a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups in your lower body, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. Squats are also a great functional exercise because they mimic the movement of sitting down and standing up, which is something you do many times throughout the day.
2. Push-ups: Push-ups are another compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups in your upper body, including your chest, triceps, shoulders, and core. Push-ups are also a great functional exercise because they mimic the movement of pushing something away from you, which is something you do in many everyday activities.
3. Deadlifts: Deadlifts are a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups in your posterior chain, including your hamstrings, glutes, back, and core. Deadlifts are also a great functional exercise because they mimic the movement of picking something up from the ground, which is something you do in many everyday activities.
How to incorporate functional fitness into your workout routine:
There are many ways to incorporate functional fitness into your workout routine. Here are a few tips:
Choose compound exercises: Compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at the same time, which is more efficient and effective than isolation exercises that only work one muscle group at a time. Some examples of compound exercises include squats, push-ups, deadlifts, lunges, rows, and pull-ups.
Use free weights: Free weights, such as dumbbells and barbells, allow you to move more naturally and perform a wider range of functional movements than machines do.
Focus on core strength: Your core is the foundation of your body, and a strong core is essential for good balance, coordination, and stability. Incorporate core exercises into your workouts, such as planks, crunches, and leg raises.
Perform dynamic movements: Dynamic movements are movements that involve multiple joints and muscle groups working together. Examples of dynamic movements include lunges, squats, deadlifts, and kettlebell swings.
Let's Start Making Small Changes
If you're looking to improve your overall health and fitness, functional fitness is a great place to start. Functional fitness exercises can help you to build strength and endurance, improve your balance and coordination, and reduce your risk of injury.
To get started, try incorporating some of the functional exercises mentioned above into your workout routine. You can also find many functional fitness workouts online and in fitness apps. And if you're not sure where to start, consider working with a personal trainer who can help you to create a functional fitness routine that is tailored to your individual needs and goals.
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