Functional Fitness is a buzzword that gained its popularity in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s. At that time, the introduction of non-traditional pieces of equipment started becoming more popular in the gym. Things such as stability balls, bands, Bosu balls, wobble boards and bands/tubes to name a few, were being used more in the gym compared to traditional machine and free weights. With more and more people trying those pieces of equipment and inventing new exercises, the term functional fitness gained its popularity.
What Is It?
Simple put, functional fitness is exercising your body specifically for the demands that it will face on a daily basis. In our daily lives, we do the following without most of us thinking about it: lower and raise our center of mass, push and pull, locomote and rotate. Functional fitness is making sure when we exercise, that we do exercises that mimic our daily activities of life. This can be different from what a lot of people do in the gym. A lot of people in the gym simple train body parts for aesthetics. Functional fitness is not really concerned about aesthetics, but is more focused on function.
What Are the Benefits?
There are several benefits to functional fitness. The first benefit is that the body gets trained as one unit. Have ever paid attention to yourself when you are doing things such as walking, running or bending down on the ground to pick up something? I so, you may have noticed how several bones, joints and muscles all work together to allow you to move. The body is designed to do this. Another benefit to functional fitness is balance. Since there are times in our lives where we are forced to balance (i.e. misjudging your step off of a curb, slipping on ice or wet pavement), it would be smart to work on your balance. Functional fitness says that balance should be a part of your exercise program. Lastly, if you play recreational sports, then functional fitness can be very beneficial for you. By mimicking the movements your sport requires when you are exercising, your body will be prepared for that sport and reduce risk of injury.
How Do I Do It?
There are several ways to incorporate functional fitness into your exercise program. Examine the daily activities you do in your life. Do you sit and rise a lot during the day? If so, squats would be appropriate for you. I would vary the type of squats you do to include squats such as single leg, split stance and balancing squats (i.e. Bosu ball squats). Do you do a lot of lifting? If so, exercises such as deadlifts would be appropriate for you. Once again, I would vary the deadlifts to include single leg, split stance and balancing deadlifts (i.e. Bosu ball deadlifts). How about lifting things over your head? If you do this, then exercises such as medicine ball and dumbbell shoulder presses are what you should be doing. Here is a list of some great functional exercises: Functional Exercises
Functional fitness has been mistaken for exercises that only use certain pieces of equipment such as wobble boards, Bosu balls and tubes. However, functional fitness is any exercise that allows your body to mimic its daily activities of life. As a result, any age group can do functional fitness. Sign up with us today to find out the best way to do functional fitness for your exercise!