Do you ever find that your back goes out when you bend over, or your arms fatigue easily when carrying your groceries inside your house? If your daily activities have become a little more challenging or you’re looking to avoid allowing them to become a challenge in the future, you’re going to want to keep reading!
What if we told you that there IS a way to make your daily activities easier while also preventing injury down the road? Meet functional fitness- a fantastic approach to exercise because it replicates everyday patterns of movement which will better assist you in your daily activities!
What is Functional Fitness
Functional fitness is a “fundamentals first” approach to fitness that requires you to perform the movement with the correct form before moving onto a high-performance class or even adding weight to a complex movement that you have not yet mastered. The primary goal of functional fitness is injury prevention which is achieved through mastering basic movements that we use in our daily lives. These include movements like bending over to pick up something relatively heavy, reaching overhead, squatting to sit, or twisting. These types of exercises are known as functional fitness exercises. Functional fitness exercises require you to use muscles in multiple areas of the body simultaneously to engage the core. They also train your muscles to work together, simulating common movements you do at home, work, or while playing sports.(1)
There are so many incredible benefits of Functional Fitness, a few of our favourite include:
- Making everyday activities easier due to more muscle groups beings used
- Reducing the risk of injury
- Improving quality of life
- Improved balance and agility
- Improved muscle strength
- Increased range of motion
- Reducing risk of falling in elederly people
The Importance of Natural Movement Patterns
Many of us live sedimentary lives. From sitting at a desk for 8+ hours per day to commuting long distances for work, we no longer perform the primal movement patterns for which our bodies were designed. If we neglect our natural roots, our bodies are going to pay for it. And, that is why issues such as poor posture, lower back pain, neck pain and poor circulation— just to name a few—have recently become so prevalent.
Functional exercises—like squatting, lunging, lifting overhead, picking up a weight, pushing or pulling our own body weight or an object—mimic our natural movement patterns and, therefore, keep our muscles and joints functional. This decreases our risk of injury or pain while improving flexibility, strength and functionality.
Functional Fitness Exercise Ideas*:
- Squats—beneficial for daily activities such as bending, walking, shoveling snow, etc.
- Lunges— lunges are incredibly beneficial for movement such as walking and climbing stairs.
- Push ups—Not only do push ups help your chest and triceps get stronger, they also help to tighten your core! Push ups are a fantastic functional fitness exercise to train for daily activities and they can even help to improve your posture.
- Russian Twists—a great way to strengthen your obliques and tighten your waist. Stronger obliques can help prevent lower back pain
- Pull-ups (assisted to start)—because pull-ups require you to lift your own body weight, they are incredibly useful for an array of activities and movements outside of the gym. Pull-ups are also an important exercise for strengthening your shoulders, back muscles, and grip strength!
- Tricep Dips (off of a bench or chair)—Tricep dips are an amazing exercise to build arm strength and stability! Tricep dips are beneficial for lifting objects and even yourself out of a chair!
Functional movements can be easily customized to fit your current fitness abilities and exercise time constraints. If you’re a beginner, the functional movement patterns discussed above work great as bodyweight exercises. If you’re a seasoned pro, incorporating heavier weights will be both challenging and rewarding!
Is functional fitness something that you will be incorporating into your exercise routine? Let us know in the comments!
Visit us at Santé Chiropractic and Wellness Centre! Santé Chiropractic and Wellness Centre has been serving the community of East Ottawa / Orléans for over 25 years. Call or book your appointment online so we can help your body help itself!
*Always make sure you check with your health professional if you are unsure how to perform an exercise correctly or if you think it may be detrimental to you specifically.
- Functionmal Fitness: Is it Right for You? (2016, October 29). Retrieved October 24, 2017, from https://diet.mayoclinic.org/us/blog/2021/functional-fitness-is-it-right-for-you/
- The Importance of Functional Training for Women. (2015, May 08). Retrieved March 01, 2017, from http://www.top.me/fitness/the-importance-of functional-fitness-for-women-454.html