People who want to get fitter so they can enjoy everyday life more and reduce the potential for injury need the benefits that functional fitness brings. Picking up a bag of groceries and turning the wrong way can create a spasm that puts you out of commission for a while. Everyday tasks can create an injury and pain that lasts for days. Functional fitness is an effort to get all the muscles to work in synergy and helps you whether you’re relaxing, working or having fun at play. It focuses also on building core strength to improve balance, making it good for the elderly, too.
When you look at traditional training, are you seeing how it relates to everyday activities?
In some cases, the answer is yes. If you need extra strength to lift boxes at work, weight training can help. However, functional fitness is more than that. It trains the muscles to work together in synergy and mimics the movements that you might do everyday when doing tasks. It incorporates the use of both the upper and lower body simultaneously and emphasizes core stability and strength.
Functional fitness incorporates all types of fitness training into one.
You need all types of fitness to be functionally fit; strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. Movements like those found in tai chi are some examples, but training can be as simple as multidirectional lunges. Anything that uses several muscles and joints may be part of functional fitness training. Think of the muscles that you use for raking or vacuuming and you’ll understand why it encompasses a variety of muscle groups.
Functional fitness prepares you for all situations in life, which is why law enforcement and special forces often use it.
Navy SEALS and Army Ranges use functional fitness training. For them, it’s not how much they can lift or whether their abs and biceps look great, it’s all about being out in the field and being able to outlast enemies by outrunning and outmaneuvering them. While they do have other training, much of it is functional fitness. Imagine not only having to hike or run miles, but carrying 60 or more pounds of weight in the form of gear on your back. No one type of workout can prepare you for that.
- Core strength is part of all the exercises in functional fitness. That’s because the core (abdominal) muscles support the entire body and keeps you balanced.
- Functional fitness helps prevent excess strain on your joints by building the muscle groups that support them and getting the muscles to work together. It trains several muscle groups to work at the same time.
- Functional fitness trains muscles to be used the way they were supposed to be used and by doing that prevents many injuries.
- Since many of the exercises are bodyweight exercises, you do functional fitness training anywhere.