Functional fitness is a new and exciting type of fitness regimen that focuses on working out the muscles that you actually use and improving your fitness in regular tasks. While functional fitness is a fairly recent development, it actually works quite intuitively.
What is functional fitness?
In the past, fitness was often approached through action. You spent your day hunting or gathering, and you became strong and lean performing these tasks. You also became better at them, over time. Today, fitness is often approached through a series of repetitive actions that we take. We run, climb stairs or lift weights. While this makes us stronger at these tasks, it doesn’t necessarily make us stronger in doing the things that actually matter. Functional fitness focuses on making you stronger in a way that actually matters in your daily life.
How does functional fitness work?
Functional fitness concentrates on working out large groups of muscles together rather than single set of muscles. Weight training usually tries to isolate muscles for maximum efficiency, but this doesn’t take into account how muscles actually work together to complete daily tasks. As an example, a person might bend over to pick something heavy up and use a sequence of muscles that they would not be using together in a traditional weight-lifting regimen.
How does balance affect fitness?
Bodyweight and balance exercises are an essential component to functional fitness. Balance and control is a necessity; if you can’t control your body, then your body isn’t truly fit. Thus, functional fitness incorporates many balance exercises such as using the wobble board for balance while you’re doing other training exercises. Yoga maneuvers may also become a part of a functional fitness routine.
Weight training isn’t completely abandoned through a functional fitness routine. According to WebMD, machine training can still be extremely important for those that have identified gaps in their fitness. Machine exercises can be used once weaknesses have been determined through functional fitness to ensure strength throughout.
What are the core benefits of functional fitness?
Through a holistic fitness regimen, those that practice functional fitness are intended to be more fit overall. The goal of functional fitness makes it easier and safer to complete everyday tasks. At least in theory, someone completing a functional fitness program should be less likely to injure themselves picking up a heavy item or running up stairs than a person in a weight training program. Moreover, the functional fitness practitioner is intended to be healthier as they are training their body in a natural and complete way rather than artificially targeting specific muscles. Functional fitness is also intended to be more engaging and interesting to the exerciser when compared to weight training exercises, because it doesn’t require that the same small motions and movements be completed repetitively.
Functional fitness isn’t just a new trend; it’s a method of working out your entire body and becoming stronger in a functional way. The goal of functional fitness is to improve your overall health rather than your ability to do weight training exercises. Functional fitness can be incorporated into many other fitness routines, such as yoga and weight training, and is an excellent way to increase your fitness in a more comprehensive, less targeted fashion.