Functional fitness can be considered working out for “real-life” situations. You prepare your body to allow you to do the normal things that you do, day in and day out. This is the reason that most people want to be fit in the first place. Not everyone wants to exercise so they can run marathons and compete in weightlifting tournaments. Most people just want to be strong and healthy enough to live their life and go about their daily routine.
The Mayo Clinic, a globally recognized health authority, defines functional fitness as:
“Exercises that train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.”
You will see that the Mayo Clinic mentions core stability. Your core group of muscles include several muscle groups. Their number one job is to protect your spine. They are also vital for proper balance and mobility. Functional fitness exercises often target your core, since a healthy core is so important for performing everyday tasks.
Is Functional Fitness Right for You?
Why do you want to be stronger and healthier? Think about your answers to that question. If you live to exercise, functional fitness is probably not for you. However, if you just want to become fit so you can effortlessly play with your kids or grandchildren, unload your groceries or enjoy a walk with a friend without getting tired and worn down, functional fitness is ideally suited to your goals.
A simple squat is an example of a functional exercise that works multiple muscle groups. It also mimics daily movements that you make, such as getting out of a chair or squatting down to pick something up off of the floor. Lunges, standing bicep curls and simple step-ups with weights are a few other types of functional exercises. Kettlebells and dumbbells can be used to accentuate your functional exercise routine, but are not required.
Body weight exercises which require no weights are excellent examples of functional exercises. A search for “functional exercises” on YouTube will give you some free video training about exactly how to perform these body strengthening, health enhancing maneuvers. There are also books and DVDs available at online retail outlets like Amazon which deliver the everyday benefits of functional exercise.