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When it comes to fitness, there are a lot of different opinions on what program or activity will help you stick to your workout routine in the long term.
Sure, we've all heard of Pilates, weightlifting, 5k training, and so on, but have you heard of functional fitness training? Even if you haven't, you may already be practicing functional fitness and not even know it!
That's because functional fitness focuses on movements you most likely use in everyday activities - from carrying groceries to playing with your kids, lifting heavy objects, and bending over.
All exercise can help support your physical health, but not all types of exercise qualify as "functional fitness training".
What is Functional Fitness Training?
Functional fitness is a type of exercise that focuses on making your body stronger and more resilient while improving your energy levels and supporting long-term exercise goals.
At the core of functional fitness are practical exercises that will support the average person in anything they do in their day-to-day life.
Here are examples of popular functional fitness exercises. Depending on your fitness level, you can add weights, kettlebells, or bands to any of these, but body weight is also effective for many.
- Squat-to-Shoulder Press
- Basic Squat
- Push Up
- Forward Lunge
- Deadlift (Classic, suitcase, Romanian)
- Cable Row
What are the Benefits of Functional Fitness Training?
Functional fitness training is important for everyone—yes, you too! Here are just some of the benefits of incorporating these types of exercises into your daily routine.
1. Improving Everyday Activities
The first benefit of functional fitness is that it helps improve your everyday activities and make them easier on your body.
Since the exercises are practical and simulate movements you would use in your daily life, functional fitness can help make carrying groceries, playing with your kids, lifting heavy objects, or even just bending over to tie your shoes easier. Functional fitness exercises also often incorporate balance training, which can help reduce your risk of falling and injuring yourself.
In other words, functional fitness training makes your body better equipped to handle anything life throws at you, regardless of your lifestyle or age.
2. Supporting Joint Health
Functional fitness exercises also support joint health. While some types of exercise, like running, can put a lot of stress on your joints, functional fitness moves are designed to be gentle on your body while still providing a good workout.
This is especially beneficial for people with injuries or chronic conditions that make high-impact activities difficult or impossible.
And as we age, our joints become more fragile. Working out with functional fitness exercises can help reduce the risk of injuries and improve our quality of life as we age.
3. Improving Energy Levels
Functional fitness exercises can also help improve your energy levels.
This is because they help increase the efficiency of your mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of your cells. In other words, functional fitness makes your cells work better, which gives you more energy overall.
The exercises are designed to target all the major muscle groups in your body, which means you'll not only see a difference in how you feel after completing a workout, but you'll also see an increase in energy throughout the day.
And since functional fitness moves are often compound exercises (meaning they work multiple muscle groups at the same time), you'll be able to get a full-body workout in a shorter amount of time than if you were doing isolation exercises (which only work one muscle group at a time).
In fact, functional fitness training is meant to be short and sweet, which can prevent you from expending as much energy as other, more intense workouts. Many people report feeling more energized after a functional fitness workout!
Tips for Getting Started with Functional Fitness Training
Now that you know all about functional fitness, here are a few tips to get you started on your functional fitness journey.
- Start with bodyweight exercises. If you're new to functional fitness or coming back from an injury, it's best to start with bodyweight exercises. This way, you can focus on perfecting your form without the added challenge of weights.
- Incorporate a variety of exercises to pique your interest. To reap all the benefits of functional fitness, it's important to incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine. This means including moves that target all the major muscle groups in your body.
- Use proper form. As with any type of exercise, using proper form is key to preventing injuries and getting the most out of your workout. Make sure you have good posture and:
- Start slowly and gradually increase your workouts' intensity, especially if you're new to exercise or haven't worked out in a while.
- Support your energy levels with quality supplements that can help to maintain even, long-lasting energy. Some supplements work better when taken together.
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