It’s a new year, which means New Year’s resolutions are in full swing. If one of your resolutions is to get healthier this year, you’re not alone. In fact, of the people who make resolutions, 50% choose some fitness based goal. While setting the goal - whether it’s to lose weight or get healthier - is easy, planning how you’ll reach that goal can be a difficult. That’s why exploring all of your options is important, and one of the best places to start is with functional fitness.
What is functional fitness?
Functional fitness mixes real life, everyday scenarios with low intensity (though it can be high intensity) to help better prepare you for simple tasks such as carrying an extra heavy load of groceries up the stairs, getting out of bed, or walking uphill. For each of these actions, and many more, functional fitness pairs a similar exercise to help you train the target muscles to make those tasks easier. The main exercises involved are squats, push ups, pull ups, and lunges. When you get out of bed in the morning you work yourself to your feet from a seated squat position; when you carry groceries up the stairs, you’re essentially doing lunges, and so on.
Functional fitness relies on natural movements and your body weight - although, you can use weights for an extra kick - and is designed to help add grace and stability into every day performance. This means that functional fitness can be good for everyone - from beginner gym member to seasoned weight lifter. While working out specifically to handle every day tasks may seem a bit strange at first, it actually offers an abundance of benefits.
What are the benefits of functional fitness?
There are some benefits that exercising in general offers, and functional fitness is no exception. Adding in more movement to your day can boost your cardiovascular system, keeping your heart healthy and strong and reducing your chance of suffering from cardiovascular disease. You will also notice an increase in your flexibility, and, thanks to the slow progression of functional fitness, you have a reduced chance of injury. Function fitness can also be a great social event. Since it’s safe and fun for nearly everyone of all ages, many gyms or activity centers host group sessions.
How to know if functional fitness is right for you
So now that you know the basics of functional fitness, you may be wondering if it’s the right thing for you. Luckily, so long as you don’t have strict orders from a health professional that say you should not pursue it, functional fitness is safe and beneficial for nearly everyone. Since it relies mainly on simple movements and you can do it without weights, it’s free, and it’s also low intensity, making it gentle on bones and muscles. There’s also a very slow progression compared to higher intensity activities, allowing you to go at your own pace and develop muscles with a lower risk of becoming injured. In all, functional fitness is right for almost everyone.