Older man and younger man exercising on stairs

The benefits of functional fitness for everyday life

If you’re someone that doesn’t always have a reason to workout and isn’t planning on running a marathon or striving to have bulging biceps, discover a type of fitness that truly fits your personal needs. The type of fitness that might be right for you makes staying active safer and easier. It not only improves how you feel, but also the way your body functions and the ease with which you perform everyday tasks. One of the best types of workouts for almost anyone at any time is a functional fitness program. So, what is a functional fitness class and what can it do for you? Gain a clearer understanding of this type of training and all the benefits of functional fitness to see how functional fitness exercises can improve your health and life in the long run.

A healthy look at functional fitness

Is functional fitness new to you? Don’t sweat it, you’re not alone. Very simply, it’s fitness with a function or “real world” fitness. A functional fitness program consists of movements performed naturally and frequently in everyday life. These movements help increase your strength, balance, and mobility to make it safer and easier to handle daily activities, such as walking up flights of stairs, carrying groceries, lifting packages, and bending to pick things up. Beyond these day-to-day movements, functional fitness exercises can also strengthen your muscles to help you achieve your sports and fitness goals, like perfecting your tennis swing, lifting heavier weights, or simply running faster. With a functional fitness program, you can improve your range of motion and mobility while putting less strain on your joints, muscles, and tendons to reduce your risk of injuries.

Exercise your functional fitness options

A functional fitness program makes exercise comfortable and convenient because it can be done at home or at the gym. This type of program can also be customized as there are endless ways to perform the primary movement patterns and they can be tailored to any fitness level.

If you prefer to work out at home, you can do movements that use your body weight for resistance, such as push-ups, lunges, and squats. Performing push-ups will strengthen your core and upper body, helping to protect your lower back from injury. As a result, you will find it easier to lift heavy items and push a full shopping cart. On the other hand, doing lunges will build your lower body strength and improve your balance to ease climbing stairs and bending down to pick things up. Doing squats will make it easier for you to sit down, stand up, and lift grocery bags. You can vary the intensity of your workouts by performing these movements with resistance bands or weights.

If you find it hard to work out at home, gyms also offer functional fitness classes. So, what is a functional fitness class? It’s a boot camp or other type of class that includes functional fitness movements at a high intensity. These classes may also incorporate aerobic exercises, weights, or fitness balls.

Workouts to improve your health

While some workouts focus on preparing you for a competition or race, functional fitness is designed to prepare you for daily life. As a result, the benefits of functional fitness can be seen and felt every day. These exercises can give you the strength to lift heavy bags or young children, the balance to go up and down the stairs, the endurance to take the dog on long walks, and the mobility to do it all without pain, strain, or injury. The many benefits of functional fitness include some of the following:

  • Makes physically demanding daily activities easier
  • Improves the way the body functions
  • Increases range of motion
  • Eases joint, back, and muscle pain
  • Builds strength
  • Enhances balance
  • Improves coordination
  • Decreases risk of falls
  • Increases endurance
  • Reduces chance of injury
  • Tones the body
  • Builds self-confidence
  • Keeps older adults independent longer

Is functional fitness the right fit for you?

If you’re looking to improve the way you live, move, and function, then starting a functional fitness program may be a healthy step for you. However, before beginning any fitness program or exercise routine, it’s a good idea to speak with your SignatureMD-affiliated doctor to discuss your health and personal needs. Only then can you decide if a functional fitness program is the right fitness routine to keep you moving.