Functional fitness: What it is and how it can help you

Functional fitness: What it is and how it can help you

Feel like a superhero with these easy strength-building exercises. 

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When you hear someone talk about gaining muscle, you might think of bodybuilding. But building muscle isn’t just for bodybuilders—it’s for everyone, especially when it comes to functional fitness. 

What is functional fitness?
Functional fitness refers to exercises and movements that improve your ability to perform daily activities and tasks safely and efficiently. For example, push-ups, can help strengthen your chest, shoulders and arms.  This makes movements like picking up laundry or carrying heavy groceries that much easier. Benefits of functional fitness include, but are not limited to:

  • Better balance and coordination
  • Injury prevention
  • Increased flexibility

How can I incorporate functional fitness into my exercise routine?
When adding functional fitness to your exercise routine, think of exercises and movements that mimic everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs, reaching for high objects in your kitchen or playing outside with your pets and children.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Push-ups: No exercise equipment on hand? Not to worry—you can still reap the benefits of functional fitness from bodyweight exercises like push-ups. Remember to keep your hips in line with your shoulders to safely perform a push-up.
  • Bodyweight squats: Just like the push-up, no equipment is needed. Simply place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed slightly outward. Keeping your spine neutral and your chest pointed out, engage your core and slowly bend at the hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Always keep your knees over your toes and your feet flat on the ground throughout the exercise.  
  • Planks: Get ready to fire up your core. Planks are not only easy to perform but can also help improve balance and flexibility. Start in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Engage your core, keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels. If you’re new to planking, try holding for at least 20 to 30 seconds, gradually adding more time as you become stronger . If you’re a beginner, aim for at least one plank a day until you can work your way up to two and eventually ten planks a day.

Try making these exercises a part of your exercise routine, and watch everyday activities and tasks feel that much easier.