Functional Fitness Isn’t Just A Hot New Take On Exercise
Jun 7, 2022
All too often, the moves we use in the gym don’t mimic the movements we find ourselves using to get through day-to-day life. It’s unlikely that you’re bicep curling your baby, or deadlifting your work bag. To avoid injury, it’s important that you use functional fitness to strengthen the muscles you use in daily life.
Here, we’ll explore exactly what functional fitness is, how functional fitness can benefit your body, and how you can work functional fitness concepts into your workout routine.
What Is Functional Fitness?
Functional fitness exercises are moves that strengthen the muscles you use to perform normal activities. Many of us don’t think about the ways our muscles and joints carry us through our lives. When you drive, your body depends on core and back strength to keep you upright. When you pick up a heavy bag from the floor, your legs, glutes, and arms work to hoist the item up. When you bend over to pick up a child, many muscle systems work together to support your body as you balance and place your little one on your hip.
Many people find that they sustain injuries or experience general soreness due to some of the repetitive movements they complete throughout the day. Some people also find that injuries and soreness caused by repetitive movements can make it tougher to get a good workout in at the gym.
When you perform functional fitness exercises at the gym or with a trainer, you’re strengthening the muscles that help you perform your daily activities. Functional fitness exercises aren’t the same for everyone. Your day to day routine will determine what type of functional fitness moves make the most sense for you.
Functional Fitness and Injury Prevention
At some point in life, many of us experience the unfortunate event of a joint or back injury caused by performing a seemingly normal activity. It can be hard to pinpoint why certain motions that are performed daily suddenly cause pain. For many people, weak muscles, poor balance, and flexibility issues can contribute to sudden injuries during daily activities.
Overactive and underactive muscles are a common cause of injury and pain in many people. Targeted functional fitness moves can help you to stretch overactive muscles and strengthen underactive muscles, making it less likely that you’ll experience injuries in the future. Remember, functional fitness is all about making it easier for you to get through your day–not necessarily about bulking up your glamor muscles. Stretching and light resistance exercises can go a long way in helping you change areas of your body that are more susceptible to injury.
Finding Your Functional Fitness Weak Spots
Thankfully, functional fitness moves can go a long way in helping you to prevent injury due to daily activities. Thinking about injuries or soreness you’ve had in the past can be a smart way to begin thinking about your functional fitness plan.
If you experience neck pain after working at the computer for long periods of time, for example, you may want to start with exercises that strengthen the rear delts (muscles that are often weak in people who experience neck and upper back pain caused by leaning forward toward a computer screen). When you zero in on the parts of your life that cause pain, you’ll be able to figure out which muscles you need to work on to make it less likely that you’ll experience that pain again.
Incorporating Functional Fitness In Your Workouts
When you’re in a hurry to get your workout done, you may be tempted to skip your functional fitness moves and get right to your cardio or strength training routine. Functional fitness progress requires consistency, and it’s important that you stick to your plan each time you work out.
As you notice your body changing through the incorporation of functional fitness moves, you’ll want to pay attention to other areas of your body that could use a tune-up. Tightness, pain, excessive soreness, or tension can all point to a problem that could be fixed by a commitment to functional fitness training.
Working With A Trainer Matters
If you’re not experienced in the world of anatomy and physical training, it can be tough to pinpoint the areas of your body that would benefit from functional fitness moves. Working with a personal trainer is a great way to learn more about how your exercise routine can support you as you move through your life.
When you work with a trainer for a functional fitness assessment, you’ll go through a series of tests to help your trainer learn more about your overactive and underactive muscles. Based on your results, your trainer will develop a series of exercises to help you strengthen and stretch the appropriate muscle groups to help you get through life with greater ease.
Over time, your trainer will re-test you to check your progress and move you to different levels of your functional fitness exercises. Many personal training clients are surprised to see how much their strength and flexibility levels change after a few weeks of commitment to functional fitness training.
Ready To Give Functional Fitness A Try? We’ve Got You.
At Fitness Together®, personal trainers are there to work with you and help you feel your best by supporting you through a functional fitness program. Reach out to to your local studio today to learn more about how their functional fitness training can take your fitness to the next level.