What Is Functional Fitness?

There’s a lot of reasons to workout. Of course, losing weight is often at the top of the list, just as building more energy and looking great. However, avoiding injury is also a reason. When you aren’t fit, sometimes simple tasks can cause injury. Turning the wrong way, lifting a child or simply trying to avoid a fall can cause an injury that causes pain, spasms and puts you on the couch for weeks. To avoid those problems, functional fitness workouts help. They develop synergy throughout the body.

Functional fitness builds core muscles.

You’re probably already familiar with many exercises that work on core muscles, since we do many of the exercises here at the gym. Weight training will get you into shape to lift that heavy box, but there are other exercises that help train your muscles to work together and actually mimic your daily movements, like lifting while turning or those that use both upper and lower body movements at the same time.

Functional fitness training works so well that law enforcement uses it.

There are many types of military and law enforcement that use functional fitness training. For instance, Army Rangers and Navy SEALS include it in their training programs. Obviously, the reason for using the training isn’t to look good, but to be able to navigate in the field safely. They may have to outmaneuver or outrun an enemy in the field, while carrying a 60 pound weight or more. That takes more than just arm strength, it takes total body strength and the ability of muscles to work together. That’s why it takes more than just one type of workout or exercise to achieve functional fitness.

Functional fitness includes all types of fitness.

There are four types of fitness, strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. Each one is important for an injury resistant lifestyle. It uses multi-directional training with the muscles of all parts of the body going on different planes and in a variety of directions. Tai Chi is one example of functional fitness training, but kettlebells and multi-directional lunges are also part of it. When you’re using more than one or two joints and muscle groups, you’re getting functional fitness training. If you’re still not sure what functional fitness is, imagine how many muscle groups you use raking a lawn.

  • Functional fitness training helps seniors, too. It can aid them in living alone longer and make them more independent and healthy.
  • Functional fitness not only helps prevent muscle strain, it helps prevent joint injury by training several muscle groups to work together that support the joints.
  • You’ll have lots of core exercises when you do a functional fitness workout. The core muscles help keep the body balanced as they support the entire body.
  • Many functional fitness workouts involve bodyweight exercises and calisthenics. You don’t need a lot of equipment to get functionally fit.

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