Have you ever heard of the term “Functional Exercise Training”?
If not, you may be wondering exactly what it is?
Simply put, functional exercises train your muscles to help you perform every day activities safely and efficiently. Activities such as carrying groceries, going up/down the stairs, doing laundry, picking up a low object or even playing with your kids, require you to use multiple muscle groups at once.
If we don’t train these muscles in the way that we actually use them, then simple activities can lead to injury. I’m pretty sure you heard someone say “All I did was bend over and my back started hurting!”
Functional training helps to reduce the risk of injury by:
Improving Core Strength
- Your core includes your abdominal muscle, back muscles and the muscles that surround the pelvis. Your core is the link between your upper and lower body. By improving your core it helps to improve your balance and stability while performing daily activities.
- Agility is the ability to move quickly or change directions quickly. Improved agility increases balance, control and flexibility. This is important in help to prevent injury if you have to suddenly change directions to move out the way or react to stepping off a curb quickly.
Increasing Muscle Strength
- Increased muscular strength is key in preventing injury and fatigue during daily activities. Having strong muscles helps to reduce the risk of falling which increases as we get older. After the age of 30 we actually start to lose about 3-8% of our muscle mass per decade. As we lose muscle mass, we lose strength thus leading to an increased risk of injury.
If you are new to functional training I would recommend first focusing on your form using your body weight. If your form is incorrect then this can actually lead to more injury. Once you are comfortable with performing each exercise then you can advance to using weights and resistance tubing to progress your workouts.
Try out some of the functional exercises below to help you enhance your ability to perform your everyday activities, maintain independence as you age and ultimately improve quality of life!
Medicine Ball Squat with Overhead Lift
This exercise strengthens your legs, glutes, lower back, arms and shoulders. Beneficial in everyday movements like picking your kids or lifting a large object from the floor.
****You can use any object that you can safely lift over your head if you do not have a medicine ball****
Hip Extension with Reverse Fly
This exercise improves your balance and coordination and strengthens your back, shoulders, glutes and legs.
This exercise works all the muscle in the arms, shoulders, back and legs. Especially helpful when lifting something diagonally which can cause back injury if the muscles involved aren’t strong.
Go ahead and give these movements a try! You will be moving more efficiently in no time!
Find Health in Every Day!
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