Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sport. If you go back thousands of years and have a look at how we exercised, you’ll notice that it never involved high-tech machines. Nor did it involve state-of-the-art treadmills or X-Trainers. The exercises we did involved seven main movements, which are referred to as Functional Patterns; Squats, Lunges, Bends, Push, Pull, Twist and Gait (walking, running).
All of these Functional Patterns are movements we perform each and every day. If we want a more functional lifestyle, to be better at our chosen sport or to make playing football with our children easier, then these are the movements we need to be focusing on. Many of us have forgotten how to use our core correctly, forgotten how to move our limbs effectively and even forgotten how to breathe! While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises emphasizes core function and stability.
Functional exercises tend to be multijoint, multimuscle exercises. Instead of only moving the elbows, for example, a functional exercise might involve the elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles. This type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce your risk of injury and improve your quality of life. It is a good idea to get some professional advice about the sort of thing you should be doing and the level that you should be starting at. This is where the process of screening or testing comes into play. Before anyone starts to exercise they should be screened for static and dynamic posture, core function and strength and muscle flexibility. If you have an unstable core and you attempt some of the more advanced exercises you at risk of potential injury.
It is never too late to start exercising, and as you add more functional exercises to your workout you should see improvements in your ability to perform your everyday activities and, thus, in your quality of life.