The 10 Minute Guide to Functional Fitness

Blog by:(Akshita Piplani)

The term “functional fitness” is getting a lot of buzz these days, but what exactly is Functional Fitness?
Put simply it’s a form of exercise that trains the body in a way that can be directly applied to everyday life. Functional fitness uses movements like squats, deadlifts, and presses to mimic common movements such as standing, picking up objects, walking, running, throwing, etc.
The term functional fitness has been used pretty liberally over the past 5-10 years. Practitioners from yoga instructors, group fitness instructors, personal trainers, infomercial pushers, etc have all started to use the term… So what is true functional fitness and what isn’t?

Life dictates all different kinds of movements, postures, and physical tasks. Functional fitness aims to prepare the body for anything that life throws your way. By using compound lifts (more on this below) that strengthen the entire body and mimic movements of everyday life, functional fitness can quickly improve your efficacy of tackling anything that life throws your way.

Functional fitness is one of the biggest phrases right now in the fitness industry. It’s great to be gym fit, to be able to perform pull-ups, endless sit-ups, and deadlift 400 pounds. But what can you actually do with this fitness? Are you able to pick up a couch, run to catch a bus, climb on top of something, explore nature, or compete in a trail race? Better yet, can you drag a 100lb deer out of the wood for two miles over varied terrain?

Functional exercise training may be especially beneficial as part of a comprehensive program for older adults to improve balance, agility and muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls.

Functional training focuses on improving movement patterns and the quality of movement with a wide variety of exercises & programs. These exercises that make use of versatile equipment are aimed toward movement efficiency and performance enhancement. This applies in equal measures to the performance of activities of daily living as well as sports and competitive performance.

Functional fitness is meant to make you a stronger, more well-rounded, and thus a more confident human being. Everyday tasks begin to become easier.

It is easy to become comfortable in the indoor setting where it is predictable and safe. Every time you arrive at the gym your front desk staff will be the same, the bench will be in the same spot, and you know of what you are capable. Even if you train hard it tends to fall into a rut and doesn’t often push the envelope. When is the last time you were nervous before a workout, not sure if you were going to be able to complete it, or experienced the fear of learning a new skill? Learning is a skill itself. The more you learn physically or mentally the better you become at the act of learning. So, your next learning challenge is to take your fitness and apply it in some practical sense.