What is Functional fitness?
Functional Fitness is defined as a set of exercises that train your muscles to work together, and to prepare you for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work, or in sports. Think of exercises similar to lifting and placing your bag into an airplane overhead compartment, doing laundry, grabbing dog food from the bottom shelf at the market, or even carrying your grocery bags down the street. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.
Functional workouts help to improve your balance, posture, muscular endurance and flexibility. During a typical session, you might do 5-10 different exercises that help improve the way that your muscles work together so that you feel more coordinated, have improved cardiovascular health, and better endurance.
During a functional fitness workout, you might use body weight, dumbbells, kettle bells, or other non-nautilus equipment to strengthen your muscles. This training is different than a traditional weightlifting program in that it doesn’t use isolation machines, and all movements require complex muscle group recruitment. This mimics more of what you do in real life, like hiking, biking, skiing, walking, running, and more!
Functional Fitness and Weight Loss
Functional training can have an impact on weight loss by helping your body become more efficient at burning calories. When your body burns more calories during exercise, and burns more calories through activities of daily living, you lose weight faster. It was first created as a form of exercise by physical therapists, and now is recognized as a safe and thorough way to work out your essential muscles. Most exercises include full-body, multi-plane movements that utilize several muscle groups at once. Since this requires more energy expenditure on your end, it also means you burn more calories, which is what you’re aiming for when trying to lose weight!
Functional Fitness/Weight Training and Physical Health
Modern exercise science shows that working with weights—whether that weight is a dumbbell, a barbell, or your own body—may be the best exercise for lifelong physical function and fitness. Studies have shown that the “load” that this form of training puts on bones and their supporting muscles, tendons and ligaments is probably a bigger deal when it comes to health and physical function.
Functional Fitness and Bone Health
Resistance training counteracts bone loss. Through a process known as bone remodeling, strength training stimulates the development of osteoblasts (bone cells) that helps build bone. Resistance training is a great way to maintain and improve bone strength.
Functional Fitness and Depression
Studies have shown that lifting weights can help battle depression and anxiety. This is a great article summarizing the studies that have been done to support this information: https://www.outsideonline.com/2324201/lifting-weights-helps-ease-anxiety-and-depression