>U Mom Knows Best: Functional Fitness Is Important For Your Body

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Functional Fitness Is Important For Your Body

 Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks 

Cute outfit from Dona Jo Inc. 

 If you are a person who does not enjoy exercise or simply think that there is no need for daily exercise, then listen up as I again talk about how important exercise is to one's well-being. One of the topics that has been in my mind as I do my daily exercise is functional fitness. For you younger folks this may be a topic that you never gave thought to but for those who are older, you may have thought about it as you struggle to get up from the floor.

What is functional fitness?

 Functional fitness is performing exercises that help you do everyday activities safely and efficiently. Simply put they are exercises that help the muscles to do things like get up from a chair or squat down to pick up something. 

 When we are under 50 years of age, we don't think about exercising to help our bodies perform better but rather we go to the gym to make our bodies look better. When you are younger, you don't think of needing to exercise but rather wanting to exercise. Then you hit old age and you realize that your body starts to rebel. Things like getting up from the floor, are no longer easy to do. You may notice that your knees hurt after walking up the stairs or your back starts to hurt after bending over to pick up something.

 That is when most people complain about how getting older is a pain in the rear. That is what I like to call the "oh crap moment" that happens when we get older and realize that we need to start focusing on our health. This is when so many people start to exercise and make changes in their diet. Chances are you don't enjoy exercise. So you either force yourself to workout or you justify the lies that your body is fine without exercise. 

My favorite natural energy drink that I use for running

 

That is until your body is unable to do things like rising from a chair without making grunting noises or bending over to try your shoe. So the focus of functional fitness is about maintaining or improving the quality of your life.

Everyone can benefit from functional fitness training

 While most people think of exercises for functional fitness as a way to improve aging muscles. Younger people or those who are in shape should also incorporate functional fitness exercises into their fitness routines. For example, doing squats is a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you rise up and down from a chair or pick up low objects. Sure squats can give you a nice-looking booty but you should instead be doing squats so you don't have to struggle with getting up from a chair. Functional fitness can keep your body in shape so you don't have to experience body issues like stiffness and pain when you are older. So you don't have to become best friends with Ben Gay.

What lead me to think about functional fitness exercises

When I turned 50,  I started to realize that my daily fitness routine was no longer about a great-looking body but rather a desire to have a body that is healthy. It started with a running injury and later knees that made noises when walking down a flight of stairs. Then there was my first yoga class and I was unable to do a plank for more than a couple seconds. Then there was the stiffness when squatting to getting something out of a cabinet. I tried joint supplements and they helped a little bit. It was when I did a squat test at a fitness conference that I realized I needed to focus on exercises to strengthen my muscles. I did not want to experience life from the sidelines and blame it on old age. I wanted to not only keep doing things that I enjoyed, like running, but also not have future body problems.

Benefits of functional exercises

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

+ Decreased Risk of Injury

+ Increased Strength

+ Increased Balance and Stability

+ Prevent Aches and Pains

+ Prevent Future Problems

Examples of functional movements for fitness

  A great example of one of the best functional fitness exercises would be a simple squat. You squat several times a day. Using the bathroom, getting up from a chair, getting into a car, picking something up, etc. The squat uses so many muscles and joints. For your body to squat, it uses your legs, hips, rear end, core, and even your ankles. For some that squat requires the hands and arms. That is a lot of body parts! 

 A functional workout typically consists of compound exercises as these require more than one muscle group to work together. Because of that, they typically mimic everyday movement patterns—like pull, push, squat, hinge, and rotation. Think about how often do you squat to lift something off the floor? Or lunge to tie your shoe? Or push a door open? Or reach up to put something away? So these are exercises that help the muscles that are needed to do daily activities.

Some example of exercises to perform to strengthen the muscles for daily function:

+ Squats - Good form is more important than how low you can go. Leaning forward is bad form and can cause injury. Pretend that you are sitting down on a chair. 

+ Leg Lunges - Start out with what is comfortable and work into longer strides.

+ Lifting Weights - Start out with 3-pound weights and work up to heavier weights.

+ Pull-Ups - Just try doing one with a pull-up bar or even a swingset bar. This one may be tough. Just the act of hanging can strengthen your muscles.

+ Push-ups - Start with bended knees (some call these girl push-ups) or just hold a plank. 

What functional fitness is not

 Functional fitness is not about building big muscles but rather strengthening muscles. So you don't need to be bench-pressing or lifting heavy weights. For most of the exercises to strengthen your muscles, you will only need your body. While others, you will need 3 -15 pound kettle balls or dumbells. You can even use stretch-resistant bands. The best part is you can do these exercises at home and they don't take up a lot of time. You can do bodyweight movements such as pushups, situps, planks, and squats. You can use a 5 pound or more kettlebell to mimic picking something up off the floor. Here are some examples of functional exercises that you can start with. If you are just starting out, you can do these exercises with no weights.

The functional fitness payoff

As you add more functional exercises to your workout, you should see improvements in your ability to perform your everyday activities and in your quality of life. In my case, my knees no longer made weird clicking noises. The more I did squats, the easier they became. That's quite a return on your exercise investment. 

Start small

The most comfortable socks ever!

 As with any exercise program, start off small. That means do what you are able. If you can only do half a squat, that is better than nothing. Start off slow and gradually increase the movement. Then aim for 25-50 reps of each functional movement 3 days a week. Functional fitness is an addition to your cardio exercise routine. While cardio exercise is good for the heart, functional fitness is good for the muscles. They are both needed for a healthy body.

There will be pain

 When you start any type of exercise, your body may have pain. These muscles in your body have not been put to use, so there will be discomfort. Don't let that pain stop you from the benefits of stronger muscles and better body function. Use natural pain management products to help your muscles recover from the pain. I like using CBD products for my muscle aches and a trigger massage gun for the best muscle pain relief. Save $40 on a massage trigger gun.  As you are treating your sore muscles, just think of your future health. Also, make sure to include extra protein in your diet to help your muscles recover. I like to use a plant-based protein powder in a daily smoothie.

Amazing CBD products that are a part of my wellness plan 





16 comments:

  1. I need to start doing these more often. I mostly stick to jogging, but I know I need to do other things. My arms can be pretty flabby.

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  2. I haven't heard of functional fitness before, but I love the idea of using household items to exercise with.

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  3. This is such a great post. I LOVE that you touched on the fact that fucntional fitness is for everyone. The functional fitness approach is one to be used when you can't get to the gym if you have some kind of memebership, as well.

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  4. Fitness is so important. I need to work on doing more fitness throughout the day. I'm glad the weather is getting nicer as I love doing outdoor fitness.

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  5. I totally understand wanting to work out to have a healthy body as the main priority. My mindset on exercising has changed too as I have gotten older.

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  6. I love how you love working out so much. Thanks for this fitness inspiration post.

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  7. I'll follow your tips. I'm a very busy individual so working out at home will be convenient for me.

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  8. I super love your tips when it comes to fitness.

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  9. I have seen the impact of being fit and I have never looked back. Its an amazing lifestyle

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  10. Being fit and healthy is so important, and I think I need to try these things immediately.

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  11. I find in the summer when I do yard work is when I get the sorest after a long winter. It is amazing the fitness you can get from just doing daily tasks!

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  12. I need to start doing more exercises. I tend to do my daily walks but other parts of my body are screaming for help.

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  13. Such a great post and very useful especially now that we are still not visiting the gym and not sure when I'll feel safe enough to return.

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  14. I love turning some chores into nice little workouts. It is super efficient!

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  15. I will start to do these by weekend. We really need to stay fit and healthy. Thanks for these exercises.

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  16. This is great that you are doing such a variety of exercises. It makes such a big difference!

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