Functional Fitness

Recently we took a long hike that took us down and up huge inclines, on bluffs and boulders, in hollows and near waterfall beds and rivers.  It was a wonderful and adventurous day.  As I was climbing, hoisting myself here and there and of course huffing and puffing, I thought about functional fitness and how it helped prepare me for the day.

Functional fitness is about preparing you for life, not just adventurous hikes.  Think about the actions you take during your normal day like squatting down to pick something off of the floor, standing up from of a soft, cozy chair, to carrying a bag of groceries in from the car. Functional fitness copies your everyday actions while engaging multiple muscle groups. Functional exercises are designed to train and develop your muscles to make it easier and safer for you to perform everyday activities.  These exercises focus on balance, strength, cardio, flexibility, and multi-directional moves.  Movements such as standing straight, lifting and reaching will be easier by incorporating exercises that focus on functional movements.

There are seven movement patterns that your body does each day.  These are:  squat, lunge, push, pull, hinge, twist and walk.

Here is an exercise with a video explanation that goes along with each movement:

There is just one example each, but there are many exercises you can do for these different movements.

Squat –  Jump Squat

Lunge – Forward Lunge

Push – Push Up

Pull – Pull Up

Hinge – Dead Lift

Twist – Russian Twist

Walk – Hip Mobility

Functional fitness activities improve the quality of your life.  These activities help to create balance among your muscles and can increase strength and stability.  These movements help you perform better while cleaning, working in the yard, hiking, and living life!

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