We often hear the phrase “functional fitness” being thrown around. But what is it exactly?
For many people, exercise is a way to maintain or improve their quality of life. And, that’s the exact focus of functional fitness as well. Functional fitness however is designed to train and develop your muscles to make it easier and safer to perform everyday activities specific to your life, such as carrying bags of groceries from the car or playing a game of football in the backyard with your kids, or even just picking up something off the floor.
If you look at a basic exercise like a squat, it’s a functional exercise because it trains the muscles used when you rise up and down from a chair or pick up low objects from the floor.
Without the functional fitness in your body to do a squat correctly, you might use patterns of muscular engagement that are not ideal and could lead to injury.By training your muscles to work effectively in everyday tasks, you prepare your body to perform well in a variety of common situations.
What are the benefits of functional fitness training?
Functional fitness exercises tend to use multiple joints and numerous muscles all working together rather than in a traditional gym setting that works muscles in isolation (i.e. a bench press exercise).
Instead of only moving the elbow with something like a bicep curl exercise, a functional exercise might involve a whole body movement recruiting 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. Functional fitness exercises can be done at home or at the gym.
Functional exercise training may be especially beneficial as part of a comprehensive program for all ages to improve balance, agility and muscle strength.
The functional fitness payoff
As you add more functional exercises to your workout or your stretching/exercise regime at home, you should see improvements in your ability to perform your everyday activities and, thus, in your quality of life. That’s quite a return on your exercise investment!
How we embrace “Functional Fitness”
At Pondera we pride ourselves on taking a personalised approach to our clients, not a “one size fits all” approach like you find at big gyms.
Our Clinic has Physiotherapists, Exercise Physiologists, Remedial Massage Therapists, a rehabilitation gym and a clinical pilates studio where we will tailor your care to your individual situation and needs. We can help you reduce pain, regain function, increase flexibility, improve strength and more!
Most importantly we work with you to ensure your prescribed exercises and care minimises the chances of reinjury or ongoing pain and dysfunction and is designed to help you realize your goals – whether it’s getting back out on your bike, running with your dog on the beach or keeping up with your grandchildren!