Functional Fitness is the workout, exercise and training that makes you capable of going through a variety of daily tasks and motions with relative ease. It helps to build your strength, it tones your body and allows you greater control, agility and stability in the various movements that you engage in. It helps with coordination, balance, performance as well as function. In this way, Functional Fitness is about preparing for life and navigating life’s challenges with newfound confidence.
There are several reasons why Functional Fitness must be included in your routine. Progressively, as you renew your gym membership every year you will find that losing weight or staying ‘fit’, the goals you have been following until now, do not necessarily remain your top priority. In fact, you will discover that simple exercises that help you stay focused, and keep you fit for the job that you do in the real world take up more and more of your time and attention.
Take, for example, one recent instance when driving your car to-and-fro work caused an acute backache. Perhaps it was your driving style or the unusually congested roads. Your instructor suggested that you try a few stretching exercises. And you found immediate relief. He demonstrated these exercises, and now you practice them before you leave for work, every day. Another example can be the overwhelming stress you are experiencing in your workplace. This is causing you sleeplessness, fatigue and extreme anxiety. Again, a family member or friend suggests that you take up yoga and meditation to mitigate stress. You instantly follow a YouTube channel that conducts sessions and flexibly scheduled classes, and you join them every evening. These examples give you an idea of the appeal of Functional Fitness, and why so much excitement surrounds the subject.
Here are a few interesting ways you can explore Functional Fitness and grow Functionally Fit!
1. Squatting and Step-up
Squatting on the floor, and trying out a bunch of other movements that have to do with either sitting or lying down can be beneficial to the body. This can improve circulation and can make the body’s joints and tendons nimble. Use a yoga mat and care for your body’s comfort while doing these exercises. Step-ups are highly effective too. You can extend the exercise by graduating a two-step step-up, to a three-step step-up, and speeding up your routine.
Drills have an energizing rhythm and can be practised with music or the sound of drums playing. Additionally, you can participate in a drill with a group, or do it alone in the privacy of your backyard. Wherever you perform it, by its very nature a drill is invigorating and stimulating. The exercises covered in a drill are simple and non-strenuous. At the same time, they help build stamina and endurance. No wonder sportsmen and athletes are amongst the top fans.
3. Plyometric exercises
Frog jumps, tuck jumps, push-ups, lateral lunges and a permutation/ combination of these routines make plyometrics the most rigorous and systematic of Functional Fitness training. However, it is recommended that you talk to a trainer or a health specialist with knowledge and experience before engaging in this training. It is also advised that you practice these exercises under supervision as a single misstep or incorrect move can cause irreversible damage to your form and bone structure.
The trampoline is a great exercising medium. It caters to a range of movements. Try lunges, jumps, a combination of lunges and jumps, lateral movements, and posterior movements. Jumping on the trampoline triggers some specific bodily processes that help build immunity. A trampoline is thoroughly recommended for people suffering from asthma and allergies. Balancing on a single leg while standing on a trampoline builds up your strength as well as immunity.
5. Gym Ball
Use the gym ball to stretch and flex your body. A variety of abdomen exercises are effectively conducted using a gym ball. A heavy bag, used by boxers in the gym, can help improve reflexes and coordinate hand-eye movement. Similarly, a speed bag, also used by boxers, can improve speed and shoulder endurance.