Staying fit and active is extremely important, especially as we age. The older we are, the more difficult it seemingly becomes to complete everyday tasks, even those that require minimal physical exertion. From walking to putting groceries away or climbing a flight of stairs, finding oneself out of breath or exhausted is a sign of poor fitness. With functional fitness, discover how you can increase your overall activity levels by completing daily chores to improve mobility and flexibility while reducing inflammation and pain throughout the body.
What is Functional Fitness?
Functional fitness includes exercises that involve completing daily tasks or chores while also providing physical benefits or a slight workout. Functional fitness activities can range from carrying heavy objects to putting groceries away or deep-cleaning a home’s baseboards. Functional fitness exercises can be simultaneously productive and physically beneficial, while also offering numerous mental and emotional benefits as well.
Types of Functional Fitness Exercises
When it comes to functional fitness, there is no one size fits all answer, especially as those who have mobility issues may require a custom-tailored functional fitness routine based on their own physical limitations. Some common types of functional fitness exercises that can be done in and around the home include, but are not limited to the following:
- Putting groceries away
- Picking up and transporting heavy objects or boxes of items (if your current state of health permits you to do so)
- Organizing items and putting them away on shelves
- Washing and vacuuming floors using mops, brooms, vacuums, and deep cleaners
- Scrubbing showers, tubs, and toilets
- Completing numerous loads of laundry
- Bending over to clean or pick up items from the floor
Other exercises that are functional but are also considered classical exercises may include:
- Pilates/yoga/Tai Chi
- Ball squats
- Bicep curls
What Are the Benefits of Functional Fitness?
Learning to happily incorporate functional fitness exercises into your daily routine will not only help to prevent your muscles from weakening from inactivity over time, but it will also help provide an array of health benefits in your everyday life.
Staying fit and in shape requires movement, even if it is not intensive cardio or strength training. Staying active, even when you are indoors and inside your own home, is a way to maintain your body’s muscles and your ability to complete mundane tasks without feeling out of breath or physically incapable of doing so without taking breaks.
Whether it is remote work or age that is impacting one’s range of motion and mobility, functional fitness can help. Functional fitness helps expand one’s range of motion while reducing inflammation and compression, which can aid in relief while bending or using joints to get something done.
Working out regularly is one of the best ways to maintain muscle and flexibility, but it also helps to increase strength over time. Even if you are only completing a few chores around the house each day, you are consistently helping your body to simultaneously build both muscle and strength. Eating a diet that is high in protein is also recommended for those who are using functional fitness exercises in pursuit of building muscle and to trim fat from the body.
Contrary to what may seem true, being more active will typically reduce the inflammation one is experiencing, especially if an individual has been immobile for an extended period of time. Walking and retraining the muscles to move regularly is essential to help reduce inflammatory markers throughout the body while also helping to increase blood flow all throughout the body.
Reduced Risk of Injury
Keeping the body active and in motion is also a way to reduce one’s risk of injury, especially when completing tasks that require a range of motion, such as twisting or turning repeatedly. The more active an individual is, the less likely the muscles, joints, and bones are to be frail or at risk of being pulled, sprained, or even fracturing. Oftentimes, those who experience sudden bone breaks or muscle pulls do so due to an extended period of inactivity. Bodies in motion remain in motion, and are much more flexible, even after falling or experiencing an injury.
With functional fitness, there is no pressure to work alongside a personal trainer or to visit a gym 5 days a week. Instead, functional fitness exercises can be completed right from the comfort of the home, making it easier than ever to remain fit and active.
Because not all limitations, disabilities, and conditions are equal, it is important to have a solution for fitness that is not only accessible, but one that is also flexible and custom-tailored to one’s individual needs. Functional fitness provides virtually endless opportunities to get fit and active, even for those who are limited by the number of functioning limbs they have to use. Functional fitness is suitable for all ages and can help keep just about anyone active, even with the simplest of tasks in the home.
“Boosting your mood is also possible by remaining active, even during the days that you are staying indoors. Exercise is one of the best activities to release natural endorphins such as dopamine in the brain and throughout the body,” says Francois-Xavier Morency, chemical engineer and founding partner at MP Ventures & Trusts.
Using functional fitness as an enabler for an active lifestyle is one of the easiest changes an individual can make in their own lives for mobility and health’s sake. With functional fitness, learn how to remain fit and active through injuries, disabilities, and even the natural aging process.