What is functional fitness and how can it help you?
You may have heard the term “functional fitness” and wondered what exactly it means. Functional fitness is being able to perform every day activities such as climbing stairs, open and closing jars, getting up and down from a seated position, placing something overhead, carrying groceries, tying your shoes and so on.
Abilities that we all want and need to be able to do and keep doing right through our lives.
Functional fitness refers to how well you are able to do all the physical tasks you need to do each day.
For example, if you are functionally fit, you can carry a bag of groceries without strain, bend down to pick up laundry from the floor without pulling a muscle, lift a child without injuring your back or even perform regular exercise without breaking something.
We tend to have repetitive movement patterns in our daily lives which can cause weakness and imbalances in our muscular system which can then leave us at risk of injury.
Its a sad fact but, people get admitted to nursing homes when they can no longer do the necessary tasks and activities of daily living.
To be blunt, they have neglected their functional strength and fitness.
Then the burden (and cost) falls on someone else to take care of them which can mean family, friends or the community. So, we all end up paying.
To avoid this we ALL need to take the time to strengthen and condition our bodies to successfully perform the physical movements we all encounter during work, sport or simply life itself.
Your functional ability MUST be your priority. It will impact the way you do everything in your life.
No matter whether you are a stay-at-home-mum or a construction worker, sometimes, it’s time to hit the “reset” button and improve your fundamentals…
… before it’s too late.
Today Peak Performance Fitness Consultant, Carolyn Hansen tells us about this type of exercise that can give you the most “bang for your buck” …
A long time ago, there were no intentional exercise programs. Physical activity was a natural part of life and practically everyone participated in enough movement on a daily basis to keep the body in good condition. Now our modern labor saving devices and the television set have robbed many people of the necessary movement that the human body needs to stay healthy.
Recent research estimates that about 80 percent of the western world’s population is sedentary or inactive and there are a lot of people suffering from chronic diseases that are related to a sedentary lifestyle. Many more are aware of the possible risks and know that they need to get more exercise and activity than they are currently doing.
One of the most basic measures of physical fitness is your functional fitness: your ability to perform daily activities – such as walking, bending, lifting, reaching and climbing stairs – without pain or discomfort.
Many systems regulate the correct functioning of the human body: the skeletal system, the muscular system, the nervous system, the heart/lung system, the hormonal system and the immune system. All of these systems are activated and rejuvenated when we move vigorously. When we live a sedentary life, they tend to “forget” their functions.
By staying active and being proactive with your health, you can help prevent and slow the downward spiral of deconditioning which is defined as decreased strength, endurance, flexibility, problems with balance and an increasing difficulty in performing everyday tasks and activities. This slow decline in function can happen over a very long period of time, years and decades so you hardly notice. But you will.
Many people say they want to exercise, but they do not know how to begin or where to start. Strength training exercise may be the perfect answer to the missing exercise factor that the everyday person is looking for.
We can recover a great deal of any function that has been lost and regain physical efficiency, whether it is strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, and heart/lung fitness.
With proper training it can all come back. Strength training exercise is one of the most effective forms of results based exercise programs.
The program focuses on re-establishing the correct functioning of the body and is designed to improve health, increase the ability to perform the activities of daily living and recreational pursuits and will greatly enhance a person’s quality of life.
Life expectancy is increased, partial and total disability is delayed, in some instances, biological age is reduced by as much as 10 – 20 years. Exercise is, thus, an extremely important component of healthy living. Your life without it cannot compare to life with it, the difference is so vast.