According to a recent survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine on fitness trends in 2019, functional fitness ranked in the top 10. Being physically fit isn’t a nice option to consider – it’s vital to maintaining a high quality of life at any age. Therefore, here are five ways functional fitness can do just that:
1. Core strength: Participating in functional fitness exercises that are in a standing position or on the mat and that strengthen the core, can help protect your lower back from injuries. The core is such a central component of the body and strengthening it and using it when you do things like bend over, get up from a seated position or sit down, can allow you to move more easily and reduce the chances of any strain in the lower back area.
2. Upper body strength: If you’re a parent who needs to lift a heavy baby or toddler, car seat, diaper bag, outdoor chairs, coolers or other items, having upper body strength can really go a long way in making these daily tasks easier. Using light to medium sized hand weights or your own body weight to work the biceps, triceps, pectorals, deltoids, trapezius and latissimus dorsi, can really help build muscle and increase bone density.
3. Lower body strength: You may often find yourself in situations where you have to walk up several flights of stairs if an elevator isn’t available, walk up a hill to get to a certain destination or climb up a ladder to reach something. Having lower body strength and stamina in your legs can really help make these tasks easier. Doing squats and lunges to work your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, inner and outer thighs, can train your body for these tasks and also build muscle and bone density.
4. Cardiovascular strength: If you want to be able to chase after your kids at the park or go hiking, biking, swimming, dancing or skiing with your family and friends on the weekends or on vacation, these activities will be much more enjoyable if you have the cardiovascular training and strength to do them. Taking circuit training, HIIT or bootcamp classes, running or walking are all great workouts to prepare your body for these activities.
5. Flexibility: Being able to do household chores, gardening, reaching for things and simply going about your day to day life is easier and pain free when you have increased flexibility. Stretching on a daily basis in the morning or after a workout or taking yoga classes a few times a week, can help with reducing tightness and increasing flexibility in your body to enjoy your daily life and prevent injuries.
Try to incorporate these functional strength, cardiovascular and flexibility exercises into your schedule a few times a week and you’ll start to see an increase in your quality of life in no time!