Functional fitness training: Is it right for you?

someone working out smiling and doing crunches

Everyone should be concerned about maintaining their health and fitness as they age. This is where functional fitness comes in. In a nutshell, functional exercises train your muscles to help you perform everyday activities safely and efficiently. Check out these facts about functional fitness from The Mayo Clinic to decide if this approach is right for you:

What are the benefits of functional fitness training?
Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating your common movements at home, work or while playing sports. Functional exercises tend to use multiple joints and numerous muscles. For example, instead of only moving the elbows, a functional exercise might involve elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles.

Do I need to join a gym to do functional fitness exercises?
No, functional fitness exercises can be done at home as well. For example, you can use resistance bands and dumbbells or perform bodyweight movements such as pushups, sit-ups, planks and squats. If you prefer working out at the gym, some may offer functional fitness classes.

Who can benefit from functional exercises?
This type of training may be especially beneficial as part of a comprehensive program for older adults to improve balance, agility and muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls.

Are functional fitness exercises for everyone?
You should always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. This is particularly true if you’re pregnant. Once you get the ok, it’s a good idea to start with bodyweight exercises. You can always add more challenges as you progress with weights and resistance bands.

Now that you know a little bit more about functional fitness, you may want to incorporate this kind of training into your exercise routine. As you add more functional exercises to your workout, you should see improvements in performing everyday activities and in your quality of life.

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