We all know that staying active is one of the keys to living staying healthy for longer. One of the most beneficial programs you can follow is one that focuses on functional fitness. So, what is functional fitness and why how can it benefit people of all ages, from adolescence to old age?
What is functional fitness?
This type of training involves movements that prepare your body to carry out everyday activities. A lot of gym equipment exercises muscles in isolation, which is really just training them to do that movement. True functional fitness replicates the movements you need to perform everyday activities such as carrying groceries, getting up and down from chairs or the floor, and playing with your children or grandchildren. Another great thing about pursuing functional fitness is that it can be tailored exactly to your needs, from a high-intensity gym routine to assisted living center physical therapy.
What types of exercise are included?
Think about what kinds of movements and activities you do every day. Functional training should replicate these. In general, most functional exercises include activating multiple joints at the same time. The exercises not only build strength but keep the relevant joints supple and with a good range of motion. Most exercises will use movements such as squatting, bending, twisting, and lifting.
The benefits of functional fitness for seniors
As we’ve already discussed, functional fitness can benefit seniors too, keeping them healthier for longer and able to perform the movements needed to live a comfortable and active life. Some of the biggest advantages include:
As we get older, lean muscle mass decreases. While you can’t prevent this altogether, you can delay and reduce the amount it affects you. Building and retaining strength in your muscles improves stamina and core strength which is key to many movements. Strength training is important for bone density too, especially in women.
Losing balance and falling can cause serious injury. If this happens when you’re older, the risk of broken bones and ongoing medical problems increases too.
A decreased instance of injury
Feeling stronger, fitter, and more flexible reduces the risk of falling and other types of injury in your everyday life. Functional training also teaches you proper form as well. For example, learning how to squat safely, without putting too much pressure on your knees or back can help you lift and carry heavy boxes.
Many people are concerned that as they get older, they will lose their independence and need support in many areas of their life. Functional fitness can work to keep you more independent for longer.
Functional fitness is about much more than doing exercise for the sake of exercise. It has real, tangible effects on how you feel and performs in your everyday life. The focus isn’t on reps or weight but on movements that mirror real-world situations. It’s a great type of exercise for people of any age but is particularly successful as we age, keeping you feeling better and remaining independent for longer.