Functional Fitness: Exercises for Life
Get a full-body workout right at home.
It doesn't matter if you can bench-press 200 pounds if it leaves you wincing in pain. And why run a marathon if it will destroy your knees?
Increasingly, doctors are advocating for functional fitness, which trains and prepares your muscles for everyday movements -- as opposed to long-distance, grueling workouts or heavy lifting that only targets isolated muscle groups.
Functional fitness is a highly effective back-to-basics workout. It consists of exercises like sit-ups, push-ups and weight training that can be done at home or at the gym, by yourself, or in a group.
It doesn't require much equipment either. Your own body and a good pair of athletic shoes may be enough, but a few key exercise tools, such as fitness balls, kettlebells and free weights, are also often used.
The goal is to train your muscles to accomplish everyday activities and build strength, agility and flexibility. Some of the benefits include keeping bones strong, improving balance and cardiovascular health and preventing Alzheimer's/dementia.
Functional fitness is about engaging the body in movements that are similar to ones used in the real world, such as moving furniture or lifting your grandkids. Functional fitness can also help you enjoy life free of joint pain, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.
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Date Last Reviewed: February 3, 2017
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor