Are you tired of the usual workout and want to try something new? Functional fitness is trending, and you don’t want to miss out on its benefits! Functional fitness will help you perform everyday activities, lose weight, and tone up your body.
Functional fitness, as the name suggests, is designed to be practical and useful. While resistance and cardio training tend to focus on specific muscle groups, functional fitness uses several muscle groups at once, making them work together. Strengthening your body will allow you to perform daily chores faster and better—leaving more time for the things you love!
What Are the Benefits of Functional Fitness?
According to Mayo Clinic, functional fitness can help prevent injuries because it includes movements that develop body control and balance. Hormones and anatomy make women more susceptible to knee injuries than men—for this reason, functional fitness can be a gamechanger for women’s health. Functional fitness has many benefits:
- It helps you lose weight
- It strengthens your core
- It builds endurance
- It enhances flexibility
- It improves coordination and balance
- It improves your health
- It lowers the risk of injuries
- It improves your body function
- It increases your quality of life
Functional Fitness Exercises
Functional fitness exercises can be performed using your body weight, or props, like kettlebells, deadlifts, and dumbell squats. If you want to use your body weight, push-ups, squats, and planks are some of the easiest exercises that you can do at home. Regardless of the place you choose for your workout, consider adding these simple fitness training exercises to your next workout. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you take a gradual approach to functional fitness—focus on building core muscle strength and endurance before adding more demanding exercises and more resistance. Try these easy workouts to start your practice!
We often have to climb stairs—and it is easy to get tired if you do not exercise regularly. This exercise will tone your legs and strengthen your arms. You can march in place, or you can stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs, holding a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand. Climb the stairs while performing bicep curls, and repeat five to 10 times.
This exercise improves your balance and coordination, and it strengthens your back, shoulders, and legs. Stand tall, holding a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand. Extend one leg back, placing your toe on the floor, and keeping the other leg straight. Lean forward and lift the leg behind you as you bring your chest toward the floor and lift your arms straight out, forming a T at your shoulders. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg.
This exercise is perfect for strengthening your legs and all over mobility. Squat down, placing your hands on the floor; then straighten the legs (trying to keep your hands on the floor). Return to a deep squat and hands up, then stand back up tall. Breathing is crucial in this exercise—move as fast as your breathing allows you to.
This exercise strengthens your chest, shoulders, and arms. Get on your hands and knees and place your hands wider than shoulder distance apart. Extend one leg straight back, tightening your core muscles. Keeping your leg lifted, lower your chest to the ground, then push up. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each leg. As you get stronger, you can increase the angle of your hips, the distance of your knees from your hands, and perform the exercise with straight legs.
Adding a reach to the traditional side lunge creates additional benefits. Side lunges strengthen your back, and they increase hip mobility. Keep your chest high and keep the weight back on the heels rather than the toes. As you get stronger, try to get deeper and deeper towards the floor to improve your hip mobility.
Strong core muscles can help you avoid back injuries—this exercise strengthens your core. Sit on the ground with knees bent, place your feet flat on the floor, and hold a medicine ball at your chest with both hands. Rotate your torso to the right, return to center, and rotate to the left. Repeat 10 to 15 times for each side.
Planks strengthen about every muscle in your body, and they are perfect to end your functional fitness workout with a final push. You can modify your plank in many different ways to make it more dynamic. To start, get on your hands and toes, facing the floor and keep your body in a straight line (you can also place your elbows down). Add your preferred dynamic variations, and repeat five to 10 times.
It is important to mention that breathing plays a key role in all these exercises. Breathe in and breathe out as you change movements, and let your breath guide you during your practice.