Most people have heard of the term “functional fitness”, but do you know why it’s so important? As we get older, our ability to train at high volumes and lift heavy weights tends to become less important. Instead, we start to focus on how we can keep our bodies healthy and active for a lifetime. Incorporating functional fitness exercises can allow you to continue doing the activities you love and stay injury free, which will ultimately help maintain or improve your quality of life.
What are Functional Fitness Exercises?
Functional fitness exercises are movements that prepare your body for everyday activities. For example, doing a deadlift trains your body for lifting objects from the ground, such as a laundry basket or children. Functional fitness exercises help train and condition your body for practical applications. People of all ages can benefit from incorporating functional exercises.
The 3 Most Important Functional Fitness Exercises
There are many functional fitness exercises you can choose from. Crossfit Games athlete Scott Panchik shares the top three exercises he recommends to prepare your body for everyday life.
Whether it’s an air squat or back squat, practicing squats builds strength in the lower body. Almost every day, activities of daily living require us to get into a squatting position (ie. when we sit down in a chair or pick objects up off the ground).
2. Pressing Movement
One example of a pressing movement is an overhead press, where the goal is to lift a barbell from your shoulders to an overhead position. Pressing exercises translate over into many practical applications, such as lifting a child into the air or loading luggage into an overhead compartment on an airplane.
Many times, we’re required to do things like climb up and down stairs or walk to the store from the far end of the parking lot. While these may seem like basic tasks, they do accelerate your heart rate in some shape or form. Exercises like jumping rope, rowing, running, and biking can help improve endurance, making activities like these easier. Plus, cardio can help lower blood pressure, improve sleep, increase bone density, and strengthen the immune system.
Many of the physical issues and conditions that arise over the years as we age can be prevented. Try incorporating these three functional exercises so you can stay active, stay healthy, and live the life you want doing the things you love.