Do You Know What Is Functional Fitness? Who Can Benefit From This? See What Experts Say

Do You Know What Is Functional Fitness? Who Can Benefit From This? See What Experts Say

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Fo most people, the idea of fitness means six pack abs, body building, etc. But functional fitness is more important than that. ‘Functional fitness’ is something which is required for daily living. This can help improve daily life by strengthening muscles to prepare them for everyday tasks and activities. Mostly using your body weight, this form of strength training is simple and safe for almost anyone. It is a type of exercise that supports your everyday life and  includes movements such as walking, pushing, pulling, bending, squatting, lunging, and core.

Understanding Functional Fitness:

In this regard, Dr Gaurav Khera, who is an Orthopedic Surgeon, at Apollo Spectra Delhi said, “Functional fitness differs from traditional gym workouts that isolate specific muscle groups or focus solely on aesthetics. This, instead, targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously, promoting overall strength, mobility, and balance.”

To this, Akash Choudhary, who is an Actor-Model-Influencer and a Fitness Enthusiast added, “This serves as a recreational workout that engages the entire body in a holistic manner. This approach to fitness is characterized by shorter intervals with minimal rest and heightened intensity, making it highly efficient. It relies on using minimal weights or even one’s body weight for resistance.”

Dr Gaurav then went on to list the core principles of functional fitness which include:

  • Functional Movements: Functional exercises mimic real-life actions like squatting, lifting, pushing, and pulling. These movements improve your ability to perform tasks such as carrying groceries, lifting a child, or getting up from a chair.
  • Balance and Stability: Functional fitness enhances your balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls and injuries, especially as you age. Better balance also means improved posture and reduced back pain.
  • Core Strength: A strong core is at the heart of functional fitness. It stabilizes your spine and pelvis, making everyday activities like bending, twisting, and reaching easier and less straining.
  • Range of Motion: Functional fitness exercises increase your flexibility and range of motion, allowing you to move freely without pain or discomfort. This is essential for maintaining your independence as you age.

Difference Between functional Fitness And Other Exercise:

Dr Gaurav Khera went on to explain the difference between functional finess and other exercise.

He said, “Functional fitness prioritizes exercises that mimic everyday activities, emphasizing movements like squatting, lifting, pushing, and pulling. This approach aims to improve one’s ability to perform daily tasks effectively.”

“Many traditional exercises, such as bodybuilding or treadmill running, often target specific muscle groups or cardiovascular fitness. Functional fitness, on the other hand, aims for overall functional improvement, promoting balance, flexibility, and strength across various body parts. Traditional exercises often require specialized equipment, like weight machines or stationary bikes. In contrast, functional fitness routines frequently incorporate minimal equipment, focusing on body weight exercises, free weights, kettlebells, and resistance bands,” he added. 

Who Can Benefit From Functional Fitness?

Functional fitness programs can benefit every person regardless of fitness level, age, exercise experience or time available for training.

Yash Birla, who is a fitness enthusiast said, “In this world of hustle-bustle, it is important to be physically active, and exercises that keep your body moving and combat boredom can be beneficial. Your risk of injury is decreased, and your quality of life is improved, by strengthening the muscles in the same way that you would need to utilise them for specific jobs. You won’t have to worry about putting any strain on yourself or pulling anything throughout the day.”

To this, Dr Gaurav Khera added, “Functional training programs can help improve definition, burn calories, enhance aerobic capacity and promote muscle growth and can be a good way to combat restlessness and keep your body moving. Besides, this can help improve daily life by strengthening muscles to prepare them for everyday tasks and activities. Mostly using your body weight, this form of strength training is simple and safe for almost anyone.”

“Functional fitness exists on a continuum. Depending on the situation, practically any workout can be functional because, in actuality, gaining strength naturally makes you more functional in daily life. While getting stronger overall will improve your mobility, getting stronger while doing workouts that simulate motions from regular tasks will make your training programme even more efficient,” continued Yash.

What Kind Of Exercises Does This Involve?

Talking about the kindof exercises this involves, Yash said, “Depending on the objective, a typical functional training session will vary, but often it consists of both strength and cardiovascular exercises.”

These may consist of:

  • Plyometric workouts like jump squats and burpees
  • Unilateral movements such as single-leg deadlifts and lunges
  • Compound exercises including squats, deadlifts, and shoulder presses

How To Incorporate Functional Fitness Into Your Routine?

Getting started with functional fitness is easier than you might think. You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment. Here are some simple ways to incorporate it into your daily life suggested by Dr Gaurav Khera:

  • Body weight Expercises: Exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks can be done anywhere, requiring no equipment. Start with basic variations and gradually increase intensity.
  • Functional Training Classes: Many fitness centers offer classes specifically focused on functional fitness. These classes provide expert guidance and a supportive community.
  • Outdoor Activities: Activities like hiking, swimming, and yoga naturally incorporate functional movements and improve overall fitness.
  • Home Workouts: Invest in a few resistance bands, dumbbells, or kettlebells for home workouts that target functional movements.
  • Balance Training: Practice standing on one leg or using a balance board to improve your stability.

Benefits Of Functional Fitness:

Yash Birla said that in addition to improving your overall well-being, functional fitness provides multiple benefits. These include benefits to your general well-being, daily functioning, and sports performance. Here are five of the key benefits of functional fitness listed by him:

  • Improves everyday life: Functional fitness has many benefits over conventional exercising since it focuses on the motions we use every day, which makes it more beneficial overall. Given that you are really preparing for your regular life, this form of training is typically more enjoyable than others.
  • Greater muscle memory: By engaging in regular functional fitness activities, you are not only strengthening your muscles and core but also your brain, which will improve your memory.
  • Increased mobility: Balance, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and agility are all enhanced through functional fitness. You will become more mobile as a result of all of these factors, which will benefit your daily activities.
  • Improves balance and posture: Strength and balance will increase overall because functional fitness focuses on teaching the body to coordinate its muscles rather than training specific muscles in isolation. Reducing stress on the body will also benefit from training the muscles to manage weight effectively. As a result, posture will be enhanced.
  • Reduced risk of injury: The body is more likely to be able to resist stressors if the movements are mimicked from daily life. Strengthening muscles and ligaments, which are the areas most prone to injury, is promoted by functional fitness training.

Impact Of Functional Fitness On Emotional Well-Being:

In this regard, Akash Choudhary said, “Innovative functional training contributes significantly to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and achieving a visually appealing physique over the long term. Moreover, it has a positive impact on one’s emotional well-being, promoting happiness and sound sleep. Engaging in such intense workouts induces the release of ‘happy hormones,’ fostering a sense of excitement and contentment. While functional training can be demanding and challenging, it quickly becomes an addiction for those who embrace it. Once you adapt to this fitness regimen, you’ll find it difficult to resist, given its enduring benefits for both body and mind.”

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