If you’ve been with us for a while, you may have heard us toss around the term “functional fitness.” But, what is it? While we know that the traditional idea of fitness involves some combination of strength, cardio, and endurance training, the “functional” aspect may be new to some.
Committing to regular gym visits is an accomplishment in itself. You’re probably feeling better, maybe even losing some weight. That’s all well and good. However, if you really want to “up your game”, you may want to consider complementing your regular routine with some functional fitness training.
As we age, it becomes important to train our bodies to move more efficiently. This is just as important for competitive athletes looking for an edge in an athletic competition as it is for seniors who wish to play with their grandchildren, rehabilitation patients trying to regain their range of motion, and anyone else who wants to perform normal everyday tasks with ease.
Functional training focuses on the movement of the joints. It is specific, purposeful training for a particular task. This training can help us perform the actions needed for everyday life more efficiently: getting out of the car, crossing the street, carrying the kids, picking up something we dropped, bringing in the groceries, or going up and down the stairs. In other words, functional training improves the way your body moves and minimizes the risk of injury.
Some characteristics of a functional exercise program include:
1. Being anchored around functional tasks associated with routine activities
2. Plans tailored specifically for a particular individual – to help them meet their own goals, taking into consideration their health needs, or any injuries or history of injury they may have
3. A variety of exercises that improve balance and develop strength. As the workout progresses, movements become increasingly more challenging
In many cases, functional training can also actually help you burn more fat than your usual session on an elliptical or treadmill. Although equipment-based routines will help you burn calories, functional training workouts will burn just as much AND, amazingly, you will keep on burning calories after the workout is over. Meanwhile, you have the potential to improve core function, boost postural balance, develop efficient musculoskeletal systems, gain structural strength, prevent injury, and enhance your overall quality of life.
At SOLDIERFIT, we combine basic training techniques inspired by the U.S. military with functional fitness training to offer “troops” a dynamic fitness experience. When they’re not participating in our signature boot camp, members have access to fully equipped fitness gyms at all of our locations 7 days a week.
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