Functional Fitness Exercises and What They Can Do For You

Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to help you do everyday activities safely and efficiently. Find out more about functional fitness exercises — and what they can do for you. Chances are you don’t live to exercise. For many people, exercise is a way to maintain or improve their quality of life. And that’s the focus of functional fitness. Functional fitness exercises are designed to train and develop your muscles to make it easier and safer to perform everyday activities, such as carrying groceries or playing a game of basketball with your kids. [1]

So what’s an example of a functional exercise? Think of a bent-over row; not the kind of row you do on a seated machine, but the kind you do leaning over a bench, holding the weight in one hand with your arm hanging straight down, and then pulling the weight up as your elbow points to the ceiling, finishing with your upper arm parallel to the ground. Compare that motion to a carpenter bending over a piece of wood, a nurse bending over a bed to transfer a patient, or an auto mechanic bending over to adjust your carburetor. Anyone doing a bent-over row will find a carryover in things you do in normal life. [2]

What are the benefits of functional fitness training?

Functional exercises tend to use multiple joints and numerous muscles. Instead of only moving the elbows, for example, a functional exercise might involve the elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles. This type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce your risk of injury and improve your quality of life. Functional exercise training may be especially beneficial as part of a comprehensive program for older adults to improve balance, agility and muscle strength, and reduce the risk of falls. [1]

The functional fitness payoff:

As you add more functional exercises to your workout, you should see improvements in your ability to perform your everyday activities and, thus, in your quality of life. That’s quite a return on your exercise investment. [1]