Functional Fitness – Real Life Activity Work Out
One of the most talked about trend of today in health clubs and gymnasiums is functional fitness. You are up to speed on the bench press and a long and strenuous workout poses no problem. That is ‘gym’ life, but are you well prepared for ‘real’ life?
You turn quickly to grab the coffee pot or jerk your head around to look at the PC monitor and the body that you thought was toned, honed and ready to parade on a sun- kissed beach has suddenly developed a strained muscle.
Today the emphasis is being placed on preparing our bodies for everyday activities in everyday normal positions rather than adopting a classic pose while standing beside a piece of gym equipment.
The Great Muscle Merger
When you weight train, you focus on working certain groups of muscles rather than teaching the body muscles in their entirety to work together in harmony. Integration is an essential part of functional exercise. A functional exercise is one that incorporates the use of many muscles at the same time. People who go about their everyday work lifting and carrying, twisting and turning their bodies many times throughout the course of a normal day are utilizing their muscles well. Many who pay a visit to a gym and work on a particular area of their body will inevitably strengthen certain muscles but the core stabilizer muscles are not being used, simply because the piece of gym equipment is carrying out that task for you. Hence functional fitness means that you should be working without the aid of any gym equipment, letting your body do the work on its own.
Gain Balance And Control
Gaining a better insight into how functional fitness works is often carried out better without the aid of any gym equipment. Cast the weights to one side and try some everyday exercises, see if you can successfully achieve a one-legged squat. Believe it or not the one-legged squat commands immense stability and is a great muscle control. Make a start on functional fitness with some balance exercises. Simple balance exercises are easy to perform. Put the weight of your body onto one leg and maintain it, then change sides so that you are redressing the balance.
When you become confident that you have mastered the art of balance then start adding to it, maybe do a one-legged squat but pick up a hand weight as you start to rise. This type of exercise represents a challenge to your body and teaches the lower and the upper body to work together. The large inflatable stability balls can prove fun to use while using a hand weight and also ensure that you are using your core stabilizer muscles to remain balanced.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop your regular gym workouts in favor of trying to address weight and balance. If you incorporate functional exercise and combine it with your normal gym routine any muscles that are showing signs of weakness will become stronger. In essence you are further strengthening the strong muscles and also giving thought to isolated muscles that may have inadvertently been left behind, so the two groups can then begin to work together.
Many will be surprised how physically demanding functional exercise can be, it demands far more from the body than the use of any piece of gym equipment. Functional exercise can only be carried out for a short period at a time. Once the muscles begin to show fatigue then there is nothing to be gained from carrying on. There are many people who now specialize in functional fitness and the majority of gymnasiums will be able to offer you advice. As with all forms of exercise, a slow approach is the best way forward.