Think about everything that you do in a day— from getting out of your bed, to walking up the stairs, picking up your kids, reaching for things in the kitchen, getting out of your car, bending down to pick your backpack up, pushing the stroller, the list goes on and on. You might no think about it, but all of these things require you to use multiple joints and numerous muscles.
Now think about exercises you do when you are working out like deadlifts, lunges, wood choppers, etc, they all also use multiple joints and numerous muscles. This is why I love functional fitness. If you haven’t heard of this term, it is very basic, but so incredibly important—especially as a busy mom!
Functional fitness is about preparing you for life, rather than something specific like a sport, race or lifting competition. Think about it like when you squat down to clean up your kiddos mess on the floor, or turning and reaching for your wine glass on a high shelf to pour yourself a big glass. This type of exercise mimics your everyday actions while engaging multiple muscle groups to help you get stronger.
When it is all said and done, functional fitness is about being able to get through all of the activities in your daily routine. That means you need the strength to lift/carry things—like your kids, car seats, groceries, dog, the endurance to move around without getting fatigued—like chasing your toddlers, your dog, going up and down the stairs, and the mobility to do all of it without injury. The best fitness routines involve all three of these elements to keep you feeling and functioning your best. Most moves focus on using your bodyweight, functional fitness you can add weights to make it harder once you have the exercises down!
Here are some examples of functional fitness exercises:
squats - You have to squat to get on and off your couch or toilet for that matter. Those who say they can’t squat, you do it everyday!
push-up: anytime you get off the floor or if you sleep on your stomach push yourself out of bed.
pull-ups: pulling yourself up,
Press: When you reach above your head to put something away or get something down you are performing a press.
Deadlift is what you do every time you pick up your kiddos from the ground or from their beds. or picking up anything on the ground.
clean and jerk is a combo of the deadlift and press; anytime you pick something up off the floor and placing it in/on a shelf above your head. Or picking up your kids carseat and then putting them in the car.
From this point forward, when you are working out, I want you to think about your exercise routines differently and more than just trying to look good. I want you to ask yourself, will this exercise translate to a daily task and/or help me function better? Does it 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, when properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce your risk of injury and improve your overall quality of life.
Remember that functional fitness exercises are designed to train and develop your muscles to make it easier and safer to perform your everyday tasks, like carrying groceries or playing sports with your kids and improve your quality of life.
Here is a great resource for a breakdown in a functional training workout!