The research is clear: integrating regular movement into our daily routine is one of the best things we can do for both our short-term and long-term health! From improving heart health to supporting weight loss, exercise undeniably improves our well-being and overall quality of life. And while any form of exercise can contribute to these benefits, functional fitness holds particular importance in enhancing our overall health and daily functioning. By engaging in functional fitness exercises that simulate real-life movements, we not only improve our strength, flexibility, and coordination but also reduce the risk of injury and illness and enhance our ability to perform daily activities with ease!
What is Functional Fitness?
So what is functional fitness, exactly? Functional fitness is a training approach that aims to enhance the body’s ability to perform everyday tasks with efficiency and ease. Unlike traditional workout routines that target isolated muscle groups or prioritize aesthetic goals, functional fitness emphasizes exercises that mimic real-life movements, making them more practical and beneficial for everyday life.
These exercises, which include movements such as bending, lifting, pushing, pulling, and twisting, not only strengthen muscle groups we activate on a regular basis, but they also help to enhance our overall strength, stability, coordination, and flexibility. In turn, this makes it easier to carry out everyday tasks like carrying groceries, climbing stairs, or playing with your kids without strain or discomfort!
6 Functional Fitness Exercises to Improve Everyday Life
Squats — we love to hate them! These challenging yet incredibly effective movements are prized for their ability to target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. By engaging the muscles in your thighs, hips, and glutes, squats not only help to build lower body strength but also contribute to improved stability, balance, and core strength.
Incorporating squats into your workout routine can have a significant impact on your overall functional fitness, making daily activities like walking, climbing stairs, lifting heavy objects, gardening, and even getting up from a chair feel more effortless.
Walking lunges, reverse lunges, side lunges, curtsey lunges, plain old traditional lunges — no matter which variation you choose, they’re all incredible when it comes to improving your functional fitness! These exercises primarily target the muscles in your legs and hips, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and hip adductors/abductors. This helps to improve balance, stability, and mobility, which can enhance your ability to carry out everyday movements such as walking, climbing stairs, and maintaining proper posture.
Though grueling, deadlifts are one of the best exercises for improving functional fitness. Just think about how many times you pick up heavy objects throughout the day, whether it’s carrying your groceries, picking up your children, lifting luggage, or rearranging furniture. By targeting multiple muscle groups, including the muscles in your back, glutes, hamstrings, and core, this compound movement helps to strengthen your entire posterior chain. And aside from helping build overall strength and power, deadlifts also improve posture, stability, and coordination!
Plus, they help teach you how to engage your core and maintain a neutral spine while lifting heavy objects. This means reduced risk of injury and strain on joints and muscles.
Whether it’s pushing a shopping cart, moving furniture, or pushing open a heavy door, the strength, and coordination developed through push-ups can significantly enhance your ability to perform these daily activities without strain. Excellent for building upper body strength, particularly in your chest, arms, and shoulders, this functional fitness exercise can help you develop the necessary strength and stability to tackle daily tasks and movements more effectively.
Not a huge fan of push-ups? Try some of these push-up variations!
Let’s face it, holding a plank is no easy feat. We’ve all experienced that shaky feeling of burnout while holding a plank. But, as you push through the burn, remember — you’re not only improving your physical strength with enhanced core stability, you’re also improving posture and enhancing your ability to perform daily activities with greater ease!
This core-strengthening exercise can help you with everyday activities like bending over to tie your shoes, reaching for items on high shelves, and even sitting for extended periods. And if you get bored of the traditional plank, there are so many variations — like side planks, forearm planks, and even planks with a hip dip or leg lift — to keep you motivated.
Similar to a weighted walking lunge (without the lunge), this exercise involves carrying heavy weights in each hand, such as dumbbells or kettlebells, while walking. Considering the various everyday tasks that involve carrying objects, such as groceries, moving boxes, and even carrying pets or children, it’s clear why this exercise is considered a valuable addition to functional fitness routines!
It improves grip strength, strengthens your shoulders, core, and legs, and helps to activate and stabilize your spine to maintain an upright posture and reduce the risk of injury.
Try a Functional Fitness Workout Today
Want a guided workout option? Get started with one of these FitOn functional fitness classes.
This full body strength workout features functional strength training, which includes an exercise protocol that involves compound movements, balancing exercises, and isolation exercises. This workout is designed to utilize functional movement to help you live a stronger, more coordinated, and more joyful life; together we will put the FUN in FUNctional.
Work through simple movements that can improve your strength, balance, and coordination.
Experience the ultimate full body transformation with this heart-pounding full body HIIT workout. Leave this workout feeling stronger, fitter, and more empowered than ever before.
This workout is all about being fit for the function of life. Strengthening your muscles, bulletproofing your joints, and working in all planes of motion. Whether it’s picking up and carrying a child, dog or shopping bags, or playing sports, this workout will have you fit for whatever life throws at you. It’s strength focused with some cardio scattered in between. You’ll need a set of dumbbells.
Functional fitness not only improves our physical capabilities, but also promotes longevity and boosts our overall well-being. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can improve your strength, stability, mobility, and overall functionality, and what’s not to love about that? Whether it’s carrying groceries, playing with your children, or performing routine tasks, functional fitness empowers you to tackle daily activities with ease and confidence. Plus, adding in regular movement and functional fitness exercises helps to combat the negative impacts of a sedentary lifestyle. So, use this guide as motivation to get started, and watch the positive benefits trickle into both your fitness regime and daily routine.