“Functional fitness” is a bit of a buzzword. Simply put, it means being in shape to handle the tasks of everyday living with ease and without pain. We’ve all known someone who exercises regularly but who has wound up stiff, sore or injured after washing the windows or carrying in a heavy bag of groceries.

Functional fitness exercises are designed to train and develop muscles to work together by simulating movements you might do at while participating in a favourite sport, or while at work or at home — things like hoisting car seats, carrying groceries and unloading and lifting heavy boxes.

Many trainers now recognize the value of functional fitness training and teach functional fitness exercises that involve multiple joints and muscles.

Benefits of functional fitness exercises

Taking functional fitness exercises could make everyday activities easier, reduce the risk of injury, improve quality of life, and is of particular benefit to older adults eager to improve their balance, gain muscle strength and potentially reduce their risk of falls and injury. Examples include multi-directional lunges and step-ups using weights.

How to make the first step

If you’d like to improve your functional fitness but are unsure where to start and are wondering which exercises are best for you, book a session with a personal trainer to learn the ropes. Often one session is enough to help you get started and to learn to use stability balls, a wobble board, resistance bands and handheld weights as you master helpful exercises. Happily, if you stick with a program and work towards improved functional fitness a few times a week, you should notice an improvement within a month or two.

Investing money for your future is important — and so is investing in your health and happiness. Many people would agree that health is the greatest wealth and that it’s not something to take for granted. While your health is not something over which you have complete control, happily, many of the choices you make — to eat well, to be active and to manage your stress, for example — can go a long way towards helping you stay healthy.

Catherine Cameron, April 14, 2015, Get in shape for life with functional fitness. Retrieved from Canada Sun Life Corporate Website read the article.

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