Functional Training: Fitness to Improve Everyday Life

When committing to a consistent workout regimen, there is usually a goal (or two or three) in mind: weight loss, strength or muscle building, improve cardio health, just to name a few.

But what about exercising for overall health benefits and to simply perform relatively mundane daily activities well? This includes regular everyday things like carrying groceries, gardening, or moving furniture. 

You’ve most likely heard the term “functional fitness training” or “functional fitness” around the gym … and quite possibly are unsure of what it actually means and its benefits.

What is Functional Training?

American Council on Exercise (ACE), a nonprofit fitness certification, education and training provider, defines functional training as “performing work against resistance in such a manner that the improvements in strength directly enhance the performance of movements so that an individual's activities of daily living are easier to perform.”

Basically, functional training exercises train your muscles to help you do everyday activities safely and efficiently.

Here, our trainer further explains in a helpful video that functional training is simply movement-based training. He recommends incorporating tools like kettle bells, dumb bells, vipers and the like to help challenge your balance, coordination and overall muscular strength and endurance.

Good news is that functional fitness exercises can be done at home or at the gym, during a solo workout, personal training session or group fitness class using simply your own body weight or adding exercise tools, to up the intensity and challenge your body for improvement and strength.

Benefits of Functional Training

According to Mayo Clinic, by training your muscles to work the way they do in everyday tasks, you prepare your body to perform well in a variety of common situations. In addition, functional exercises tend to be multi-joint and multi-muscle exercises involving many different and collaborative muscle groups regions of the body to help make everyday activities easier. Not to mention reducing the risk of injury and improving the quality of life immensely.

Functional Training Exercises

Believe it or not, you’re probably already doing some functional exercises without even realizing it. Multidirectional lunges, standing bicep curls or step-ups with weights? Those are all functional training exercises helping your body to better do daily tasks such as mowing the lawn, getting in and out of bed, picking up and putting down your children over and over … the list goes on and on.

Is Functional Training Right For You?

Yes! Functional training is right for every body, including YOU! Easily modifiable for each individual fitness needs and overall health goals, functional fitness training can (and should be) wrapped into your routine as an overall healthy fitness program.

To get started or to learn more, check out this helpful functional training video with some helpful tips to get started and exercises to help with your own functional fitness training at home or at the gym.