by Lisa Poole on Monday, December 21, 2015
I hate to admit it but I am getting older. No matter how much I wish I wasn’t it is happening. It is happening to all of us. Slowly things are starting to change. Skin is showing some wrinkles, muscles are less defined, joints are less mobile, and things ache and hurt so much more after what used to be a light workout. How can we fight this battle of age? There are skin creams, plastic surgery, and personal trainers to kick our butts. It boils down to the basics. Proper diet, exercise, plenty of sleep and reduced stress.
One great way to exercise as an aging population is functional fitness.
What is the importance of functional fitness? Functional fitness is training your body to handle real-life situations. It is building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, not just lifting a certain amount of weight in an idealized posture created by a gym machine. Functional fitness is all about building a stronger healthier you, so you can live and play without being in discomfort or pain.
Functional fitness differs from standard workouts: Rather than emphasizing a certain number of repetitions of each exercise, a functional fitness trainer will likely focus more on your level of effort, comfort, and improvement of any physical conditions or limitations. Functional fitness emphasizes working several areas of the body at once, rather than isolating a particular muscle or group of muscles, as with bicep curls.
Mobility loss and misalignment occur from daily repetitive movement and the aging process. Functional fitness has been shown to help with aging-related loss of mobility. Studies have shown with a functional fitness programs people have greater improvements in shoulder flexibility and strength, cardiorespiratory endurance, agility and balance than those who stuck with a traditional exercise program of walking and aerobic dance. Functional fitness regimen is also more an alternative to other treatment approaches for people with injuries or reduced mobility. Don’t wait for an injury to start a functional fitness or restorative exercise program. If you start a functional fitness program before you are injured it can help prevent the injuries, especially repetitive stress injuries.
Simple tasks, such as getting up or down on the floor become increasingly more difficult as we age. Partly because we avoid those types of moves when they start to become challenging. Don’t avoid the challenge. Keep sitting on the floor with the kids. It will be part of your daily functional fitness. Keep wearing shoes with ties; get rid of the slip on. Bending and tying those shoes is functional fitness. Use the stairs, park further away, stand at your computer, sweep your floor (no Roomba) etc. etc. etc. … As the saying goes use it or lose it.