Functional Fitness – Training for Real Life
According to the Mayo Clinic, functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepares them for the daily tasks of living. You aren’t necessarily training for a specific event like a weight-lifting competition or a marathon. Instead, the training simulates common movements the human body performs naturally. Often using compound exercises that target both the upper and lower body, functional fitness enhances core stability and makes your body stronger for whatever demands you will face. Functional fitness is training for real life.
At Equilibrium, our physiotherapist offers an expanded menu of functional fitness that can literally change your life for the rest of your life. Whether your goal is to rehabilitate an injury, get stronger after surgery, walk upstairs without shortness of breath, improve your athletic performance or to lose weight, functional fitness is for you.
When most people picture a gym, they have one vision in mind. They expect rows of weight machines, a cardio theater and a people dressed in lycra and massive muscly bodybuilders struggling to get even bigger. The typical gym is only one vision of fitness and it also presents some common problems. It can be intimidating for the neophyte, boring upon repetition and ultimately, not as effective as the glossy brochures might suggest. Functional fitness combines old-school calisthenics and gymnastic conditioning with up to date fitness research. Proper functional exercise can add years to your life.
Can you get off the floor without using your hands? Can you touch your toes? If so, you will age better than the guy whose sole goal is to make his thighs look like tree trunks. Lifting weights isn’t wrong, but if you can’t touch your toes now, how will you get your socks on when you’re a senior citizen? One of the goals of functional fitness is to help us adapt to real-life challenges like carrying heavy things while maintaining flexibility. As we age, everyone wants to be able to remain independent. How you exercise now will determine your abilities and how you feel later.
With Functional Fitness, You Decide the Body You Want
Your physiotherapist will work with you to help determine your current exercise capacity, possible physical deficits, and your goals for the future. Working together, you and your physiotherapist will figure out what you want to work on. Do you need to be more flexible to avoid injury? Stronger? Better conditioned so your endurance improves? A combination of some or all of the above? A functional approach to fitness can help.
Functional Fitness is an Efficient Approach to Getting Better
In many gyms, it’s easy to feel like a hamster on a wheel. With one-on-one coaching, you’ll learn movements aimed at preventing injury first. Function without proper form is a recipe for injury. You’ll never feel like just another customer with personalized coaching tailored to your goals and needs. Your safety is our first priority on your journey to better strength and conditioning.
There are Many Paths up the Functional Fitness Mountain
Functional fitness uses minimal equipment but it’s all effective and adapted to you. At Equilibrium’s new Tillicum location, we also have barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, TRX, a Bosu ball, big exercise balls, pull up bar, resistance bands, grip strengtheners, mats for planks and more to help you become your best. You can get a fantastic and productive workout with a mat and your body weight challenging gravity!
If conditioning is your goal, you’ll get a good sweat going quickly. In some gyms, the repetition can seem endless: lift, add weight, repeat, do more, stay longer. We realize you’ve got a life and a lot of stuff to do. The goal is not to exercise forever. You can work out hard or you can work out long, not both. With the right movements that target your goals, your trainer can help you improve what needs improving. A solid workout doesn’t have to last long. You can go to a lot of gyms and see the same people doing the same exercises year after year, looking bored or trying to watch The Simpsons as they jog on a treadmill. What you won’t often see is those same people making any change in their routines, their goals or their bodies.
Functional Fitness is Scalable to your Level of Physical Capacity
Can’t do a pushup? No problem. There are many kinds of pushups. Your physiotherapist can make your program easier or more challenging depending on your needs. Functional fitness isn’t just for elite athletes. It is therapy for the injured and adaptable for those who haven’t been working out for a while (or never).
Your physiotherapist recognizes the dangers of training to the edge of your range of motion, your physical limit or your capacity. It’s not too late to make significant changes for the better no matter your age or level of fitness.
The word “equilibrium” means a state of physical balance and a calm state of mind. At our clinics, you will find both. As you seek improvement, we’ll help you find the right balance with functional fitness.
~ Robert Chute RMT (Ret.) is the author of Do The Thing, The Last Stress-busting Book You’ll Ever Need.