“Nearly 80 percent of adult Americans do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The U.S. government recommends adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week or 1.25 hours of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both. However, the CDC reports that “nearly 80% of adult Americans do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week.” It would seem many people may consider exercise to be a chore and thus, fail to meet the government’s weekly recommendations. Perhaps, if adult Americans shifted their focus toward functional exercises which would benefit their everyday activities, they would be more inclined to exercise each week.
What is functional fitness?
The philosophy behind functional fitness is to provide a practical way to train your muscles to excel at functional everyday activities in a safe and efficient manner. Functional exercise will make it easier to perform everyday tasks, like lifting heavy boxes at work, carrying heavy objects, or simply carrying in the groceries at home.
As defined by the Mayo Clinic, “functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.” For example, instead of moving only the knees, a functional exercise may involve the knees, spine, hips, ankles, and shoulders. Instead of focusing on one part of the body, this type of exercise mimics real-life, every day activities.
The risk of injury from falling, lifting heavy objects, or doing yardwork decreases when your strength, balance, and agility improves. Safety considerations are important because you don’t want to hurt yourself while improving your fitness level. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine if you have a medical condition. If you are unsure of how to use a piece of equipment or how to do an exercise, it’s always a good idea to consult a certified fitness instructor so she/he can demonstrate technique and give you feedback on your form.
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