Why do we excercise? Weight loss, getting fit, or training for a sport come to mind. But what about training for everyday life?
I follow trainer Kira Stokes on social media. She was asked about what she is training for (she’s very fit!) and her response was simple- for life. That has really stuck with me. We spend so much time training or eating better for something- but what about a simpler reason- to feel our best and in balance everyday? Strengthening ourselves with functional movement excercises can help.
The Mayo Clinic defines functional movement as exercises that “train your muscles to do everyday activities safely and efficiently”. These movements strengthen the muscles we use every day to carry groceries, lift laundry, go up and down stairs, pick things up off the ground, get up if we fall and the list goes on. Traditional strength training focuses on targeted groups of muscles. Strength and good balance are especially important as we age. Doing regular functional strength training can prevent injury and improve quality of life.
A few examples of exercises are standing rows, squats, getting up and down from chair and/or ground, and planks. Many workouts include these movements but there are also workout outs specifically for “functional movement”. The Apple watch even has a workout setting for functional movement.
Regular physical activity and movement is critical to overall good health. It improves overall health and prevents chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and depression.
General excercise guidelines for adults are:
- 2 ½ hours of moderate intensity (like walking)
- 1 ¼ hours a week of vigorous intensity (aerobic, sweat inducing, can be combined with moderate)
- strength training (like functional movement exercises)
It may sound like a lot but by breaking up workouts into shorter sessions spread throughout the week it is more manageable. And, set small goals to work towards.
Here’s an article that describes easy functional exercises to do at home:
And with any exercise or eating program, ask your doctor if it is right for you.