Daily Functional Fitness
Long ago I decided that daily Functional Fitness was going to be the way for me to go if I was to exercise and stay in any kind of shape at all. This past year I have adjusted my diet to include a lot more whole foods and to use functional fitness as my exercise program. As a side effect and without effort on my part other than the above, I have dropped 51 pounds that needed to go. When I had my annual physical the doctor was very excited because all the labs showed that I am healthier this year than I was last year at this time. I have more pounds to drop (the curse of being a chef) and I plan to share with you what I do so perhaps if you want to drop a few pounds or just want to add a little Daily Functional fitness to your life, you will join me.
Functional fitness can be thought of as working out for “real-life” situations. You prepare your body to allow you to do the normal things that you do, day in and day out. This is the reason that most people want to be fit in the first place. Not everyone wants to exercise so they can run marathons and compete in weightlifting tournaments. Most people just want to be strong and healthy enough to live their life and go about their daily routine.
The Mayo Clinic, a globally recognized health authority, defines functional fitness as:
“Exercises that train your muscles to work together and
prepare them for daily tasks by stimulating 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.”
You will see that the Mayo Clinic mentions core stability. Your core group of muscles
include several muscle groups. Their number one job is to protect your spine. They are also vital for proper balance and mobility. Functional fitness exercises often target your core, since a healthy core is so important for performing everyday tasks.
Is Functional Fitness Right for You?
Why do you want to be stronger and healthier? Think about your answers to that question. If you live to exercise, functional fitness is probably not for you. However, if you just want to become fit so you can effortlessly play with your kids or grandchildren, unload your groceries or enjoy a walk with a friend without getting tired and worn down, functional fitness is ideally suited to your goals.
A simple squat is an example of a functional exercise that works multiple muscle groups. It also mimics daily movements that you make, such as getting out of a chair or squatting down to pick something up off of the floor. Lunges, standing bicep curls and simple step-ups with weights are a few other types of functional exercises. Kettle bells and dumbbells can be used to accentuate your functional exercise routine, but are not required.
Because we may all be at different points in our exercise program from none at all to very advanced we might need a guide to help us add Daily Functional Fitness to our lifestyle. If you have the money and time, you can visit the Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona for a week of training. If not you can grab a book and start at home. A book for functional fitness for all ages is Prime for life by the physical therapist of Canyon ranch, Randy Raugh is one that I enjoy. Of course there are many others to choose from but this is a start. Just click on the picture to get more information about this and other books about Functional fitness.
Body weight exercises which require no weights are excellent examples of functional
exercises. Walking is perhaps my favorite form of Daily Functional Fitness because I can increase and decrease the speed I am walking to give my heart a workout while enjoying the time spent watching wildlife interact with nature. I bought the fitbit 2 and set my goals and it helps me a lot to reach them daily
Whatever you choose, join me on the journey to lose a few pounds this year while building a file of great whole food recipes for health and long life. And of course, always check with your health care adviser before making any changes to your lifestyle.
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