International Strength and Conditioning Coach and Chōsen Experiences Expert Taylor Rank explains what functional fitness is and how you can use it to improve your “real-life fitness level”.
This article is contributed by our partners at Chōsen Experiences. Read below for a special offer!
What is functional fitness?
Functional fitness is not a new idea, but with the growing popularity of CrossFit, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and boot camps, the term is getting bandied about more than ever. Basically, functional fitness is the act of performing any “functional movements” (aka movements that can be used in real-world situations).
Why is it important?
For most people, exercise isn’t just about maintaining health or keeping up physical appearance; it’s also about improving their quality of life and enhancing the efficiency with which we perform daily tasks.
That’s why the concept of functional fitness is so important!
Functional fitness is all about performing varied exercise movements that can be applied in real-world situations. So the end result is your body at its naturally highest fitness level and is able to excel in everyday situations, be it lifting up a heavy object, running up some stairs or going for a mountain trek.
What exercises should you do to improve your everyday fitness level?
Squats are a great functional exercise because they replicate one of the most common movements we make in our daily lives – sitting down and getting up out of a chair.
Sprinting engages your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and calves – all of which we also use when we walk or jog – but repeated sprint training works out these muscles more intensely, so you’ll see greater benefits. However, intense workouts can increase the risk of injury, so make sure your sprinting technique is sound before committing to 3-4 sessions per week.
Proper strength training has lots of benefits, from improving bone density to reinforcing your tendons and connective tissue to building lean muscles. It gets them used to working under pressure so picking up heavy bags of shopping, moving furniture or lifting something overhead becomes a simple task.
Climbing stairs is one of those unavoidable everyday activities that can often leave us puffing, and it’s a sure way of telling how fit someone really is. That’s because climbing stairs engages lots of different parts of your body; it really is a whole body workout. Include stair climbs in your exercise routine and you’ll be improving your cardiovascular fitness by getting your heart rate up, strengthening your core muscles and toning your leg muscles, all while burning maximum calories.
Core stability exercises
Core stability exercises – like bridging, crunches and side holds – builds and strengthens the muscles around your core, including your back, abdomen and pelvis. Your core supports all the other parts of your body, and when it isn’t strong enough problems like chronic back pain, bad posture and poor balance can result.
But remember, variation is key…
To really optimise your real life fitness level, you need to perform a diverse range of functional movements in varied intensities and for different periods of time. Running the same route each day will improve your fitness, but there will come a time where your body, muscles and fitness level are no longer challenged. Be sure to switch up your exercise routine when this happens for maximum results.
Chōsen Experiences create small group transformative travel experiences that combine wellness coaching and pro-athlete fitness training with adventure activities and expert workshops. Each 7-day Chōsen Bali retreat is an active vacation designed to challenge and stimulate participants to optimize their mental and physical performance. These are holistic wellness holidays taken to a whole new level.
Taylor Rank is an international Strength and Conditioning coach and one of the Chōsen experts who helps design each transformational retreat week. He is leading Chōsen’s fitness and nutrition program The Mindful Athlete from 17-23 June.
*Terms and conditions apply: offer valid for bookings made by 31 July 2017 and is subject to availability and restrictions.