As a functional aging specialist, I am frequently asked ‘What exactly IS functional training?” The answer is, it depends. The phrase Functional Training is getting tossed around a lot lately. And in general, it refers to any exercise that translates to real life. Something that directly improves our ability to do the movements we need and want to do in our daily life. This can be a bit vague because what is “functional” will be different for everybody.
Although, when you work with older adults, as I do, it can quickly become very specific.
- balance training to lessen fall risk,
- core stability to improve or avoid back pain when bending and reaching,
- lower body strength for climbing stairs or getting up from a chair with ease,
- neck and shoulder mobility to be able to look over ones’ shoulder when driving,
- upper body strength for carrying groceries and pulling open doors,
- upper back and shoulder mobility for putting clean dishes up in the cupboard.
These actions are easy to take for granted unless you can no longer do them. Then you realize how the ability to do these simple tasks can be the difference between remaining independent well into your golden years or needing to transition to assisted living because you’re unable to keep up with the activities of daily living ( ADL).
When a new client comes to 2BFIT I ask what types of things they struggle with and what they want to accomplish, and, time and time again I hear a variation of the same few things. Getting up from the floor, balance, and mobility, carrying heavy things.
In designing a functional training program specificity is the key. The body will adapt to the stimulus provided. It will get stronger and more capable at the specific things you train it to do.
Many older adults who come to 2Bfit primarily need stability, mobility and strength to continue to thrive.
- Have grandkids? Improving mobility and strength will make getting down and up from the floor child’s play.
- Have pets at home? Building upper body strength will make carrying a bag of dog or cat food a breeze.
- Want to improve your tennis or golf swing? Increasing rotational mobility, power and core strength will enable you to hit the ball harder and further.
- Improving lower body strength and aerobic capacity will ensure climbing stairs is effortless.
- Need to CARRY something up those stairs? With stability, balance, and strength you can be sure-footed all the way to the top.
- Love Gardening? Get ready for bending reaching pulling squatting…. and enjoy a bounty of blooms.
The list can go on because ‘functional’ will mean different things to different people.
So the question comes down to; What do YOU need to improve to be your best?……..THAT’S what ‘Functional Training’ is……for you.
If you are ready for targeted training to help makes day to day activities easier, improve bone density, reduce the risk of falls and injury and drastically improve your quality of life, … contact 2Bfit now to learn how Functional Training will help make your life more enjoyable.