Functional Fitness attempts to adapt or develop exercises which allow individuals to perform the activities of daily life more easily and without injuries. One of the keys here is without injuries. As we evolve we are becoming a more and more stationary society. We go from sitting at our desk, sitting at lunch, back to the desk and finally home to sit on the couch and watch Netflix. Unfortunately this is what our day looks like 5 days a week! Then if we are being honest we spend Saturday scrambling to get our lives together so we can spend Sunday “recharging” aka binge watching Netflix.
This sedentary lifestyle is affecting our entire body but the most obvious effect is our posture. The issue is how our posture effects our day to day activities, workouts, and problems with pain. We are becoming hunched over and a lot of our muscles dormant due to lack of activity. “But I work out 4 days a week so this isn’t for me.” Do you have knee pain? Back pain? Neck or shoulder pain? Then your workouts may not be as effective as you think. You may be working out but are you respecting your bodies’ mechanics by integrating multiple muscles into an exercise the way we do in day to day life? Can you name one movement or daily function that only uses one muscle in your body? I can’t. Picking up a baby: biceps, core, hamstrings, back, glutes, to name a few. Taking a shower: biceps (washing your hair), core stabilizes you, hamstrings if you are bending over to shave. I mean you are always activating multiple muscle connections to do a daily task. The question is are your muscle connections functional or dysfunctional? Only doing isolated movement isn’t respecting your bodies mechanics. You could be feeding your dysfunctions instead of fixing them.
Fitness of the future won’t be concerned with how much weight you can lift or how big your arms are, true fitness will help improve people’s day to day living and allow their body to do whatever they need it to do without any restriction. The current fitness trend of “looking good” is not sustainable and can end up doing more harm than good on our bodies in the long run. At the rate we are going, heavy squats can lead to sitting in a wheel chair when you’ve reached your 50’s and 60’s, but if we respect our body mechanics then you’ll be walking well into your 80’s and 90’s. The tough question you have to ask yourself is, if your current fitness regimen is improving your life or hampering your day to day function?