Functional training has gained increasing popularity in the fitness industry with focus on exercising and loading the body in functional movement patterns over the more traditional isolated exercises and machines. Functional movement patterns replicate normal day to day movements, loading the body in the way that it was designed to.
Naturally, exercise involves movement although a lot of people have lost the ability to move correctly. Sitting at desks in front of computers causes muscle imbalances, poor posture, and, subsequently, bad movement patterns during exercise. As a result, you won’t get as much out of your workouts and injury becomes a common factor. Functional exercises are designed to move the body in a range of different angles and planes of movement. Functional training bases many exercises on the fundamentals such as run, jump, climb, crawl, twist, shift, push and pull.
Humans are made up of bones, muscles, connective tissue, nervous system and joints. With true functional movement, the body must adapt to a wide range of different forces, loads and challenges to make it fluid in motion. This takes both muscular strength andthought processing in the brain to co-ordinate and control this strength. Learning a new skill activates large areas of the brain that might be dormant in everyday life. Neuroscientists have shown that the enzymes released in the brain while learning a new skill, improves the function and processing power of the brain.
The reality of being time poor makes it important to get the most out of your exercise routines. Therefore doing full body workouts that challenge your brain is a benefit of functional training.Get into some form of functional exercise even for a couple of hours a week, put down your smart phone, step away from the computer and avoid the mundane machines and isolated exercises most people are still doing. One quick tip would be to master some body weight exercises and then add resistance to these movements including Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Suspension Trainers (TRX) and more. Your local sports physiotherapist can assist you when designing a quick and simple exercise routine, aimed at improving performance, whilst reducing the injury risk.
Movement based therapies are now widely accepted as the biggest healers. As with all forms of exercise, make sure with any training you avoid pain but use discomfort, load or stress, in controlled levels, as a gauge to know the body is working to its full potential, the way it’s designed to. Movement is medicine. Get out there and get moving!