Get into functional fitness with these 6 simple exercises

Integrating fitness into your daily life can make a huge difference in how well you function during the day
4 min
There’s no question that integrating fitness into your daily life can make a huge difference in how well you function during the day and you don’t need to aspire to run triathlons to see benefits. That’s where 'functional fitness' comes in.

What is 'functional fitness'?
You may have heard of this term or perhaps even read about it on our blog before. Surprisingly, though, functional fitness is still an oft-misunderstood approach to working out.

Functional fitness is the pursuit of a 'functional' body that makes the tasks you need to accomplish easier. For most of us, this means building a body that’s better at doing the things we do every day: running errands, going to work, climbing stairs, carrying groceries and so on.

By using simple exercises that target multiple muscle groups and joints you can build a body better suited to help you function, reducing strain, stress and potential for injury.

The exercises
Now that you know a little more about functional fitness, how do you begin to work it into your exercise routines? Consider how you use your body during the average day and then work any or all of the following exercises into your routine.

Squats are extremely effective at targeting multiple areas of your lower body and multiple joints, particularly when you start adding additional weight by using a medicine ball or kettlebell.

Sitting at your desk, bending over, and carrying weight will all take less of a toll on your body with a workout routine that includes squats.

Hip openers
Work in an office? You’re likely spending a ton of time sitting, and that can be really hard on your hips.

From a push-up position, step forward bringing one of your legs up to where your hands are. Then, reach the same side arm towards the sky and take a deep breath before lowering your elbow as close as you can to the floor.

Single-leg rows
A strong back will improve how you feel overall, as everything from standing and walking to lying down is made more comfortable when your back is in good shape.

Single-leg rows are a great way to build up your back. With dumbbells in either hand, bend your knees and lean forward. Extend your arms out in front of you and balance on one leg. Then proceed to pull your arms back towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together with your back flat.

Russian twists
Another great exercise that relies on just a single weight and your body is the Russian twist. Sit on the ground with your knees bent towards your chest and your feet lifted off the floor slightly. Hold a dumbbell, medicine ball or plate weight (or even just clasp your hands together) in front of your chest and rotate your arms and torso as one to either side before holding the position.

Russian twists will do wonders for your abs, and all of the daily activities that involve your core will benefit from this exercise, including walking, sitting and standing.

Turkish get ups
With some of the basics addressed, you can begin to work more elaborate exercises into your routine, and Turkish get ups are one of best.

Lie down on the ground and lift a kettlebell or dumbbell above you with one hand. Proceed to rise to your feet, starting one leg bent and pushing you upward, while keeping your arm straight and the weight in hand above your body.

When it comes to targeting multiple groups of muscles, there are few exercises as effective as burpees, which combines a push-up, jump, and squat into one seamless movement. Functionally, the burpee targets a number of muscle groups:
    • The push-up engages your chest (pectorals), shoulders (deltoids), and arms (triceps).
    • The jump engages your hips (flexors), thighs (quadriceps), calves (hamstrings), and abs.
    • The squat engages your knees, thighs (quadriceps), calves (hamstrings), lower back (erector spinae), and butt (gluteus maximums).
The everyday benefits here are huge. Standing and walking, lifting objects, climbing stairs – all of these get easier by adding burpees to your routine.

The benefits
Functional fitness routines include some classic exercises and can be performed in the gym, at home, or even on the road with basic aides like kettle bells or medicine balls.

An effective way to help build a body that will allow you to live a better life.

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