benefits of exercise

What is Functional Training and Why It's the Best Thing For You To Do!

Watching my 11-year-old cousin running around the other day made me realise just how much of our fitness level we naturally lose as we get older.  Most adults just aren’t as fit as they were at age 11 when climbing the monkey bars, hanging off rope nets pretending to be the next Ninja Warrior and going non-stop all day was the norm; now we are prone to more injuries and little pains in our bodies which often occur when we exercise.

To help our clients avoid these aches and pains WAMH fitness uses Functional Training techniques as a great form of exercise in our Personal Training sessions!

Functional training attempts to mimic potential movements we do in everyday life such as squatting, twisting, reaching and jumping. It focuses on maintaining body strength and endurance which helps improve your movement ability making it safer for you to achieve your health goals.

As adults, we become busy in our daily work routines, which for some can limit us to sitting at a desk all day and we tend to restrict our bodies movements. This lack of movement becomes an issue when we try and to do intense workouts our bodies aren’t used to and can then lead to pains and injuries.

Functional training is a great form of exercise to do as it allows the body to be worked in all planes of movement such as frontal, sagittal and transverse. This allows the body to be more flexible by using core, back and posterior chain muscles.

The posterior chain is predominantly made up of the calf muscles, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, latissimus dorsi and the erector spinae muscles (see below). Training the posterior chain can benefit you in many ways, including, opening up your diaphragm by pulling your shoulders back, and keeping the joints stable, such as the knee, hips and spine. If these muscles are nice and strong, there is a decreased risk of you getting an injury during training or day-to-day activity.

Source: Anatomy Trains. Myers, T (2010)

Functional Training is a great form of exercise for those who are pregnant, injured or are training athletes but also for those of us who don’t belong to any of those categories and here is why!

  1. It implements low impact exercise

  2. Targets specific muscles which help improve balance and posture

  3. Helps with joint pain

  4. Mimics everyday life movements which makes moving in everyday life easier

  5. Allows our bodies to strengthen which helps reduce risk of injury.

These benefits of functional training will help us feel good, strong, fit and healthy as we go about our daily routine and live our lives. No matter what your fitness level or fitness goals are, functional training is an awesome form of exercise which allows us to move easier throughout the world! 

The benefits of exercise are not just physical

It is widely accepted that doing regular physical exercise can have many benefits for your physical wellbeing.  From helping you to reduce or control your weight, reducing your risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers to strengthening your bones…regular exercise is definitely something we should all be aiming for.

We read an article recently that indicated that the benefits of regular physical exercise may not only be physical.  This may not come as a surprise to many people.  In fact a lot of our clients tell us that after they exercise they feel pumped for the rest of the day!  So, safe to say there are links between your mood and physical exercise.  

The study that this article discussed took it a step further than this though and found that there are “Nine factors that contribute to the risk of dementia”.  One of the nine risk factors was physical activity or to be specific – the lack of physical activity.  According to the study not taking part in regular exercise can increase the risk of dementia by 3%.  The nine factors in total represents a 35% reduction in the risk of developing dementia.  The other 65% may be out of your control, but it is good to know that there may be something you can do to ward off this debilitating disease.