All about Functional Fitness What, Why, and How to do?
Written by: Prajita Shrestha
Photos by Bibek Puri
Post a bone fracture, a typical adult needs to wear a cast for about six to eight weeks, and a few weeks feel no less than a year. In spite of making movements to get a quick recovery, s/he waits until the last week to get rid of it. And when the cast is finally taken off, s/he recklessly starts enjoying the freedom.
But is this the right thing to do? – Not at all. This is when Functional fitness comes into play.
With its roots reaching up to traditional physiotherapy, functional fitness is one of the best ways to retain and strengthen bones after fractures. This fitness type aims at retraining the fractured bones to resume its normal movement patterns and easily adopt its earlier range of motions.
To achieve this goal, functional fitness mimics comprehensive everyday movement patterns and poses needed in real life situations. The type of exercises within functional fitness, however, is very specific to the person’s health demands and the nature of movements the person has to make based on his lifestyle. Thus, the set of functional fitness exercises varies person by person.
However, there are some basic functional fitness exercises which include squats, deadlifts, burpees, push-ups, and pull-ups that are common for most of the people. These exercises work on our day-to-day bone functionalities in order to keep our bones and ligaments in optimum condition even after the bone disintegration, that too with only about half an hour of our daily time commitment for exercise.
The benefits of this fitness plan, however, include much more than the mere rehabilitation of fractured bones and dislocated joints. If a person regularly practices this form of exercise, his mobility, balance, and agility increase while his probability of getting injured decreases.
“IF A PERSON REGULARLY PRACTICES EXERCISES OF FUNCTIONAL FITNESS, HIS/HER MOBILITY, BALANCE, AND AGILITY INCREASE WHILE HIS/HER PROBABILITY OF GETTING INJURED DECREASES.” —SUMIT RANA
Additionally, one of the most notable advantages of functional fitness is its ability to work on more than one joint or bone or muscle group simultaneously, which enhances the coordination and synergy of several parts within our body. Having our whole body work out, instead of individually working on isolated mobility patterns saves us a considerable amount of time.
The other notable feature of functional fitness is the fact that this fitness form doesn’t require heavyweight supplements. Needless to say, the person’s body weight is solely being utilised throughout the exercise. Besides, the person saves himself some money, which would otherwise have been spent on buying weight equipment like dumbbells.
Furthermore, sportsperson use the derivatives of this fitness regime to increase the mobility and muscle strength. Exercises like tire flips, hammer slams, squat jumps, and jumping lunges boost the power level of an athlete to give best performances.
Nevertheless, functional fitness isn’t an easy cup of tea. One needs dedication to details of this fitness plan to get best results. Moreover, one needs to be sure that s/he is doing the exercises in the correct way so as not to get injured during the course of the exercise routine.
The best way to go about this routine is to first identify your goal through a thorough assessment of one’s problems. Once you have a clear aim, you need to precisely convey your medical history and set-goals to your instructor. Then, once the instructor comes up with a personalized set of exercises for you—in addition to the basic set of functional fitness exercises—you should honestly hold on to your exercise plan. And once you feel ready for a tougher routine, you can add a few more exercises to get the finest results for your body.
One of the concerns that come up when planning a functional fitness regime, though, is that we, Nepalis, try saving ourselves some pennies by avoiding consulting a professional instructor. However, since not every exercise is for everyone, it is imperative to carry out the exercises with expert guidance, or else we might hamper our health in the long run.
In a nutshell, the bottom line of functional fitness—like every other fitness plan—is to regularly do exercises in the correct way. And in no time, will we have the desired effects on our health and body.
Based on an interview with Sumit Rana, a trainer at The Pump, Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur.