Functional fitness simulates customary daily accomplishments and can be incorporated into standard exercises to help you better manage everyday activities.
Although it can coexist with standard exercises, it has a different dedication. Older adults benefit from functional fitness because falls are a common cause of injury for that population. Functional fitness helps improve muscle tone, and it makes individuals more agile, which improves equilibrium. This type of exercise reduces injuries and allows patients to convalesce more quickly.
Why it is Important
Seniors, who have thinning bones due to osteoporosis, are at greater risk because a minor fall can cause a broken bone. Lack of exercise may weaken bones even more, making it more difficult to heal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that falls are the number-one cause of injuries in elderly people.
To live your best life as you age, fitness needs to be a priority. Standard fitness programs do not go far enough to ensure that you can perform daily tasks effortlessly. Learning how to lunge, squat, push and pull may help you lead a more productive life by strengthening muscles, which will help provide the support you need. The goal is to become stronger so that you can perform simple tasks, such as walking upstairs without having to stop and catch your breath or vacuuming the floor without straining your back.
At-Home Exercises for Functional Fitness
We have put together a list of easy at-home exercises that you can try to incorporate into your day for functional fitness:
- Squats – Hold a dumbbell in each hand while standing with feet apart. Bend knees and lower yourself into a squat. Squeeze glutes and repeat for the number of reps that is comfortable.
- Planks – To strengthen the core, place forearms on the floor with shoulders directly aligned over them and legs extended behind. Hold this position for as long as possible.
- Lunges – With feet together and hands on hips, step out about two feet. Then lunge forward, pushing your glutes back, and bend the right knee to a 90 degree angle. Retract to the original stance with feet together, change sides and repeat with the alternate leg.
As you age, it becomes more and more important to remain physically fit in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To obtain the maximum benefit from exercises designed to target specific parts of the body, older adults should work on areas that will assist them in improving heart health, core strength and balance. If they do these successfully, seniors will remain more active as they age. Not only does targeted exercise help seniors reduce the risk of certain diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, but it may also help ease the pain of arthritis.
Some of the most effective exercises are the following:
- Walking: Good for balance, endurance and suppleness.
- Climbing Stairs: Good for the heart, hips, joints and legs.
- Chair Squats: Stand in front of a chair. Begin to sit normally, but before your bottom hits the seat, stand up again. Repeat.
- Wall Push-Ups: Standing up straight, with palms placed on the wall at less than arm length, bend your elbows and incline toward the wall. Then push away from the wall. Repeat.
Some of the added benefits are emotive ones, especially if you are getting out of the house and exercising with others. The benefit s may include increasing confidence in your ability to continue daily pursuits, social interaction with people of like minds, feelings of independence so that you feel more in control of changing situations and mental acuteness.
Aging well is the goal of most elderly people. No one likes the idea of being dependent on others to take care of basic needs or to have others make simple decisions for them. Staying active is a major strategy to help prevent these types of circumstances. Many 55-plus communities have numerous classes and activities that cater to the physical and mental health of seniors. Even if you are not a part of such a community, do not allow yourself to sit and stagnate. Start doing something, even if it is a walk around the block. Every little bit helps. Get up, get out and, above all, keep moving.