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Regular exercise can boost functional fitness

Back strengthening exercises such as bent-over rows, hyperextensions and dead lifts will maintain a strong and fit back that can carry heavier loads  

What is functional fitness?

It translates into being capable of fulfilling your daily activities without causing injury to the self. In my opinion, it’s not only of prime importance to your life! After all, what’s the point of being fit if you’re not healthy and injury-free?

How do you know if you’re functionally fit?

A very large part of general, overall fitness must necessarily include functional training. You need to do some work if you have trouble doing simple things such as sitting and rising up from the floor; climbing a flight of stairs; a tennis or golf swing; craning your neck to look over your shoulder; or even lifting something slightly heavy.

Plus, waking up with a neck ache often or not being able to reach your back while bathing also spells trouble.

Locomotor skills

Of course, a person may injure himself if he/she is not particular about body movements. Kinesiology is the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement.

How one walks, manages movement or locomotors has a great impact on the human body’s link or chain system. For instance, when lifting something heavy, one must always transfer the load onto the legs by bending them. Never lift with the legs straight. It invariably puts a lot of negative pressure on the back. If you’ve injured yourself just getting out of bed, it’s more to do with the ‘how’ of it rather than being functionally fit.

Do not sit up straight directly from a lying position. The right way to do it is to bend your knees, turn to your side and then sit up on the side of the bed while lowering your legs on to the floor.

Functional fitness exercises

Many regular exercises constitute and promote functional fitness.

1. The squat conditions the muscles of the lower body, particularly the quadriceps group in the front of the thighs. These muscles help one to sit down, stand up, and walk up and down the stairs.

2. Spinal mobility exercises in Pilates using Reformers (studio equipment) help to increase spinal flexibility.

These are particularly important for racket players and for any activities that require a spinal twist, for instance, looking over your shoulder or craning your neck.

3. Back strengthening exercises such as bent-over rows, hyperextensions and dead lifts will maintain a strong and fit back that can carry heavier loads.

4. Front and side neck press exercises will keep the muscles of the neck strong and flexible so a crick in the neck when waking up won’t be a health hazard.

5. Simple calf raising exercises will keep the calves and ankles strong.

This is more effective if one does them using a step where the heels can dip down low before rising up onto the toes again. If one is prone to spraining their ankles, these exercises will go a long way in keeping one functionally fit. However, these exercises are best done post recovery and not during an active stage of the injury.

6. Forearm and wrist curls, and their variations, will keep the forearms and wrists strong.

7. Upper body stretches will increase the reach of your hands to all parts of the back.

Relish being functionally fit so that you don’t suffer cricks and pains.

Then, your daily chores won’t turn into health hazards.

(The writer is a fitness and wellness expert)



You need to work out if you have trouble sitting and getting up from the floor or taking stairs




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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 2:23:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/entertainment/regular-exercise-can-boost-functional-fitness/article7954281.ece

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