What is the best type of exercise you can do for your health? The answer seems to change every week. Lately, many fitness enthusiasts and influencers have been talking about the importance of “functional fitness”—especially for people in their 20s and 30s who want to stay mobile and ready for anything as they age.
Functional fitness actually went in and out of ten best global fitness trends since 2016. Although there are quite a few posts and videos online telling people what the best functional fitness exercises are, in reality many (or even most) of the exercises could be done functionally.
What is more important is the outcome of the exercise. If it results in you becoming as physically fit and ready as possible for anything in life—whether it’s moving furniture, climbing a mountain, or running after a child—it can be considered functional fitness.
When you think about this outcome, you can see why it is difficult to determine a specific list of movements or exercises that count as functional fitness. Because anything that builds any form of fitness that helps you live your life can be considered “functional” – including strength, cardio, agility and flexibility.
This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about the problems that affect us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of starting a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or simply making friends as an adult. The articles in this series explore the questions and provide answers as we move through this turbulent period of life.
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So you can lift weights to build strength, ride a bike to build cardio, do sprints to build agility and do calisthenics to build flexibility. Or, you can combine all of these exercises into one workout by doing labeled functional fitness exercise programs such as CrossFit(R), Hyrox gold F45.
Improvement all forms of physical movement that’s why many have said that functional fitness exercise programs are the best exercise you can do. Encouraging your overall condition it can also potentially lead you to become more physically fit and independent age.
Me I don’t have much research about the specific benefits of functional fitness compared to other sports as it is still a fairly new field. But we can get an idea of the benefits it can have by looking at the effect combining different types of exercises can have versus doing those exercises alone.
Strength training, for example, helps build strength in your muscles, bones and connective tissue. This can help you maintain your ability to move independently in old age.
Cardio (or “conditioning”), on the other hand, can have a greater effect on cardiovascular and respiratory systemwhich can make us more resistant to disease.
Thus, both have different, but also common advantages, which is why it is often considered important to include both in your weekly exercise routine. This is one reason why functional fitness workouts that incorporate both can be beneficial.
But if functional fitness training programs aren’t your thing, a number of other sports and activities could help you become functionally fit.
Take rugby, for example. These players train to be strong, but also fast, agile and have the endurance to play for 80 minutes. Gold Hockey, where players once again have to be fast, strong and able to maintain a high intensity during the game. Gold obstacle raceswhere people run long distances – using strength, power, skill and agility to climb over obstacles in their path.
Another way you can build your strength, agility, balance and other aspects of functional fitness is by combining different sports and exercises. For example, you can choose to run, but also do gymnastics a couple of days a week. Or maybe do strength training during the week and play football on weekends.
So while functional fitness exercise programs are one way to incorporate strength, conditioning and other physical skills into your training, they are not the only way. Combining many different types of exercise into your regular exercise regimen can also help you achieve the benefits of functional fitness. And since we all have different genetics, bodies, lifestyles, and exercise preferences, the type of exercise that best helps you achieve functional fitness can vary from person to person.
The biggest improvements in health and fitness will usually come from consistent exercise. So at the end of the day, doing exercises that you enjoy and that fit into your daily routine probably will have the greatest benefit.