Up to 70% of auto accidents happen within 10 miles of your home because you’re more likely to tune out and not pay attention to your surroundings if they’re familiar. So, you shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that most sprains, strains, bruises and bumps occur while you’re just naturally moving through your day. The movements are so familiar that you don’t focus on good form. Explaining to co-workers that the wrapped ankle or sling that will accessorize every outfit for the next six weeks is due to losing your balance when you tripped over your dog can be embarrassing. It might be impressive when you take a tumble while hiking Mount Kilamanjaro, but there are no bragging rights when you trip just trying to feed Sparky.
Focusing on functional fitness – strength training for everyday activities – prepares your muscles for how you naturally move throughout your day and it’s especially effective because multiple muscles are engaged in each movement. This “Integrate Don’t Isolate” method trains your body to perform functionally… the way nature intended. Squatting down to reach a low shelf, leaning sideways to hug your grandkids or pushing and pulling a lawnmower might all be part of your day. A functional integration workout recruits multiple muscle groups and trains them to work as a team in ways that mirror normal movement to keep you active and energetic.
Your body works best when everything works together. Maintaining balance is especially challenging if some muscles are weaker than others. Your body is only as strong as its weakest link. Think about a baby as she’s learning to walk. She’s wobbly and off-balance because her little muscles are weak. Keeping your muscles healthy and strong to prevent injury is a lifelong job, even when you think you’ve got movement down pat.
Efficiency is the name of the game with integrated training. A bicep curl is easy because you’re isolating and training just that muscle. In nearly the same amount of time you could combine a bicep curl with a squat and overhead press – all common daily movements, by the way. If you were keeping count, that’s upper and lower body muscles along with core work. Even better, when multiple muscles are engaged, you’re also increasing your heart rate, burning more calories and heating up your metabolism. Functional movement gives you a bigger return on fitness investment.
Since so many muscles are part of the action, functional movement workouts can be transformative, creating a sculpted physique. It’s like personalized cross-training for real life. Whether you’re a beginner or you have an at-home fitness studio, focusing on integrative movements benefits everybody. Improving coordination, balance and mobility, and preventing injury is important to amateurs and pros alike.
When strong muscles work with joints, tendons and ligaments, the result is a fluidity that defies age. In less time than what you might already be investing into a fitness routine, a functional integration workout can ease the aches and pains you thought were a permanent part of your life. Try this workout to start moving more easily every minute of the day.