Not all exercises are built the same, and that’s one of the basics of functional fitness. Instead of making your rounds on the bench press, the seated rowing machine and the dumbbells, functional fitness suggests that we would get more benefit by pursuing an exercise routine that takes into account the actions and activities that we do most. This may already be standard practice for people like athletes or dancers, but it doesn’t have to be exclusive to these parties.
You may not make a living as a professional basketball player or a ballet dancer, but odds are there are certain movements or actions that you perform more often than others, and you should keep these actions in mind when developing an exercise routine. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the idea of functional fitness and how a physical therapist can help design an exercise routine tailored to your lifestyle.
Functional Fitness Basics
Every person is different, and your exercise routine should be as well. Really take stock of the actions you perform most at your job or around the house, and work to develop an exercise routine that helps you strengthen the muscles and tissues you’ll use most during these activities. If you’re on your feet at work all day, improving your gait and your balance can make life a little easier. If you’re constantly lifting heavy boxes or performing repetitive arm motions on the assembly line, developing your core muscles and improving your shoulder mobility will be helpful. Functional fitness relies on your ability to self assess the movements and motions that are most important in your life, and working to develop an exercise routine that strengthens the areas you rely on most.
Really take the time to think about the movements you perform most. Oftentimes you can hone in on certain movements that are more common throughout your day, like:
If you’re struggling to figure out which movements you perform most throughout the day, or you’ve identified which movements are important but you’re finding it difficult to develop an exercise routine that improves the involved body systems, you can reach out to a physical therapist for assistance. Activity-specific physical therapy is something that we consider with every patient that comes into our clinic. It’s not enough to just help you overcome an injury. We need to know that your body is strong enough to perform all the actions you’ll be doing on a regular basis. Whether that involves some sport-specific exercises for soccer players or strengthening the upper bodies of construction workers that regularly lift and control heavy equipment, we’ll design a physical therapy or exercise routine that is right for you.
If you need help making your exercise routine more functional for your daily life, or you want to talk with a professional in order to identify your individual strengths and deficits, the team at OrthoRehab Specialists would be more than happy to help. We want to help restore the most physical function as possible, whether that is through a PT routine following an injury or surgery, or in the form of an exercise or off-season training program to target the movements you’ll perform most. For more information on how we can help, or to book your first session with our team, give us a call today at (612) 339-2041.