What is Functional fitness? - EnerJ

What is Functional fitness?

What is Functional fitness?

Our bodies are made to walk, run, climb, crawl, lift, carry, bend, squat, lunge and twist.  Functional fitness exercises are designed to train and develop your muscles to help you do everyday activities more efficiently and safely; like picking up something heavy off the ground or playing a game of soccer with your kids.

Functional exercises tend to use multiple joints and numerous muscles groups working the upper and lower body at the same time. For example, a forward lunge is a functional exercise that helps you get up off the ground, or when you are vaccuming. It uses the hip, knee and ankle joints, while working our lower body muscles and abdominal core muscles.

We are built to move forwards, backwards, up and down, and side-to-side. So we shouldn’t limit our workouts to a single plane of motion.  So instead of just front lunges, try reverse lunges with an overhead reach or a reaching side lunge and for an added bonus with a rotational twist to keep the spine healthy and help develop core strength.

Benefits of functional fitness

-Challenges balance and coordination while simultaneously improving strength and range of motion all while working on core stability.

-Combining multiple muscle groups helps you get more work done in less time, which means you see results faster.

-Boosts cardiovascular conditioning; while performing a traditionally anaerobic strength exercise, you also get an aerobic effect because your heart has to shuttle blood between the upper and lower body.

As you add more functional exercises to your workout, you should see improvements in your ability to perform your everyday activities, have more fun in doing your favorite sports and improve your overall quality of life.


Jessica Humphries is a certified natural trainer in functional fitness, yoga instructor 200hr Juna Yoga (Yoga Alliance Certified), healthy lifestyle coach and the designer of year-round nature fitness training programs. She graduated from McGill University with a BEd in physical education and kinesiology. The EnerJ FIT outdoor fitness approach concentrates on improving your functional movement habits all while enjoying the benefits of being in nature.

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