Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
NOW that we are one month into the New Year, our new fitness plans, and New Year resolutions I want to address the term “habit” with you.
You are more likely to continue something if you make it a habit, and exercising daily, no matter how light or relaxing it may be, can prove ok for you and your overall health and wellness. So, all you have to do now is make it your habit. And here is some tips and advice to help you.
Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of exercise on a daily basis, and how it helps us do our daily activities with ease. When I say exercise, I don’t mean slogging it out in the gym every day, I mean maybe walking during lunch, jogging around the block after work or simply playing in the garden with the kids for 30 minutes.
‘Functional Training exercises or movements are those that mimic or simulate those movements we carry out on day to day basis, be it at home or in work.’
Functional Training, although sounds super serious and elite, it is simply a type of training or exercises that involves training the body for the activities performed daily like bending, twisting, walking up the stairs. It involves the use of numerous muscles and joints in the body to improve strength, movement and balance. Simple, but necessary.
As you can imagine, functional training is very important in our lives. We need to incorporate it into our exercise routines, and if you are not exercising, this is your push to start. This week I am going to explain functional fitness to you and give you a workout to try at home, or in the gym.
Functional Training comes initially from the rehabilitation side of exercise, exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist or sports massage therapist. The exercises or movements are those that mimic or simulate those movements we carry out on day to day basis, be it at home or in work. For example if a person’s job involves a lot of heavy lifting and manual handling, then exercises involving lifting heavier weights will aid this person on a day to day basis. Functional Training allows for adaptations (to make easier) and progressions (to make harder) so each individual can benefit from it. Another advantage of Functional Training is the prevention of injury, and who wants to be injured? When you are training hard or work in a physically strenuous job, injuries such as back and shoulder injuries are very common.
Of your current exercising or playing sports the benefits of Functional Training are endless, from increasing balance and joint stability to injury prevention.
When incorporating Functional Training into your gym programme you need to remember the following; associate the exercises with the job, or day to day life you lead. It is an individualised way to exercise, so what suits you, may not suit your sister or your friend. Make sure you progress your Functional Training to benefit from it and get better. Insure movements are varied to avoid injury and do it frequently.
Here are some common Functional Training exercises you can try at home to help you with basic movements such as lifting the kids, climbing the stairs and a keeping strong posture.
Exercise: Squat with something in your hands: this is a great exercise to strengthen the body for lifting the kids, shopping, cleaning etc.
Equipment: Chair to help you squat deeply, something to hold weighing no more than 2kg.
To Do: Stand with your feet wide, squat down, moving your rear back and keeping your knees over your ankles, keeping your head up and back straight (don’t hunch). Return to a start position and repeat!
Exercise: Stair climb with a bicep curl: this is great for keeping your strength up for climbing stairs daily either at home or in work.
Equipment: Dumbells, light 2-3kg.
To Do: Stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs holding a 5 to 8 pound dumbbell in each hand. Climb the stairs while performing bicep curls. Walk or run down the stairs holding the weights but don’t do curls. Repeat!
Exercise: Diagonal reach with medicine ball; great for helping with your technique and strength when reaching for things high overhead.
Equipment: Medicine ball or weighted ball.
To Do: Stand tall, holding a medicine ball at your chest with both hands. Lift the medicine ball diagonally overhead to the right, straightening your arms, while extending your left leg to the side, making a diagonal line from the medicine ball to your toes. Lower to start position. Repeat.
Exercise: Lunges; to improve posture.
To Do: Step your right foot forward and your left foot back, keeping both heels on the floor and feet pointing straight ahead. Bend your right knee until it is over your right ankle. Lower your chest toward your thigh, bringing your arms perpendicular to the floor, keeping your back flat (don’t hunch) — this is your start position. Straighten your right leg, row your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together, keeping your torso angled slightly forward. Change legs.
Here you can see how by doing simple movements as part of your everyday can result in a fitter, stronger you and you are now in the habit of being active.