“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.” - Thomas Edison
The reasons people believe exercise is important typically fall into two categories.
The first category is perhaps the most convincing for many of us: looking good. We want to have that bikini body, those perfect six-pack abs, and that perky butt. The media, including social media, contributes to our obsession with a better looking body. This first category of benefits revolves around a superficial goal: “look better and you’ll have a happier, more successful life.”
The second category of exercise benefits is all about our health. We work out because study after study shows that being active helps us lead longer lives, fight diseases, strengthen our joints, reduce anxiety and depression, and so on. These arguments certainly seem more noble than improving our looks, but often take a back seat to the “look better” goals.
The Oft-Overlooked Reason to Exercise
There’s another, oft-overlooked, but very important reason for exercising: exercise enables us to live better. Not just look better. Not just live longer. Live better. Exercise helps us improve the way we function on a day-to-day basis. When we work out, we are in a better position to carry our grocery bags, walk up a flight of stairs, put a suitcase in the overhead compartment on an airplane, and do other routine activities more efficiently and with a lower chance of injury.
Functional Training to Help Us Function
In recent years, there’s been a growing movement that focuses on this third benefit of exercise. Functional training, according to the Mayo Clinic, includes exercises which train our muscles to do everyday activities safely and efficiently. Functional training exercises stimulate common movements we perform every day by training our muscles to work together instead of separately. These exercises work both the upper and lower body together – as opposed to isolating a single body part. With proper training, the body will be able to adequately perform a range of tasks with limited risk of injury. Functional training exercises can be done either at the gym or at home, with little or no equipment.
A Deeper Look into Functional Training
Multidirectional training, in which the body moves in multiple planes of motion, helps us perform common activities such as vacuuming, playing with children, emptying the dishwasher, carrying groceries, and more. We don’t move linearly when we perform basic tasks. We move in multiple planes, which is exactly why it is critical to train in multiple planes. Some examples of basic functional training exercises include side planks, pushups with shoulder taps, dynamic lunges, and mountain climbers. Note that with all of these exercises, we are engaging several muscle groups and controlling our body as a system, as opposed to attempting to isolate individual parts. The most efficient and safest way for us to move often involves our whole bodies. Training to perform tasks has many benefits. In addition to improving the efficiency of performing everyday tasks, functional training helps improve balance, agility, and muscle strength.
Functional Training with Core Flytes
Think about the “good ‘ole days,” when the big, muscly guys are doing isolated bicep curls. These are good examples of non-functional training exercises because they only use one plane of motion. In the real world, we move non-linearly and in three dimensions. For example, when I pick up a suitcase, I bend down while rotating my body. Core Flytes enhance our workouts by enabling us to move in multiple planes of motion in every exercise. When using Core Flytes, we must stabilize ourselves in many angles throughout different planes of motion, as we do when we perform everyday tasks. The three balls under each Core Flyte engage more muscles, preparing us to perform everyday tasks safely and in a controlled manner. Performing mountain climbers with Core Flytes underneath our feet will engage not only our core, but also our legs and arms. Add a pushup in between mountain climbers and we now have an advanced full body movement. This is just one example, but there are endless functional training options that can be conducted with Core Flytes.
So, the next time you exercise and think about how your hard workout will improve how your body looks (as most of us do!) and how it improves your health, think about how it helps you function better. The fitness industry is constantly evolving, but the benefits of functional training are clear and we are happy to see the focus in this area increase. Functional training is arguably the most important reason to exercise, so maximize your workouts with Core Flytes for a multipurpose, safe, and effective workout.
We’d love to hear from you. What is your favorite functional training exercise? Comment below or on our Facebook page or tweet us at @flytefitness.
Be Flyte Fit,
Contributing Writer, Flyte Fitness
Certified Group Fitness Instructor & Personal Trainer
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