Most of us work out with a specific motivation in mind. Maybe you want to get back in shape, build more muscle or become a better runner. Improving your overall fitness is often just a nice byproduct. But what if training for real-life situations is your main reason for exercising?
Functional fitness is a term used for full-body workouts, during which you don’t train isolated muscle groups but move your body the way you use it in daily life. Instead of bench-pressing or jumping on the cross-trainer, you train your body to do everyday activities more easily and efficiently.
Functional fitness is also the word that best describes my view on exercising with chronic illness – namely focusing on those areas of fitness that improve your health and quality of life the most. Running on the treadmill obviously boosts your fitness, but it may not be the best choice if what you want most is to be able to carry your toddler or sit behind your desk without debilitating back pain.
You probably don’t live to exercise, but exercise to live a full life.