Functional Fitness Made Simple
Why do you exercise? Or maybe the question should be: Why do you think about exercising? Very few of us move our bodies solely because we want to run a mile in a certain amount of time, or lift a certain amount of weight. Exercise for it’s own sake doesn’t seem to be nearly as motivating as moving so we can do things that are important to us.
This is often referred to as functional fitness. The emphasis is more on being able to do particular everyday tasks rather than achieving specific workout goals. Of course, achieving fitness goals is important, mainly because they will help us function better. However, many find striving for functional fitness to be the motivational shot in the arm that is needed, both to get started and to keep moving.
Recently, we received an excellent article from John Kolwick, one of our readers. It is a fitness test provided by Silver Sneakers, and targets adults ages 60-79. However, don’t let the numbers deceive you. Starting this test before reaching sixty can help you spot problem areas early. And if you find you can pass the test easily, consider looking for functional fitness tests for your age bracket, or creating your own.
The test is made up of six smaller tests, and instructions are easy to follow. For example, the first test reads:
Fitness Test #1: Sit to Stand
Sit on a sturdy chair with your feet hip-width apart and your arms crossed in front of your chest. From here, press through your heels to stand up. Count how many times you can stand up and sit back down in 30 seconds.
How’d you do? The average adult, ages 60 to 79, should be able to perform 10 to 19 reps.
Improve your results: Perform leg-strengthening exercises such as squats, lunges, and glute bridges. Focus on mastering good form first, then increase your reps. The sit-to-stand test also doubles as a great lower-body strengthener, Dr. Danoff says.
To see the entire test, visit the Silver Sneakers page.
If you’re unsure how to do squats or some of the other exercises mentioned, we’d love to have you explore our workouts to find ones that will fit your lifestyle. In particular, the Cardio and Sculpting with Weights Levels One are a good place to start, as are the Gentle Workout Set.
Whatever your age or level of fitness, it’s never too late to start doing something! Why not make that day today?