The Importance of Functionality

Do you want to maintain your ability to play with your kids or grandkids as time goes on? Do you love the idea of being able to pick up a game of rugby any time you want? Are you looking for ways to age gracefully and maintain an agile and healthy body that allows you to do all the things you desire?

This is exactly why functionality is important!

As time passes, it can be difficult to notice functionality gradually eroding. One day, you might all of a sudden find that it’s difficult to bend down and tie your shoes. Whereas years earlier this wasn’t a problem, it can all of a sudden become one due to past or current back pain, limited hamstring flexibility, or reduced coordination and balance.

At Nielsen Fitness, we specialize in functionality-based training, helping you improve and maintain function — no matter what age you’re at. So, let’s dig a little deeper. What is functionality? How does it depreciate over time? And what can you do to improve and maintain yours?

What is Functionality?

Functionality refers to the ability to move the body with minimal effort and no pain. This means being able to play soccer, hockey, or work within your chosen occupation, without issue and without a huge risk of injury.

The problem is that functionality can depreciate over time. Life gets busy. We, sometimes, aren’t even sure what we need to be doing regularly to maintain functionality.

The body also naturally deteriorates as time goes on. For example, cartilage at certain joints naturally becomes worn down, often leading to pain. Yet, with the right holistic approach, you can enjoy your life and fill your time with all the activities and sports you know and love, without pain or discomfort holding you back.

Improving muscular strength and flexibility can significantly reduce your pain and also contribute to greater mobility, even despite structural deterioration. So, what exactly should you be doing to improve your functionality?

How to Improve Functionality

Functional movements are the basis of any functionality-based training program. This means incorporating real-world movements into your workouts.

On top of this, any training program that you take on should use an isolated approach to address any unique functional deficits you might have. For example, if you’re having difficulty putting your seatbelt on, isolated rotator cuff exercises targeting the supraspinatus and shoulder abductors should be included to help remedy this.

Surprisingly, you might actually already perform various functional movements within your day-to-day life. Some of these movements might include:

● Picking up your dog
● Bending down to tie your shoelace
● Running with your kids or grandkids
● Playing sports
● Walking up stairs
● Standing up from a chair
● Vacuuming
● Bending down to water your garden or plants

You can even perform a quick self-assessment here. Are you able to do these movements with ease? Would you like to be able to do these movements easily? This can help you determine if you need to start incorporating functional movement exercises into your regular routine.

Functional movement exercises are based on the types of daily movements listed above. The goal of these exercises is to help you maintain your current functionality or improve upon it so that you can enjoy your life with your family or play the sports you love.

So, what are functional exercises that you can do to maintain your functionality? Here are the basics:

● Squats
● Lunges
● Step Ups & Step Downs
● Internal Rotation Shoulder Stretch With a Towel
● Pull Exercises (Ex. Seated Rows)
● Push Exercises (Ex. Push Ups)
● Hip Hinge Movements (Ex. Good Mornings or Deadlifts)

These exercises can be performed every other day or three to four times a week. With any exercise, ensure you start out slow and follow proper form.

If you’re unsure of proper form or don’t know where to start, it never hurts to ask for a little bit of help. Hiring a trainer is an excellent way to get a better idea of what exercises and movements you should be performing to achieve your goals. A personal trainer can also address unique movement deficits you might have and provide a program that is tailored to meet these needs.

Virtual personal trainers
Squats are a great exercise to maintain your functionality.

Improve Your Functionality With a Personal Trainer

Whether you want to get back into the sports you love or you simply want to be able to keep up with your kids or grandkids, it helps to get a snapshot of where you currently are so that your personal training program can focus on improving and maintaining your specific level of functionality. This is exactly what sets Nielsen Fitness apart from other personal trainers. Together, we can determine where you currently are at. From there, we can help you move the way you want, without pain or limitations getting in your way. 

Are you interested in training with us or think you might be? We proudly offer in-home training in Toronto and virtual personal training to improve your functionality. Click here to apply for a complimentary fitness assessment and first workout today!

Updated on December 30, 2022.