by Paula Allia PT, DHSc, MTC, OCS

Functional fitness is training your body to perform to the best of its ability for each day. This includes normal activities of daily living inclusive of the most basic activity to sporting activities and even to breathing itself. This functional training is vital and should be incorporated into an exercise regime.

Many times, one does not know what they need to do if wanting to participate in an exercise program. The areas to be worked on include but are not limited to:


STRENGTH varies per person. It is the capacity of a working muscle or muscles to withstand force. Stronger individuals can lift more pounds if weightlifting. There are specific ways to work on strength. The importance of weight and repetitions matter.

POWER deals with work. It is how much work can be done in a given amount of time.

ENDURANCE is the ability to continue exertion or work for longer periods of time. If one does not have endurance, fatigue sets in and a given activity cannot be sustained any longer.

BALANCE is the ability to sustain a steady position. It can be when stationary or moving.

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH varies from person to person. It is dependent upon the condition of the heart, the lungs, arteries and veins, and hormones that drive these systems.

When initiating an activity program, learning where each of these category’s start will help to provide a knowledgeable professional to know where to begin.

You might wonder why the explanations. Well, all of these parameters contribute to the success of functional training. If, for example, someone has strength deficits, neuromuscular re-education is necessary to kickstart a strength program.

Exercises may be focused directly on certain muscles and then as progress is made, functional movement is added. Functional movements include a recruitment of various muscles and joints to coordinate together and allow an activity to be performed.

Look at an infant. They are born with no true functional movements. As the brain develops and coordinates with the neuromuscular system, they begin to move against gravity. This starts to strengthen the muscles.

When enough muscles start to strengthen, momentum can be used to roll and as this develops further the infant can roll independently.

These are examples of early developmental milestones. As the body ages better strength, power, and endurance with the help of the nervous system continue to progress. Working on these parameters separately may be needed but combined movements are recommended to strengthen essential movement patterns. If not done, movement impairments are likely; the body can fall short of goals.

Injury may ensue because of missing links. Functional assessments may be recommended no matter what level a person best function.

There is always room for improvement and specific training targets the individual needs to advance. As we age, all of the above mentioned can falter unless sustained. If decline due of lack of certain activities, finding the right methods to help regain your quality is key.

If dysfunction or joint issues are now a concern, working safely to advance can still be done with precaution.

DO NOT WAIT until there is a decline or an area of concern. Take action to help yourself. After all, life is precious and should be filled with quality.

For further information please call Paula at (239) 263-9348.


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