Many of us are staying safe indoors, and you might be feeling like there’s a shortage of things to do to keep yourself busy. Well, summer is coming up, and even though we’re taking measures to socially distance right now, getting in shape doesn’t have to get put on the back burner.
Luckily, you have everything you need right at home to get fit. Studio and gym memberships can cost you an arm and a leg, so think on the bright side — you can save all that money and learn a new way to get in shape fast. We’re talking about functional fitness.
Put simply, functional fitness is exercise that makes your body function better as a whole. This encompasses strength, flexibility, and stability.
Functional fitness will help with everyday physical activities, like lifting heavy objects, reaching up over head, bending down, and even walking. That being said, a functional fitness routine is especially beneficial as we get older — it can keep our bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissue functioning optimally. This keeps us in great health and helps us avoid chronic pain, injury, and more!
Functional fitness exercises generally involve more than one muscle group and require a fair amount of stability. If you feel like you’re struggling to keep your balance in positions mentioned below, you can use a chair as a prop to rest your hands on for more stability. Otherwise, these five exercises are low-impact, which is great for your joints! But best part, they can be done in the comfort of your own home.
Each one targets several muscle groups at the same time to train your body to function better, improve mobility, and tighten and tone those muscles. For the first four exercises of this routine, do three to five sets of 10 repetitions, resting for 30 seconds between sets. All in all, it should take you about 15 minutes to complete the workout. You can practice this routine three to four times per week for best results. And if possible, make sure to get some gentle cardio in with a few minutes of walking each day!
A simple squat targets your core muscles, glutes, hips, and legs. This move will help your knee and hip joints stay stable and reduce pain. It will also tone your legs and lift your glutes!
- Begin standing with your feet a little wider than hips width distance apart (two fists between the feet).
- Tighten your belly and pull it in. On an inhale, bend your knees and lower your hips down toward the ground, stopping when you feel the most resistance.
- On your exhale, press back up to standing. Don’t lock your knees!
- To add more strength-building resistance to this exercise, take two five-pound dumbbells in your hands and hold them out in front of you while you squat!
The traditional push up activates the abs, back muscles, leg muscles, and of course, the chest and arms. Building upper body strength will not only make you feel amazing in a sun dress, but it will also help alleviate back, neck, and shoulder pain!
- Begin in a plank position with your hands a little further than shoulder-width apart. If this feels difficult, perform this move on your knees with a towel on the ground for extra padding!
- On an inhale, begin bending your elbows to lower down toward the ground, being careful to keep your neck long by pulling your shoulders away from the ears.
- On an exhale, push back up to your plank position.
The stationary lunge doesn’t involve a lot of movement, but you’re sure to feel the burn with this one — specifically in the hips and glutes! A stationary lunge helps activate the core, build pelvic floor stability, and improve joint function in the ankles, knees, and hips!
- Begin standing with your feet hips-with apart, and step your left foot up about three feet in front of you. Your left knee should be stacked on top of your left ankle.
- On an inhale, place your hands above your left knee and bend your right knee to lower your hips down toward the ground.
- On an exhale, press back up to your standing lunge position.
The glute bridge is another booty burner. If you’re working from home and sitting down a lot, this move will also help you build pelvic floor stability and avoid lower back and hip pain. The glute bridge also helps to tighten up the lower abdominal muscles — that means a flat belly!
- Begin lying on your back with your arms down by your sides, your knees bent, and your feet down on the ground nearby your bottom.
- Take a deep inhale and on your exhale, press into your feet to lift your hips up toward the ceiling.
- On your inhale, lower back down to your starting position.
Holding a plank position doesn’t sound like a good time, but a little goes a long way with this powerful move. The plank position activates almost all of your muscles and is one of the best exercises for stability and posture. It will help to realign your bones and joints as well as strengthen and tone your core, legs, and arms.
- Begin in an upper push-up position with your shoulders stacked directly above your wrists. If this hurts your wrists, take your hands out a little wider.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute.