Written by Hailey Foster
Incorporating Fitness Safely and Without Obsession
It can be a challenge to remain active and healthy as we get older. We’re bombarded by life’s many obstacles and are busy with work and family. However, increasing your daily activity level, even by a small amount, can actually increase productivity in all aspects of your life.
But how does that work?
Can you touch your toes? Do you have pain in your lower back or your neck? Do you sit at a desk typing away all day?
This does not require some trendy diet or workout fad; it involves you becoming in-tune with your body and implementing a healthy balance of activity into your daily life. What I’m talking about is focusing on your functional movement and compound motion in order to continue doing the things you love.
What Is Functional Movement?
Functional movement is a very broad and over-used term in the health and fitness industry. It tends to be used incorrectly and with the intent to sucker people in to buying a specific workout program that is not designed specifically for them.
That is not what I’m talking about!
Functional movement is all about maintaining healthy range of motion for everyday function and it is unique to each individual. It is all about listening to your body and the lifestyle it lives.
Functional movement is a subjective term, not a rigid guideline!
For example, let’s say you work at a daycare with young children. You are constantly having to pick them up, bend over to clean up after them, play with them, and, at times, basically maneuver around like a kid. For you, functional moment would include being able to efficiently move in all planes of motion and have a strong, stable core.
Functional movement is all about maintaining optimal movement for everyday life. It is important to consistently train these motions because, as the saying goes, you’ll lose what you don’t use.
What Are the Benefits and How Do You Build On Progressing?
So, why should you care about functional movement? Can you improve muscle restriction and inactivity after it has already developed without the use of surgical intervention and lifelong chronic pain? Absolutely!
The benefits associated with improving your optimal functional movement are vast. Things you never thought you could do again become possible. You feel healthier and have more energy in the day to do the things you love. You no longer deal with chronic pain or restriction, but instead, are confident and relaxed.
It is also worth noting that you can actually save yourself time and money by implementing intuitive eating and functional movement into your lifestyle. No more expensive surgeries, medical bills, or fad diets that end up being failures in the end and breaking the bank.
What Are the Long-Term Consequences for Inactivity?
Were you a college athlete back in the day? Did you used to train for marathons before having kids? Maybe you’ve never worked out a day in your life?
It is important to remain active as we age, but a lot of people compare their current fitness level with their past. They fail to recognize that if you stop using a specific motion you will be unable to complete the motion at your optimal level. This is the reason most people get disheartened and stop working out altogether.
Life also has a funny way of derailing our plans due to unexpected situations. It can become quite easy to neglect our health and allow our bodies to remain inactive, which is the main antagonist in developing muscle restrictions.
Another factor contributing to this situation is the mainstream ignorance regarding the human body and the discrepancy between the medical and fitness industries. Most of the time, the solution is either surgery, adapting to your new life of chronic pain, or an overall restriction of movement for the rest of your life.
Physical therapy and other forms of recovery and rehabilitation are barely covered by insurances in most cases, which forces you to choose a route, like surgery, that could end up limiting your capabilities later in life.
Function or Fluff?
The current state of the health and fitness industry is another matter. Unfortunately, it is full of click-bait content, unattainable Instagram models, unrealistic workouts for the average person, and a model of fitness that is not designed with the general population in mind.
Our current model of fitness is focused around isolated movements and linear progression. This is where you complete an exercise where you are isolating one muscle group and focusing on increasing size or strength. For example, a bicep curl. This is a great technique if you are a body builder and your goal is aesthetics and increasing muscle size, or if you just really enjoy lifting weights. For the average person, this is not the case.
In real life, movement is compound and non-linear. Life is full of rotation and stability. You cannot lift something in the real world with just your isolated biceps. You would actually need to recruit other supporting muscles, like your back, shoulders, or traps. That being said, it is completely fine to do bicep curls and there are plenty of benefits, but for most cases, it is not functional.
Workout plans should be personalized and adjusted for your lifestyle. The goal should be to optimize your functional patterns in order for you to go about your daily life without pain or restriction.
I know it can honestly be tricky navigating the sea of health and fitness content on the internet. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish function from fluff, but here are some things to keep in mind.
Set realistic goals for yourself and find a workout plan, personal trainer, or facility that can help you actually achieve your goals and listens to your needs and desires. Know your body and listen to it. Lastly, when you are out there on the internet doing your research, take note of the experiences, intentions, and reputation from these different sources to see if they are genuine and transparent, and worth investing your hard earned time and money.
Maintaining Functional Movement as You Age
Increasing your functional movement is all about longevity and self-preservation. You can build the habits you need to in order to be successful and live a fulfilling life. Everyone should be able to live a long healthy life, well into your old age.
If you want to run a marathon when you are 70, you can! If you want to get back into the gym at 55, you can do it! If you take the right steps to care for your body, listen to what it needs, and implement proper exercises and stretching into your daily routine, you can start feeling young again and be happy for the rest of your life.
About the Author
Hailey is a passionate freelance writer and aspiring fiction writer who adds a fresh, creative, and engaging twist to your writing and content needs. She specializes in copywriting and content writing. She enjoys reading, the outdoors, training for marathons/ultra-marathons, and working on her fantasy novel series! To learn more about her and her services, check out her writer website at www.hrfosterwrites.com.