Functional Fitness: In Shape for Everday Life
Why should you work out regularly?
For big muscles? To lose weight? To beat your brother-in-law at golf?
Sure, all of those are good reasons for some people.
But what about working out so you are better prepared for the activities of everyday life, like carrying in groceries and putting them up? Like having the stamina for a busy day of errands and grandkids? Or climbing up and down the stairs without getting winded?
That’s the idea behind functional fitness, an approach that’s increasingly popular with all kinds of people, including those over 50 who want to maintain their independence and quality of life without spending countless hours in a gym.
Fitness for Life
As we age, we lose muscle mass and bone density. That’s where the fear of frailty comes in. It’s what causes us to worry about falling later in life. It’s also what inhibits us from enjoying activities without getting hurt. Think of a guy who can lift heavy weight at the gym but throws out his back picking up a suitcase.
Functional fitness helps keep us strong and agile, with the endurance to live life the way we want to – even if “fitness” for its own sake isn’t necessarily the priority.
And, if you’re worried that working out will bulk you up like an action hero, we can’t stress enough: That’s just not going to happen.
“I tell people, ‘You’re not going to get huge muscles. You’re going to get useful muscles,’” says Michael, a trainer who works with many people over 50.
It has gone beyond being a trend. Most gyms, studios and trainers are now familiar with functional training.
How It Is Different
Compare functional exercises to traditional weightlifting, which usually focuses on one muscle at a time. You’re often seated, the range of motion is restricted – and the movements are not related to daily life.
Functional exercises help muscles work together. Body control, mobility, posture, safety and balance are also primary goals. Some people used to working out on only machines find functional exercise more challenging.
Squats and pushups are good examples. So are lunges, which are common in tasks like vacuuming and yardwork.
As WebMD puts it, functional fitness is “about training your body to handle real-life situations.” That means exercises focused on “building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions, not just lifting a certain amount of weight in an idealized posture created by a gym machine.”
Does functional fitness sound like a good idea for you? We’re here to help you with safe, functional programs to boost your fitness, confidence and enjoyment of daily life.
Beef Supper Skillet
This Beef Skillet Supper is a fitness-friendly meal, with tons of protein and wholesome, nutritious ingredients to power you through your day and fuel your results. It’s perfect for making on a weeknight when you don’t have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen, but you still want a dish that’s full of flavour.
This recipe calls for sweet potato rice, which is sweet potato that has been turned into noodles with a spiral slicer, and then pulsed in the food processor until small rice-like pieces form. It’s entirely possible to save time by chopping up your sweet potato rather than going through the process of turning it into rice, if you’d prefer!
Courtesy of RealHealthyRecipes.com
What you need
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups sweet potato Rrce or finely chopped, uncooked sweet potato
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 1 cup liquid egg whites
- *Optional* ¼ cup fresh mozzarella
- *Optional* ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- *Optional* ¼ cup guacamole
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until all of the pink is gone. Remove from heat.
- Mix the sea salt, paprika and garlic powder into the beef. Return the heat to medium and add the sweet potato rice to the skillet. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped kale to the skillet, cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
- In another skillet over medium heat and scramble the egg whites until the curds are barely wet and starting to break apart.
- Mix the egg whites into the skillet and top with mozzarella and cilantro. Immediately serve with guacamole. Enjoy!
One serving equals: 342 calories, 7g fat, 712mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 4g fibre, 6g sugar and 44g protein.
Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you get healthier and happier:
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