Ageing Well Health & Wellness

Why you need functional fitness to age well

August 7, 2019
6 exercise & fitness tools that really work & don't cost a fortune

Functional Fitness, have you heard the term? It seems to becoming more popular in the media and fitness studios but what exactly does it mean and why do we need it? The Mayo Clinic describes Functional Fitness as:

Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to help you do everyday activities safely and efficiently.

Day 2 of Ageing Well in August was to Keep Moving. An important component of ageing well is keeping active and being able to carry out day to day tasks. Including this type of regular fitness routine s is vital for ageing well – the ability to be fit enough to walk up stairs without becoming breathless, carry groceries and an important one for me the ability to keep up with my grandchildren.

As we age, we lose flexibility, our balance can be affected and we can find normally daily activities more difficult to perform.

Functional Fitness

How to achieve functional fitness

Incorporating exercises that enhance the way we move by training the muscles to work together to simulate movements you might do at home, during sport or at work. Working muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, improves core stability and prepares your body to work well in daily situations. For example,

  • Squats train your muscles to enable you to sit and stand or bend down to pick up low objects.
  • Lunges can help you perform activities such as vacuuming and yard work
  • Bicep curls build muscle strength to enable you to lift and carry your groceries

Yoga, pilates, resistance exercises are all ways we can improve our functional fitness.

Why you need functional fitness to age well

Independence and improved quality of life

Improved Balance

Improved Flexibility

Improved Strength

20-minute Sample Workout for Older Adults from Go4Life

DISCLAIMER: REMEMBER TO SEEK MEDICAL CLEARANCE BEFORE TRYING ANY NEW EXERCISE

Incorporate Functional Fitness by finding some form of activity that you enjoy and make moving part of every day.

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29 Comments

  • Reply Natalie August 7, 2019 at 06:59

    Hi Sue – I so agree with you on this one. It’s important to maintain our range of movement as we age. Thanks for this great reminder.#MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:38

      Hi Natalie, thank you and yes being able to function well in every day tasks is vital and I think people are starting to realise that now as they want to be active and independent living their lives. Have a great week. xx

  • Reply Theresa Muth August 7, 2019 at 07:18

    Hello Sue
    I can really tell my balance is not the same. Incorporating yoga really helps. I really appreciate your tips and follow you on Facebook for daily motivation!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:40

      Hi Theresa I’m so pleased that you gain something from my tips. Yoga is so good for balance and I think Balance is certainly underrated for it’s value in our life as we age. Have a lovely week and try a ‘tree pose’ 🙂 xx

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee August 7, 2019 at 07:58

    I’m working on this – my flexiblity is not what it was….and that can’t be a good thing #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:41

      Flexibility is an area I constantly need to work on Lydia but the more I do stretches and yoga the more flexible I’ve become, so it is never too late. xx

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle August 7, 2019 at 09:33

    I hadn’t heard the term ‘functional fitness’ before but it’s a very good term to describe what it means! Thankfully I’m in the habit of doing Pilates 3 times a week and it has been excellent for me – in many ways – strength and flexibility being the main ones! Today’s class was a particularly hard workout but I loved it! Have a great day Sue. xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:44

      I’ve only really heard it lately Min and probably more because I’m doing my Cert III in Fitness. I think that Pilates ticks all of the boxes as strength and flexiblity will certainly hold you in good stead for the years ahead. It is satisfying when you find a workout that you enjoy rather than slogging away at something that you hate just because you ‘have to exercise’. Have a lovely day, Min xx

  • Reply Debbie Harris August 7, 2019 at 09:35

    I agree Sue, functional fitness is a must as we age. I looked at the video and enjoyed the simplicity, I need to incorporate something like this into my exercise routine. Thanks again. I’ve shared for #mlstl

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:45

      Hi Deb, I think that is the key – simplicity. We don’t have to run ourselves into the ground just be consistent in building strength, flexibility and balance. Glad you liked the video and I think it shows that it is never too late to start. Have a great day and thanks for sharing. xx

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au August 7, 2019 at 11:59

    I hadn’t really thought about this but it’s an excellent reminder Sue – and it covers all the things I do at Gentle Gym (so the instructor must have a good handle on the importance of this for older women!) Keeping moving is so important – it’s sooo easy to spend all day in a chair and forget to move. I think that’s why having a routine helps to remind me to get up and go at certain times of the day.
    Thanks again for co-hosting and I’m looking forward to your August series (and I’ve shared on my SM xx)

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:47

      Hi Leanne, Gentle Gym is perfect really. We don’t have to over do it but we can still achieve good fitness results that will definitely help in our future lives. It is so easy to get caught sitting for hours – especially blogging! I like to allocate some time and then try to walk away and do some activity to wake my body up. xx

  • Reply Christine August 7, 2019 at 14:50

    I haven’t heard of this term but it makes sense. It’s why a range of different types of exercise is important to get all sorts of things oiled and moving. My mum has always been averse to exercise and now I can really see how it affects her. I’m determined to stay more of top of it. Thanks for the suggestions. Shared.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:49

      Hi Christine, I think that the term is much easier to accept and follow than being more specific like running or cycling. People can get turned off if they aren’t really into exercise. However, if they understand that this type of workout will help their daily tasks it makes it easier for them to commit to. x

  • Reply Jan Wild August 7, 2019 at 14:57

    Amen to that, so so important and in the long run the most important form of fitness. We are fortunate that the woman who runs our gym is middle aged herself as are most of her gym clients. She totally focuses on functional fitness – yay for that.
    Pinning this

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:50

      I think there are a number of women in our aged bracket Jan providing fitness classes specifically designed around Functional Fitness and Over 50s. Exercising doesn’t have to be a chore and I think it makes a difference to our motivation if we know that our daily lives will be improved. Thanks for pinning xx

  • Reply Candi Randolph August 7, 2019 at 23:23

    Hi Sue, I hadn’t heard the term functional fitness, but it all makes sense. Fortunately, I understand the value of this type of exercise and am working on it regularly with lunges, weight training and such. And you’re right…it takes all of that to keep of with the little ones. I watched two of my grandkids last night through this morning, and got all my steps in as well as some aerobics! Sharing on SM xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:52

      I read your posts Candi and know that even though you haven’t heard the term, your program is basically the same. Well done in minding your little ones and getting your workouts done! Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of your week. xx

  • Reply Erica/Erika August 8, 2019 at 01:08

    I extra like this post, Sue. The “moving throughout the day” really makes sense for me. I regret it if I don’t stretch, move every hour. The other key point you bring up is “independence.” Great information:)

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:53

      Hi Erica, I know we think alike around this topic and basically if we can keep independently moving for as long as we can the quality of life is so much better. Glad you enjoyed the post. xx

  • Reply Patricia Doyle August 8, 2019 at 07:26

    Sue, I hadn’t heard the term functional fitness, but it makes sense. I recently added strength training into my weekly routine (and trying to make it a habit). Yoga was there in my weekly routine, but it wasn’t building the strength I needed. I do like thinking about this helping me long term to maintain independence!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 8, 2019 at 07:58

      Hi Pat, yes strength training is something many of us put off but I’m surprised to hear that Yoga wasn’t building strength as there are definitely some poses that will do this. However, strength training is important so I hope you can incorporate it somehow into our workout routine. Have a great week. xx

  • Reply Donna Connolly August 9, 2019 at 02:54

    Hi, Sue – I fully agree that ‘functional fitness’ is very important as we age. Gentle/Restorative Yoga classes are usually great at including this type of fitness. Thank you for the reminder for me to get off of the couch this morning and get some exercise in.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 9, 2019 at 06:56

      I’m sure you don’t need reminding to get off the couch, Donna as you are always so active 🙂 xx

  • Reply Christie Hawkes August 9, 2019 at 22:05

    Thank you for the reminder Sue. My number one goal with my physical activity and workout routines is to maintain or improve my strength, balance, and flexibility, so that I can remain independent and fully participating in life for as long as possible. I see my mother, who has been quite sedentary her whole life, really struggling to get around, and it makes me sad. It also reinforces how important it is to care for our bodies throughout life. Have a lovely day! #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2019 at 06:55

      You have it all spot on Christie and yes sometimes it is seeing the results of someone not moving that really reminds us of the importance of fitness in our lives. You have a beautiful weekend too, my friend. xx

  • Reply Trisha Faye August 11, 2019 at 05:35

    Great thoughts from my fitness guru. Wonderful post, Sue.
    sharing for MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric August 11, 2019 at 06:50

      Oh thanks Trisha, I’ve never been called a guru before LOL:)

  • Reply Andrea Todd September 8, 2019 at 09:40

    Amen! I started yoga a year go and had no idea how much it was helping until I stopped doing it for a couple months. I’m getting back it and love the feeling of being stronger and able to do the balance poses. I’ve just started tuning into reading blogs from fellow midlifer’s. I’m so glad there are groups of women that write about lifestyle!

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