As I work on this column, it’s actually Father’s Day. So, a belated happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.
In honor of my father, I thought I would name this column in his memory. However, that would entail naming it “Two Grunts.” That, by the way, was a working title. The other was “Functional Fitness.”
Since it’s completely up to my editor as to the title of my column, I am going to go out on a limb and presume you’re reading a column entitled, Functional Fitness.
With that being said, and to dispel any myths surrounding my father, let me explain my working title. You see, as we all age, sometimes it gets more difficult to complete a task. Perhaps we’re changing a tire and one of the lug nuts is tighter than the others. As we struggle to loosen it, we grunt. As we pull the spare from the trunk, we grunt. And, as our significant other questions our abilities, we grunt.
Grunting is our audible sign of effort. Without that noise, how would our spouses or children know we’re really putting forth an effort?
I recall one evening with my father. I was already familiar with his grunting as he made the effort to rise up from the sofa after having settled in for the night. However, on this particular evening, as he sat down at the dinner table, he grunted. I vividly recall that moment because, at least for me, the only requirement for sitting down was gravity. Where was the effort in sitting?!
That phenomenon is related to effort being required for more simple tasks that, well, shouldn’t really require effort. Now, I’m not talking about my mom who is 92 and grunts regardless of what she is doing (please picture a sweet grandma type as opposed to a noisy troll).
For those of us who are not yet “old,” however, no longer “young,” this is the time where we may regret not having taken better care of ourselves. The old saying, “the chickens have come home to roost,” is normally used to mean that the bad things that someone has done in the past have come back to bite or haunt the individual.
Hmmm… perhaps we should have exercised more. Perhaps we should have eaten better. Perhaps we should have used more sunscreen. Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.
For those of you who are pushing toward or past 90, relax, have some cookies, you made it! However, for the rest of us, from, let’s say 30 on (if you’re in your 20s you have no idea what’s coming down the pike) take heart; it’s not too late for… functional fitness!
According to a simple explanation from anytimefitness.com, “Functional fitness training is a type of strength training that readies your body for daily activities. These exercises equip you for the most important type of physical fitness, the kind that preps you for real-life, daily living stuff like bending, twisting, lifting, loading, pushing, pulling, squatting and hauling.”
I can’t stress how important, how critical, this type of training is for you, me, for all of us. Remember my little dig at 20-somethings? They (and possibly some of you lucky older folks) completely take for granted the ease at which they get in and out of their car; of their bed; of their dinner chair.
For those of you who have witnessed someone, young or old, struggle with everyday activities due, perhaps, to a bad back, a stiff neck, or some other temporary affliction, you understand how quickly we can get sidelined. So, let’s take a look at functional fitness and see how we might incorporate some specific exercises into our fitness regime.
According to healthline.com, “Functional fitness refers to exercise that helps you with everyday activities, like: getting up off the floor, carrying heavy objects, and putting something up on a shelf. By strengthening the muscles in the same way you would need to use them for certain tasks, it reduces your risk of injury and increases your quality of life.”
The good news is that functional fitness exercises are varied and many – and easy to do. According to oxygenmag.org, “functional movement patterns fall into six categories: squat, lunge, hinge, push, pull and carry, with rotation as a bonus pattern that can be used to enhance any of the other six.”
I might as well confess to something right now and blame it on “the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.” I can squat down fairly easily to fix this or look at that, but when it comes to getting back up again… grunt (and sometimes I get a bit lightheaded)!
Looking at those six categories of functional fitness it’s not too difficult to imagine the exercise/movements you would do to perform them: squatting up and down, lunging forward, bending over or side to side, pushing something away from you, pulling something toward you, and carrying something (watch your back and use your legs when lifting). And for rotation, simple twists work (and are great for your core).
Well, I just reached for my water bottle, took a drink, and then stretched to put it back on my shelf. So, I’ve managed to get in my two grunts for the day. How about you?
If you enjoyed reading this, then please visit daybreakpersonalwellness.com where you can find more fitness information, download my workout e-book, listen to my latest podcast on Spotify, and check out a number of personal (and corporate) wellness programs.
Have a fitness question? Send them to me, Your Personal Trainer, at PersonalTrainerQuestions@gmail.com and write ‘Ramona Sentinel’ in the subject line.