According to The American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.) “Functional strength training involves practicing work against resistance in such a way that the improvements in strength directly transfer and enhance the performance of movements in an individual’s activities of daily living. We become stronger and more efficient in all that we do outside the gym.”
We move in 3 planes of motion in our daily activities. We walk, run, lunge, squat, push, pull and twist. Think about the movement you do when you get into your car. Usually it is a one legged squat or (step up into a truck or SUV) and then a twist of the body to bring both legs in to face the steering wheel. Effective ”Functional Resistance Training” must include exercise that challenge the body in all 3 planes in the gym setting.
With that being said, it is also important to determine muscles that are weak and need specific additional training to help with overall funtion. The term “Isolate then Integrate” is used to accomplish this goal. For example, single-joint exercises (which are considered “non-functional” are essential in helping to strengthen a “weak link.” The goal is symmetrical balance, coordination and function. So those weak links need that extra attention. Safe and effective exercise is critical to overall health and well-being so that risk of injury is greatly reduced for functional resistance training. That is why my Body Re-Design addresses posture misalignments first. Here is the link to find out more.
I work with a lot of senior citizens and many over the age of 50. One of the biggest concerns with seniors is osteopenia and osteoporosis (bone density loss). People who have osteoporosis often have muscle weakness and increased kyphosis (hunched back) and forward head posture. With these individuals my focus is on three key factors: Postural re-alignment; Balance and Coordination practice to help prevent falls; and Strengthening in an integrated fashion that transfers to real life activities. Bones adapt to the demand placed on them. In order to keep my seniors strong, I do a weight training program that safely places this demand on their muscular skeletal system. When there are weaknesses and muscle imbalances around a specific joint, I will add isolated strength training to their program. I am thrilled that one of my clients recently reported that she had improved bone density from the weight training we had been perfoming in my exercsie studio.
Muscle dictates metabolism. Resistance training promotes fat loss. Obesity (fat gain) is the leading cause of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and losing muscle mass increases the risk of developing body fat. According to the A.C.E. Fitness Journal May 2019 “Lifting weights triggers changes at the molecular level that improve fitness and thwart chronic disease.” Resistance training does more than build strong muscles and bones. It also improves resting metabolic rate and cardiorespiratory fitness. A 10-week study showed that resistance training versus cardio training was more favorable for decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. “An increase in lean mass from weight training may reduce visceral fat stored around internal organs like the liver pancreas and intestines.”
Research also has concluded that cardio training and resistance training alone do not produce the same effect that combining the two do. Therefore it is important to do both.
Improvements in Blood Pressure and Cholesterol levels are also the result of an effective Functional Resistance program. I am a firm believer that we need a balance of resistance and cardio but flexibility training is also a critical factor in overall health.
I hope you have found this blog helpful. I have many ‘Fit-Tip’ ideas available on my YouTube channel and in my free eBook “30 Intentions in 30 Days.” To learn more about Posture for Health and my Body Re-Design Program and Body Re-Design Retreats visit my website www.JacqueWalters.com. Also, if you are in need of “just a get-away” take a look at my Mountain Guest House Retreat. Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel or follow me on Facebook for easy fit-tip ideas to incorporate into your life to become a healthier YOU. They only take minutes a day.
Wishing you a blessed, healthy and pain-free life.