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The key to functional fitness is integration – when you’re able to teach all of your muscles to work together, your body functions as a whole. Functional fitness means creating a body that is capable of handling everyday situations, like lugging a heavy suitcase or lifting a toddler from a car seat.
Functional fitness requires the brain to simultaneously coordinate different parts of the body. As you repeatedly bend to pick up a load of full grocery bags, you’re mimicking a series of weighted squats that you’d do at the gym – this move requires several muscle groups to work together in harmony to get the job done without injury.
Another aspect of functional fitness is teaching your body to balance its own weight. This can be achieved with simple movements like stability-ball crunches or single-leg squats. Remember to switch sides when practicing these moves to create equal balance on both sides of the body.
Next time you’re at the gym, check out the Dual Adjustable Pulley (DAP) machine. This type of system offers a less controlled movement than traditional weight machines, requiring more joint and core stabilization. With greater potential to recruit multiple muscles groups with each exercise, you can produce results quickly.
Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lifefitness or join our Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/lifefitness.