Functional Training for Everyday Living

Shandra Martinez

| 2 min read

Functional training helps make performing daily tasks easier and prevents injuries. It also helps your body develop flexibility, agility, balance and coordination to prevent falls. With functional training, you move your body the way you use it in daily life by doing exercises that mimic activities such as carrying a laundry basket of clothes up a flight of stairs, gardening or reaching for something above the refrigerator.
Below is a list of movements, some of the common daily activities they support and variations of the movement, depending on ability, using your body weight. There are many other activities supported by these movements, including sports such as cycling, golf and kayaking. Other variations, depending on your ability, include adding resistance from bands, weights, kettlebells and other equipment.
Look at the list and determine in what areas you would like to see improvement, making it easier to perform your everyday activities.

Movement: Squat

Daily activities the movement supports: Picking up objects from the floor, getting up and down, crouching, preventing falls
Variations:
  1. Get up from a chair
  2. Body-weight squat
  3. Plyometric squat

Movement: Lunge

Daily activities the movement supports: Walking, climbing stairs, gardening, vacuuming, maintaining balance, preventing falls
Variations:
  1. Alternate lifting one knee
  2. Lunge in all directions
  3. Walking lunges with weights

Movement: Push

Daily activities the movement supports: Bracing yourself, moving objects, opening and closing doors, getting up from the floor
Variations:
  1. Wall pushups
  2. Knee pushups
  3. Pushups

Movement: Pull

Daily activities the movement supports: Pulling, lifting objects, opening doors and drawers, lifting a child, weeding, starting a lawnmower
Variations:
  1. Superman
  2. Bent-over row or raise
  3. Renegade row

Movement: Hinge

Daily activities the movement supports: Bending, walking or running uphill, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning, gardening, lifting a child
Variations:
  1. Good morning
  2. Bend down and touch your toes
  3. Kettlebell swings

Movement: Rotation

Daily activities the movement supports: Walking or running, putting on a seat belt, reaching for something on a shelf, unloading the dishwasher, splitting wood, getting in and out of a car, balance
Variations:
  1. Rotational punches
  2. Seated Russian twists
  3. Woodchopper

Movement: Walk

Daily activities the movement supports: Moving from one place to another, balance, mobility
Variations:
  • Walk
  • Walk backward
  • Skipping
Learn more about exercises that improve strength, balance, flexibility and the ability to perform daily activities safely in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being℠ webinar, Popular Functional Training Moves Demonstration. You can also sign up for future employer- or individual-focused webinars and guided meditations here.
Photo credit: Getty Images

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