What’s the best type of exercise you can do for your health? The answer seems to change every week. Lately, many fitness enthusiasts and influencers have been talking about the importance of “functional fitness” – especially for people in their 20s and 30s who want to stay mobile and ready for anything as they get older.
Functional fitness has actually been in and out of the top ten global fitness trends since 2016. While there are plenty of posts and videos online telling people what the best functional fitness exercises are, in reality many (or even most) exercises could be done in a way that is functional.
What’s more important is the outcome of the exercise. If it results in you becoming as physically capable as possible and ready for anything in life – whether that’s moving furniture, climbing a mountain or running after your child – it could be considered functional fitness.
When you think about this outcome, you can see why it’s hard to pin down a specific list of movements or workouts that count as functional fitness. Because anything that builds any form of fitness that helps you live life could be considered “functional” – including strength, cardio, agility and flexibility.
So you might lift weights to build strength, cycle to build cardio, do sprints to build agility and calisthenics to build flexibility. Or, you could combine all of these exercises into a single workout by doing labelled functional fitness exercise programmes such as CrossFit(R), Hyrox or F45.
Improving all forms of physical movement is why many have said functional fitness exercise programmes are the best exercise you can do. Boosting your overall fitness may also potentially set you up for being more physically capable and independent well into old age.