A back-to-basics approach may be edging out high-tech exercise trends, experts say.
Functional Fitness continued...
"Functional fitness is what you need for getting through your everyday
life -- picking up that can of paint, getting down on your knees to get the
dog's ball when it rolls under the sofa, taking your grandchild out of a car
seat," says Black.
Personal trainer and fitness author Jeff Rutstein agrees.
"Fifty years ago, people were more active in the course of their daily
living, so we could do all these things. Now we are a sedentary society, so as
we age, we have to reteach our body some basic moves just to be able to do
things that make up daily living," says Rutstein, author of Rutstein on
This same low-tech approach has helped to build the Navy Seals into some of
the nation's most powerful warriors, says Black.
"When you're deployed in jungles, deserts, and mountains, there are no
Nautilus machines or Lifecycles," says Black. "We had to rely on
body-weight exercises, like push-ups and squat-thrusts, and I think we proved
they really work."
As macho as all this sounds, personal trainer Sarah Lurie, CPT, RKC, says
activities that promote functional fitness may be even more effective for women
than for men.
"One of the goals of functional fitness is to build core strength, which
for women can be very empowering, simply because it enables us to do things
that maybe we could not do before," says Lurie, director of Iron Core, a
functional fitness center in La Jolla, Calif.
From flipping a mattress to moving furniture, she says, women love the power
functional fitness workouts can provide - as well as the fluidity and
flexibility they offer.
Low-Tech Doesn't Mean No Tech
Of course, even with a back-to-basics approach to exercise, you can get a
little help from the fitness industry. Here's a rundown of some of the newest
low-tech workout aids to help improve your functional fitness:
"You can quench your urge to gamble and get healthy at the same
1. Kettlebells. Based on a principle first used to train
the Russian military, the Kettlebell is a piece of weighted iron shaped like a
cannonball with a handle. The goal is to use the Kettlebell to build functional
fitness, restore core strength, and tone every muscle in the body, all with a
few simple moves.