The gym isn’t for everyone. Some of us don’t have the free time in our lives to justify a membership, and the rest of us just don’t want to go. That doesn’t mean that our fitness has to suffer, especially when it comes to the day-to-day activities that the gym doesn’t actually prepare us for. We’re happy to introduce you to functional fitness, a set of exercises that are designed to improve your daily activity. Just doing a few of these regularly can make everyday life so much easier, so here are a few of our favorites.
The breakdancer push-up
We’re going to assure you straight away that this exercise does not require you to be good at breakdancing. You may need to be able to do a push-up or two, though. We know that might be asking a bit much, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
These push-ups are basically a back and forth effort, alternating which leg you have in the air while you go down (and hopefully back up). They’re great for improving mobility in your hips and stabilizing your shoulders, which reduces the risk of doing yourself an injury. See, push-ups aren’t all bad.
Lateral lunge with reach
We’re all familiar with lunges, but most of us have probably never attempted a side lunge before. It’s not a difficult concept to get your head around – it’s a lunge that you do sideways. If you wish, you can hold out a weight while you do this for an extra challenge, but that should maybe wait until you’ve gotten used to the exercise.
Any kind of stretch like this is great for toning your lower body, and doing lateral lunges can positively affect the strength in your back and glutes. Who doesn’t want a strong backside?
The yoga squat
Yoga is a great thing to take up, but we don’t all have the patience to spend an hour stretching and posing to help improve the flexibility of our bodies. If yoga isn’t for you, just try incorporating this one move into your regular exercise schedule to reap the best rewards possible.
It really is as easy as just doing a couple of squats to get your blood pumping, and your legs will thank you the next time you have to climb loads of stairs (like one whole flight).
Single leg dumbbell row
Prepare to fall over the first time you attempt this one. Even if you have amazing balance, we wouldn’t blame you if you had a little wobble. After all, you’re leaning forward on one leg and lifting weights while trying to keep your back flat – that isn’t easy.
While it may be tricky to master, the single leg dumbbell row will at least pay off once you do. It strengthens all the muscles that are inactive while you’re sat at your desk all day, making it the perfect accompaniment to a standard office job.
Stability ball push-ups
Stability balls are a pretty common part of the home-gym furniture and with good reason. Doing push-ups on these are a lot more challenging for your upper body, so putting in the effort now will be worthwhile in the long run. Plus, it gives you something fun to bounce on while you take a break from exercising.
They’re also great to use if you suffer from persistent wrist pain because they strengthen the joints that are causing you problems. If you work at a computer all day then looking after your wrists is an absolute must. Otherwise, how else are you going to get your work done?
No-one’s saying you have to go mad about working out, or even that you need to do these exercises every day for the next few weeks. Just find a fitness schedule that works around you and give these exercises a go. You’ll be glad you did.