Functional training is the new buzz word in town. That’s because functional training makes your life easier, literally. It mimics activities of daily living such as climbing up the stairs, lifting groceries or carrying your child in your arms. When you perform a squat, you’re activating the same muscles required to lift an object off the ground or when you stand up from a chair.

Integrating functional training into a workout routine for seniors is especially beneficial. You don’t need to be lifting heavy to be building muscles. Performing a squat – and any other daily activities, is essentially a muscle-building workout. These lean muscle mass you build from bodyweight functional training can, in turn, improve your strength, metabolism and balance. Ultimately, allowing you to remain functionally independent with age.


Benefit 1: You train your muscles to work together

Functional training tend to be multi-dimensional, activating multiple joints and muscles in a single movement. Muscles are always working in tandem in real life and functional training prepares you for real world movement. As you perform a squat, you hinge at your hips and bend your knees and ankles. You also activate your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes and core as you lower yourself with stability.

Photo Credits: Harvard Health

Benefit 2: You can increase core stability at the same time

Good core stability protects your spine from dangerous torsional twists, compressive and shear forces. This is required when you bend over to pick up groceries, or when you lift items into the overhead cupboard. Your core is also the muscle that keeps your body upright when you sit or stand for extended periods of time (think of the last marathon you did and how long you had to remain upright!). A stable core hence improves posture and help mitigate the nagging back aches you’ve been having. A proper squat form requires a stable core, and in turn, can also train your mind and muscle to tighten your torso and improve overall stability.

Benefit 3: You can potentially burn more fat

Squats activate large muscle groups such as your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. It also requires core stability. It is essentially a full body movement, which requires a higher energy expenditure. In addition, a study has shown that strength-training builds muscles, which is able to increase your resting metabolic rate. This applies even for seniors aged 50 and above!

So if you don’t want to hit the gym or you’re too busy to take 30 minutes off from working, just do 10 to 20 bodyweight squats every hour. That’s enough to get your blood flowing and feeling fresh!

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Shereen Ng (SMFB)
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