Let’s get functional! Tips on strengthening your body


strengthening your body

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Our resident Health Editor, Allison Cerra, threw her back out earlier this week while she was getting ready for work. She was fixing her hair when, wham! Her middle trapezius muscle spazzed out, pushed over her shoulder blade and she couldn’t move. She launched herself onto the bed and had to call a doctor.

We felt this is the perfect time to remind our readers (and Allison!) about the many benefits of functional training.

Whether you’re lifting up your child, running up and down stairs, bending down to pick up that shiny penny, carrying, pulling, reaching, balancing — even fixing your hair like Allison — your body is constantly in motion. Functional training is meant to strengthen your body so that you can perform these everyday motions easily and without injury. In sports performance, it may lead to better muscular balance and joint stability, flexibility and injury prevention.

Developed by physical therapists to help rehabilitate patients, functional training targets the core muscles and uses your own body weight and equipment like BOSU, medicine balls, kettlebells, and resistance tubes. It works best when tailored to your specific needs, and gets progressively challenging as you gain strength and balance.

While functional training integrates all of your muscles so that they learn to work together, traditional weight training teaches muscles to work by themselves. That doesn’t mean you should go abandon your gym’s weight room! Functional training shouldn’t replace traditional strength training — it should supplement it.

Click here for some functional training exercises from Men’s Health.

If you are looking for an exciting functional training class, Optimal Sport Health Clubs, located in the Philadelphia area, offers their tailor-made Optimal Workout — a functional training program that is updated on a monthly basis by trained instructors to keep it fresh and interesting. HellaWella readers can try the program free for a month! Click here for details.

As for our Health Heroine, she just started physical therapy sessions. Feel better, Allison!