Functional Training for Seniors

Functional Fitness For Seniors 

There are many different reasons that a person may workout. Some people are looking to improve the way they look or the way they feel. Some individuals train for sport specific improvement and performance. For some people it may simply be because their doctor (or spouse) has told them they have too. For us at Rebound – this is generally why our clients come to us in the first place. 

There is another area of fitness that is often overlooked but very important. For most younger people, when they hear the term functional fitness, they immediately think of crossfit or F45. Functional fitness, particularly as it relates to seniors, is a lesser known but highly valuable area of fitness. Functional fitness that is geared towards seniors is designed to help individuals continue to perform activities for daily living (ADL’s). This simply means that the training is designed in a way that not only strengthens individual muscles and muscle groups, but helps the brain and body communicate effectively to perform everyday activities.

Who Benefits From Functional Training?

Anyone can benefit from functional training. However it is particularly beneficial to seniors. If you have a parent, grandparent, or friend who is a senior, you may want to encourage him or her to seek out some functional fitness training. As we get older, tasks most of us take for granted can become more and more challenging. Tasks such as picking up grandchildren, getting onto the floor, climbing a ladder, can become difficult for many people as they get older. Good functional training can help ensure that the senior in your life can continue to perform these actions, and perform them safely and confidently.

What Is Functional Fitness?

Functional fitness encompasses some more commonly known exercises that involve lifting weights and using your bodyweight as the resistance. It can and does however go beyond that in order to more closely simulate everyday activities. It is very rare that in daily life we use only one muscle in a single plane or range of motion in order to perform tasks. More likely than not, several muscle groups or more are utilized simultaneously. Additionally, balance is very often required while these muscle groups are being used for daily activities.   This is where functional fitness goes beyond the use of weight machines. Functional fitness seeks to replicate daily activities through exercises that involve resistance training, balance work, and coordination.

 Does Functional Fitness replace machine weights?

While weight machines - typically pin-loaded weight machines – can effectively isolate a muscle in order to get it stronger – functional training is significantly more beneficial. The idea with functional training is that you care utilising significantly more muscle groups and performing movements that replicate what you would normally be doing as part of your normal life. So functional training should replace typical weights machines that you would find in a big gym because its much more effective use of time. 

How To Start Out

If you or someone you know wants to start engaging in functional fitness, it’s best to start out with relatively easy and basic movements, and then work your way up from there. 

Obviously people have different starting points and abilities. It’s important to progress slowly, build up your strength and skill, and only then progress to the next phase. Once a person starts to work in balance related movements, having a spotter is very important as to prevent a fall. We would recommend only doing such exercises with someone who has been trained how to do the exercises and how to properly spot a person who is doing them for safety. The person doing them may be afraid of falling, but if they know someone is there to help them if they need it, then most people will be able to move past that fear

Rebound has worked with hundreds of seniors over the years, and functional fitness has been a huge part of that training. It’s been very encouraging to see the progress that people can make when they put the time and effort into their functional training. I have seen many seniors who are pleasantly surprised with what they are able to do when given the time to build up their strength and abilities. Functional fitness is truly empowering because it helps people maintain their standard of living and have a “can do” mentality. Consider working with someone who is familiar with functional training and can help in reaching maximum potential while keeping you safe.

At Rebound we offer both individual and group-based functional training for seniors in order to keep our clients strong and make their time in the gym fun and social.