Everyday Healthy

Charmaine Gooden | February 2nd, 2010

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WE THINK Traditional strength training with special equipment is the only way to get fit.

>rethink Functional fitness training can be done with affordable home equipment. “Functional fitness training means training our bodies to better perform the real-world activities we use for everyday living,” says Lauren Jawno, certified personal trainer, nutritionist and life coach (www.jawno.com). Most of our commonplace activities involve the use of multiple muscles and joints at the same time. Traditional
strength training done on machines at the gym isolates muscles and works them separately, making individual muscles stronger. And because machines are adjusting, balancing and supporting your body, the smaller muscles that would do these tasks in real life often don’t get exercised. Functional fitness training promotes muscle strength as well as co-ordination, balance, flexibility and agility, Jawno says. This type of training is excellent for developing the core abdominal, lower back and hip muscles necessary for stabilization and support. Everyday strength movements fall into the categories of:

â–  Lifting (laundry basket, grocery bags, child/grandchildren).

â–  Balancing (walking, moving while holding awkward objects).

â–  Twisting (reaching behind you to grab something).

â–  Pulling (taking laundry out of the washing machine).

While most functional training exercises are performed with specific equipment, you don’t need to spend a lot to get what you need for an effective workout at home. The more common items Jawno recommends are easy to find and affordable.


WE THINK
You need to exercise 30 minutes a day, three times a week.

> rethink One hour of exercise daily can be accumulated through small bouts of activity. While doctors used to recommend three sessions of vigorous exercise a week, now the goal is to accrue one hour a day of moderate to vigorous activity that fits into your routine, says Dr. Robert Petrella, scientist and assistant director of the Lawson Health Research Institute (www.lhrionhealth.ca). He suggests dividing an hour of exercise into smaller pieces; studies show that 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there is as effective as one continuous stretch for reducing weight and cardiovascular risks. Rather than resolving to do too much and setting yourself up for failure, make small changes you can stick with — it is important to commit to the changes and make them part of your life.

To get you started, Petrella suggests:

â–  Park your car farther from your destination.

â–  Use the stairs, not escalators or elevators.

â–  Take a 15-minute stroll during your coffee break.

â–  Do some kind of exercise activity — perhaps a yoga set of 10 sun salutations
and downward dogs — in your workspace.

â–  Walk after dinner, which helps digestion.

— Charmaine Gooden