Functional Fitness is not functional strength
The phrase above hits on the third of four dimensions I use to define Functional Fitness. Strength, even functional strength, is only a small part of fitness. Crossfit.com lists ten physical skills as a component of fitness. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, coordination, agility, balance, stamina, power, speed, accuracy, flexibility, and strength. Other fitness certifying bodies define fitness as involving power, agility, reaction time, speed, skill, and strength.
In either case, notice that strength is only one of the physical measures used to describe fitness. Please understand, strength is extremely essential to training, as well as to life. When you build muscle strength, your tendons and ligaments get stronger too, which reduces the risk of injury. Strong muscles are more responsive, adding to a person’s agility. Strength training also builds muscles, increasing the amount of metabolically active tissue in your body so you burn fat and become leaner. An excellent example is the Biggest Loser television show. They are not just on the treadmill. They are strength training.
If you are unfamiliar with the other measures of fitness, do not fret. The only point here is there is a lot more to Functional Fitness than merely strength. So the big question becomes: What do you want?
Do you want to have good looking arms and chest? Then go build your muscles up with benches presses and bicep curls.
Do you want to have good endurance? Then go running.
Do you want Flexibilty? Try Yoga.
Do you simply want to be stronger? Read some Pavel Tsatsouline books.
Or, do you want to be able to function efficiently and effectively at a multitude of life’s tasks—in all levels of life—with ease and confidence? If so, then you need Functional Fitness.