Functional moves might be the formula needed to reach your goals for a fit body.  By taking movements that help your body perform your daily living tasks more effectively and efficiently.  These movements target many muscles at the same time.  The rewards are increased strength, better balance and in the case of the lower body less stress on knees.  These moves can be done anywhere, even on vacation.

Two of my favorite functional moves are squats and lunges.  Done correctly, these moves can strengthen many muscles in the lower body as well as improve balance.  The main thing to remember when doing these moves is the knees do not go over the toes.  Be careful of the knees turning inward, as the knees should point straight ahead.  The back should have a natural curve as you lower down.  Remember form is everything, keep the posture aligned by not over arching or rounding the back.  At first, try two sets of 10 and then work up to two sets of 15.  These are endurance muscles so the more repetitions equal big bonus benefits in endurance for daily life activities.  Other functional movements are standing heel raises with the arms reaching overhead.  As you lift your heels, reach your arms straight up over your head.  Hold for a count of three and slowly lover down.  Keep a neutral spine, abdominals contracted and really elongate your body as you reach the arms up.   Try to do 2 sets of 10-15 repetitions.

Lastly, standing knee raises will get your heart pumping, increase your balance and stamina as well.  Reach your arms overhead, as you lift one knee bend the arms and bring them to your knee.  Repeat 20 times.

These are a few functional moves to get you started on your way to a more fit and healthy body.  While there are many more, start with these and try to do them 2 to 3 times a week.  The consistency of doing these exercises will improve strength, endurance and balance.  For more information about health and fitness, please contact:  Kay Colgan, Middleburg Pilates and Personal Training, 14 S Madison Street, Middleburg, Virginia, or call 540-687-6995.