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The term functional training has been thrown around by gym coaches and personal trainers for years.
Like many, we have just gone along with it not paying much attention to the meaning of functional training. Rather we have continued to count down the minutes of class or till we have been at the gym long enough to justify paying gym fees.
But functional training is actually beneficial and goes beyond fitness. The main objective of functional training is to use exercise to mimic everyday movements allowing you to build strength, making everyday tasks and movements easier.
Rehabilitation patients have been using functional training for years to repair their body and allow them to perform everyday tasks.
This training method improves your strength, prevents injuries and allows you to correct mistakes that can be causing stress and pain to your body throughout the day.
Along with functional training comes endless talk of our fascia. However, many of us are confused about what the fascia actually is.
What is the Fascia?
The fascia is the connective tissue within the body; it is what gives your body shape and the ability to move freely.
Along with all parts of our body, it is essential that we maintain and take care of our fascia. Being hydrated is the first step, we all know the benefits of drinking water, but it is also important to move the water around your body, so it can reach all parts of your fascia.
Our fascia is like a sponge, when it is dry, it becomes brittle and hard to use, but when it is wet you can move the sponge in any direction, with it returning back to its original shape.
The only way we can achieve this level of freedom is to drink water and to move. We have to roll our body, applying pressure to push the water around while releasing the tension built up in our muscles and fascia.
Benefits of maintaining our fascia:
- Messages can move and pass correctly through the body
- Improved posture
- Improved performance during exercise and day to day activities
- Improved core strength
- Improved circulation
It’s important that we maintain our fascia and utilise functional training, but for many of us, we are unsure how to do this.
Doing this is easy it requires only a little bit of effort and time.
Four Easy Tips to Maintaining Your Fascia With Functional Exercise
Roll it out!
The easiest way to ensure that the water reaches all areas of your fascia is to roll your body.
Doing this is so simple all you need is a foam roller. By rolling over the roller not only do you give yourself a deep tissue massage releasing any built up tension, but you also push the water around your body.
When rolling it’s important you don’t focus on only one area.
This will overwork the section and result in the area being overworked and dehydrated. Rollers aren’t just to improve your fascia; they can be used in functional training as well.
They help improve flexibility and mobility, along with helping with pain relief and muscle regeneration.
Change it up!
When rolling don’t just stick to the same patterns and pace.
Before you exercise to activate your muscles roll over the foam roller faster. This will wake up your muscles and prepare them for the workout.
You should also change up the intensity of the pressure applied allowing you to reach all layers of the fascia.
Going in as many directions as possible will result in no areas left without hydration.
If you’re using the roller to release and rehydrate your fascia after a workout, it is better to roll slowly focusing on releasing your muscles and pushing the water around your body.
When you are at the gym talking to your instructor can be intimidating, but asking questions means you not only have a better workout but you gain knowledge and improve your skills and performance.
If you have pain in a particular area or a struggling with the movements required for day to day tasks, talk to your instructor.
They can provide you with functional training exercise that targets the area or mimics the movements required. Instructors are there to help you reach your potential and allow you to gain the most from your class or session.
Functional training works because it helps in more ways than just toning and fitness, but your instructors can only do so much.
If you don’t ask questions and talk to them about issues with your day to day movements they can’t provide solutions. Open communication will allow you to improve and focus on the areas you need.
Don’t forget to rest!
People tend to focus on their functional training and activating their fascia and forget about the recovery stage of exercising.
Resting and regenerating is just as important as exercise, you need to allow time for your body to process the new movements and return to a stable state.
During this period it’s important you rehydrate.
You can never drink too much water, especially after exercise. If you don’t drink water after a workout, you’re not allowing your fascia to hydrate properly or to its full capacity.
Allowing your fascia to hydrate fully is not only beneficial to your health but will allow you to improve your performance in the gym and in your day to day activities.
Functional training has gone beyond rehabilitation and into our gyms. Its purpose is to make day to day movements easier through mimicking their actions and who doesn’t want their day made just a little bit easier.
Taking care of our bodies including looking after our fascia and the process is simple. All you have to remember about your fascia is to hydrate and to move.
Drink water and roll it out.
Don’t let this get boring either, change it up and vary in pace, direction and intensity. Rolling it out won’t just improve your fascia but also your performance and flexibility.
Claudia is a freelance health and fitness writer currently living in Perth, Australia. She is a yoga fanatic and decided to learn behind the scientific principles of stretching and rolling through training and engaging with Blackroll Australia.
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