The next time you’re getting ready to work out, instead of putting on your workout clothes, grabbing your running shoes, or driving to the gym, get a functional fitness workout by doing that household project you’ve been putting off.
Functional fitness and household projects?
Some household project possibilities: repair a fence, wash windows, mop the floors, clean baseboards, dust ceiling fans, clean a closet, organize the pantry, rearrange your furniture, re-tile the floor, and many more.
Tackling these types of projects not only gives you the satisfaction of checking them off your to-do list, but it’s a great way to get your body moving, to practice one of the main benefits of full-body workouts – functional movement.
Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re getting into.
The little project that grew
Now, let me first say, I’m not big into house cleaning. I figure when I’m dead and gone, no one’s going to be talking about how clean I kept my house. Let’s just say that getting my workouts in is way higher on my priority list than deep cleaning. I strive for tidy, not spotless.
But my husband and I were hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the family and we wanted to get our house guest-ready. One of the things I really wanted to do was wash the windows, which were long overdue for a serious washing.
I knew it would be a tricky project. Some of the windows are so high they’re hard to reach even with a 20-foot ladder, so I had no intention of even attempting to do those hard to reach windows.
I decided to do one easy-to-reach window, but once we got started, the small one-window project turned into a we-might-as-well-do-them-all kind of project. Our projected 20-minute project turned into more than 2 hours of going up and down the ladder, scrubbing, stretching, and lifting. It was a full-body workout using core strength and balance.
Through my window washing experience, I experienced firsthand how functional fitness workouts offer major benefits when you need to get stuff done. DIY, of course.
What’s Functional Fitness?
When we started the window-washing project, we hadn’t planned on it taking hours. But when we saw what a difference it was making, we were determined to do as much as we could. Sure, we were tired, but our windows looked amazing. We still had lots of cooking, setting up, and prepping to do for our holiday meal and would be working for hours. Endurance training helps condition for those days when you have a long, physically demanding to-do list.
Working out regularly helps improve balance and improve functional fitness in every day movement. Especially as we age, balance becomes more critical. Older people have a higher tendency to lose balance, putting us at higher risk for injury by falling down. Working out regularly helps improve balance and is great for every day movement, like walking, and when tackling home improvement projects.
An easy way to increase core strength is to keep proper body alignment. Stand up straight, instead of hunched over, and keep shoulders up back and down. Engaging abdominals and maintaining good posture is a simple way to build core strength so that you’re better able to move well, protect your back, and improve balance.
Lifting and moving things like furniture or boxes, carrying grocery bags, carrying a child, or any number of things we do every day require strength. Strength training can mean lifting weights or using your body weight, such as doing push ups, sit up, and squats.
An often overlooked component of a workout is regular stretching. Stretching every day helps keep your muscles engaged and your joints limber. It’s an important aspect of functional movement of all kinds.
Functional fitness is exactly what it sounds like – moving your body efficiently for whatever purpose you desire, for whatever you want to do.
Take care of your body so that you’re able to continue to enjoy independence, strength, and mobility for life. And you’re better able to get stuff done!
I’d love to hear your experiences with functional fitness and household projects. Feel free to share in the comments.