What are the benefits to choosing to move in natural and functional ways when exercising?
More Muscles Working Together in a Functional Way
If you’re going to be spending time exercising, you may as well be moving in ways that help you function better in every day life! For example, if you’re trying to strengthen your quads, you can do an isolated quad exercise on a leg extension machine at the gym. But this movement is not something that we often do in our every day lives. Lunges carry over into gait and strengthen the quads along with other muscle groups in a very functional way. Functional movements involve several muscles working together, so you get a lot more back for the time put in! Here is a video describing benefits of half kneeling and lunge:
They Are in your DNA
Natural movements should feel like they are movements you are meant to be doing, because THEY ARE! These are not foreign positions you are trying to put your body into. These movements should feel like they are something your body wants to be doing, because at some point IT DID! Just like babies learn how to pick their head up, roll over, prop up on elbows, crawl, kneel and stand before they walk without anyone teaching them. We can and should revisit these movements that are in our DNA, we were literally born to do them. Not all natural movements are developmental (movements babies practice), but many of them are. Practicing small segments of our walking pattern is one of my favorite ways to move. Since walking is how most of us get from point A to point B throughout our day, improving this can have a big affect on how we feel.
Counteract Modern Living
Natural functional movements help us counteract the effects of a modern lifestyle. Some of the detriments to modern living include sitting in chairs and wearing modern footwear (even typical sneakers can contribute to deficits in alignment, strength, flexibility in our feet and the rest of our body unless they are minimalist style). This affects our posture, the way we breathe, the way we use our bodies to walk and move around. Moving in functional patterns helps to counteract this so why not incorporate more of it into your daily movement routine?
Help Build a Stronger Foundation
Being proficient at functional movement helps you to build athleticism on a stronger foundation. If you have difficulty with some basic functional movements (most of us do), then adding more complex athletic movements is causing us to compensate and can contribute to pain, injury and decreased performance. It is like writing a check out for more than you have in your account, and eventually there is a price to pay!
I highly encourage you to add more functional movement practice to your daily routine, you should feel positive changes if you are consistent!