Functional Body Weight Exercise
Functional exercise uses your own body weight, with minimal equipment, to achieve a good workout. It goal is to train your brain to control and balance your own body weight.
This form of exercise helps you to develop kinesthetic awareness and body control. You can get ideas for functional exercises from watching a video, or from participation in a group class. Think of what you can do in a home gym, without a lot of special equipment.
|"What is balance of body and mind? It is the conscious
control of all muscular movements of the body. It is the correct utilization
and application of the leverage principles afforded by the bones comprising
the skeletal framework of the body, a complete knowledge of the mechanism
of the body, and a full understanding of the principles of equilibrium
and gravity as applied to the movements of the body in motion, at rest
and in sleep."
--Joseph Pilates, Your Health, 1934.
Yoga - Both yoga and Pilates are being heavily hyped in bookstores as well as in the wellness community. Both terms can mean almost anything, today. The goal in yoga is not to become an authentic yogi recluse, but rather to increase your current level of activity. Regular practice of yoga will help you to enjoy your life more. Yoga has flaws, which a number of different individuals have attempted to improve upon over the years. In its most basic form, yoga is about stretching, as well as learning to balance and move your body weight around. Add Breathing exercises to increase your level of relaxation. Most modern forms of yoga do not stress meditation. You can practice a number of different styles that place emphasis on flexibility, relaxation, or strength.
Yoga is just another word for stretching. Increase your level of flexibility with yoga. All stretching routines are a variation upon yoga. You will never be able to fully participate in a group yoga class, however, unless your body is limber enough to perform a number of basic yoga positions. Hence, working on basic stretching is probably the best place for people to start their practice of yoga.
All forms of exercise that tend to place emphase upon movement, balance, and coordination can be considered a variation of Tai chi; such as Qi gong, movement styles of yoga, and even robotic pantomime. Tai chi is about performing a number of fixed movements in a fixed sequence that is usually referred to as the short form. Hence, being familiar with these Tai chi movements in advanced will greatly help you get through your first group class.
Pilates - Six basic principles apply to every Pilates exercise: breathing, precision, centering, flowing movement, control, and concentration. Pilates mat work incorporates elements of dance, yoga, and gymnastics; and emphasizes movement and core abdominal strength. This popular workout is the functional exercise that is most likely to improve your strength and to develop muscle mass.
Creative Functional Exercises
All functional exercises that try to build strength can be considered a variation of Pilates; such as strength styles of yoga, like power yoga, or various combinations of Pilates and yoga.
Beginners can start out with any book or video on Pilates. However, modern Pilates is designed not to be very physically demanding. Joseph Pilates' classical matwork of 34 exercises offers a very physically demanding workout, for those up to the challenge.
Swiss Ball - All Swiss, gym ball, exercise, stability, gymnastic, or flexiball excise routines are functional exercises that will improve your balance. This form of functional exercise has evolved to include the use of Swiss balls, balance boards, and other tools that help to create an unstable training environment.
Free Weights - Working out with free weights is a weight-control exercise. Machine based strength training is the most efficient way to improve your strength and develop muscle mass. Nevertheless, the price of working out with machines is that the exercise movements are very unnatural since the exerciser does not have to deal with the issues of balance, control, and exercise form. Adding basic free weight anaerobic exercise routines to your exercise program will force your body to deal with balancing and controlling the free weights as well as proper exercise form. Dumbbell free weight exercises can, also, be performed on a Swiss ball instead of a bench for improved body-weight control.
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