At Bonfire we recognize and advocate that being physically fit is one of the major cornerstones of being healthy. Physical fitness does, however, incorporate a wide spectrum of concepts, theories and elements.
In addition to the many, many benefits that being physically fit creates within the realm of being healthy, we also recognize that life is filled with unpredictable physical events that require simple to complex body movements at any given moment. Not only do we want our bodies to be able to handle these unpredictable life events without injury, but we want our level of physical fitness to enable us to negotiate them with great success throughout our lives, as did our fit ancestors.
The term functional fitness is one that simultaneously defines, describes and includes the “holistic” physical fitness objective within the Bonfire Program, which could also be called “life fitness.” It means doing exercises or activities that imitate “real life,” full body movements through wide ranges of motion. It could be described as Compounding Fitness. It is a form of fitness designed NOT to isolate particular muscle groups or body parts. For example, rather than performing a “bicep curl” on a machine, a functional movement exercise would be to lift a weighted object off the ground from a squatting position to a standing position, holding the object overhead – all done with careful attention paid to safe and proper body biomechanics and posture techniques.
“Functional movements are natural, effective, and efficient locomotors of body and external objects. Functional movements are compound movements – i.e., they are multi-joint. But no aspect of functional movements is more important than their capacity to move large loads over long distances, and to do so quickly. We believe that preparation for random physical challenges (i.e., unknown and unknowable events) is at odds with fixed, predictable, and routine regimens.” [http://www.crossfit.com]
Finally, a fitness regimen incorporating functional movements can be had by anyone, at any level, and at any age. It doesn’t require elaborate equipment or facilities; it does, however, require effort. Functional fitness is not, contrary to popular belief, confined to elite athletes or “strongmen.”
Here are two more great articles on this subject:
Being Fit vs. Being Healthy: The 10 Facets of Physical Fitness
Short Interval, High Intensity Exercise