Functional movements mimic everyday activities and involve using multiple joints and muscle groups rather than isolating individual muscles. They help build strength, flexibility, and other physical attributes necessary for daily tasks, recreational activities, and sports performance. Physical therapy yoga is a functional movement that combines the principles of physical therapy and yoga to improve overall functionality. Here are seven reasons why functional movement exercises are beneficial:
1. Improved Strength
You need strength to perform daily tasks like carrying groceries, lifting heavy objects, and pushing or pulling items. Functional movement exercises work multiple muscle groups, challenging them to work together and build strength. Lifting heavier objects or completing repetitive tasks becomes easier without straining yourself. Physical therapy yoga incorporates poses that engage the core, arms, and legs to improve overall strength. It uses the body’s weight as resistance, eliminating the need for equipment and making it accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels.
2. Enhanced Flexibility
As we age, our bodies become stiffer and less flexible. That makes it harder to perform simple activities like reaching for items on a high shelf or bending down to tie our shoes. Functional movement exercises promote flexibility by stretching and lengthening muscles, improving range of motion. Yoga includes dynamic stretches that target various muscle groups and increase their flexibility. It also helps reduce stiffness and improve mobility to make daily tasks more manageable. Whether you’re an athlete or someone looking to improve their overall physical function, flexibility can help improve performance.
3. Better Balance and Coordination
Strengthened balancing abilities can make you less likely to fall and get injured. Functional movement exercises challenge balance by incorporating single-leg movements, unstable surfaces, and other balance-focused activities. Physical therapy yoga includes standing balances, one-legged poses, and arm balances to improve overall balance and stability. Better balance also translates into improved coordination, making it easier to perform daily tasks that require simultaneous use of different body parts.
4. Increased Endurance
Endurance is the ability to sustain physical activity over a prolonged period without getting tired. A body with good endurance can perform tasks longer without feeling exhausted. When performing yoga, you hold poses for extended periods. That trains your body to withstand physical demands and maintain energy. As you continue practicing, your endurance increases, and handling daily tasks becomes more manageable. You can carry groceries, walk longer distances, or participate in sports without getting winded as easily.
5. Improved Posture
Poor posture can lead to musculoskeletal issues like back pain, neck strain, and joint problems. Functional movement exercises train the body to maintain proper alignment and engage core muscles to support spine health. Yoga incorporates poses that improve posture, such as downward-facing dog, plank, and cobra. These poses strengthen the back muscles and encourage proper spine alignment, reducing strain on the neck and back.
6. Better Injury Prevention and Recovery
Repetitive strain injuries are common among those who perform the same physical tasks daily. Functional movement helps prevent these injuries by strengthening weak muscles and improving one’s range of motion. It also aids injury recovery by promoting blood flow and improving joint mobility. Physical therapy yoga mainly benefits those recovering from injuries by offering low-impact movements that can be modified to fit individual needs. If you’re prone to injuries or recovering from one, incorporating functional movements into your routine can help prevent future setbacks.
7. Improved Mental and Emotional Well-being
Functional movement exercises offer numerous mental and emotional benefits. Yoga helps reduce stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and mindfulness. Physical therapy yoga further enhances this by incorporating physical rehabilitation principles to help manage chronic pain or injuries. Feeling physically stronger and more capable of completing daily tasks can boost your confidence. Regular physical activity also releases endorphins to improve moods and overall emotional well-being. After a functional movement session, you may feel more energized, focused, and motivated.
Try Physical Therapy Yoga for Functional Movement
Functional movement exercises offer a holistic approach to improving overall functionality and quality of life. Physical therapy yoga combines the benefits of physical therapy and yoga to improve their strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance. It also aids injury prevention and recovery while promoting mental and emotional well-being. Whether you want to improve your daily function or enhance athletic performance, incorporating functional movement into your routine can help you achieve your goals. Seek a knowledgeable yoga practitioner certified in physical therapy movements to get started today.