(F.I.T.) Functional Integrative Training
Apr 30, 2016
Qigong for Functional Fitness
May is Exercise is Medicine® Month: Why not try Qigong for Functional Fitness?
Exercise is finally being appreciated as a very valuable tool to maintain or improve an individual’s health and functional fitness. Functional fitness is the fitness necessary to function optimally throughout your day. And what could happen in a day? Everything from rising from bed, making the bed, chasing/preparing the kids for school, walking/sitting (here and there), chasing/picking up the kids from school, grocery shopping, doing laundry/dishes… I could go on and on. What does all of this require – ENERGY!
All physical endeavors require energy. This is nothing new. In fact several thousand years ago practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine collaborated with philosophers and marital artists of that era to develop what was then called Dao Yin exercises to be able to not only function better but also to survive. Today these exercises are called Qigong Exercises. Qi literally means the energy derived from eating rice and breathing (sustenance). Qong is the operative word in this blog as it means “to put in effort over time” or exercise.
Not that walking, running, and riding bikes aren’t good exercises, they are just not enough because they are generally performed in one only direction (forward) and therefore are not addressing all the muscles and joints of the body in multiple directions. By the way you have over six hundred muscles and 230 joints. In order to address all the muscles/joints of the body and improve upon our functional abilities we need to engage in functional exercises. These types of exercises, such as CrossFit, are now becoming more popular in fitness facilities.
What I recommend is getting back to nature for maintaining your functional fitness.
The exercises of Qigong were based on observing nature. The types of exercises performed in qigong are exercises derived from watching animals such as the horse, the tiger, the bear, the crane, and even the turtle. By moving like these animals you will be sure to move in all directions utilizing multiple muscle groups as well as engaging in activities that challenge your functional coordination and dynamic balance. So if you’re looking to improve your functional fitness start by “crouching like a tiger” each time you rise up from deep couch sitting.
John Burns DPT, MSOM, Dipl-Ac