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Functional Fitness for Seniors

January 1, 2022

Can bring more ease while doing activities of daily living, or ADL’s

Activities of daily living, or ADL’s include things like grocery shopping, leaning over to pick up objects, walking, reaching high to retrieve something from a cabinet and more. For seniors, performing activities of daily living can become more difficult with age due to many variables. One thing that can be done to bring some ease to your day while doing these activities is functional fitness training.

What is Functional Fitness Training?

It includes exercises that mimic the movements of daily activities, such as bending down to tend to your garden or playing ball with grandkids. Functional fitness exercises are particularly helpful for adult seniors because they engage the major muscle groups that are needed to accomplish these common activities, train several muscle groups at once and in general require very little equipment.

Growing in Popularity

According to Kathryn Cunningham, Ageility fitness programming and training specialist, “Functional exercise has become more established in the fitness industry. It helps improve both stability and mobility. Done at a higher level, it can help athletes improve how they play sports, but we fitness trainers for older adults also find it useful for increasing one’s capacity to perform activities of daily living, ADL’s.”

Functional Exercise Examples

To plan and participate in an effective functional fitness routine, talk with a fitness professional, your primary care doctor or a physical therapist. Here are a few examples of what type of exercises one might practice in a functional fitness routine:

  1. To help seniors improve balance the following exercises may be recommended:
    1. Lunge (can help with climbing stairs or walking)
    2. Woodchop (can help with pivoting and changing directions)
    3. Rotations with exercise band (can help with pivoting and changing directions)
  2. To help seniors improve cardiovascular endurance, the following exercises may be recommended:
    1. Walking
    2. Swimming
    3. Cycling
  3. To help seniors improve overall strength the following may be recommended:
    1. Squat (can help with picking up objects from floor and lifting items)
    2. Push up (can help with rising from the floor, breaking a fall, improving overall upper body strength)
    3. Standing row (can help with pulling actions, lifting items, carrying heavy objects and more)

At Pisgah Valley, the Wellness Center class schedule offers a wide variety of group classes that include functional fitness exercises. The top three that come to mind are Balance and Flex, Stay Strong Strength, and Line Dancing (believe it or not). If group classes aren’t your thing, all of our classes are offered through Zoom and the Wellness Center is here for any one-on-one help you’d like. Call to set up an appointment with one of our trained staff to talk about functional fitness and what your goal is or what activities of daily living you are most interested in improving or maintaining.


By incorporating functional fitness into your weekly routine, you will reap the mental and physical benefits it has to offer in your day to day. You may even feel better than ever by building confidence, stronger joints, lower blood pressure and enhanced cognitive functioning!

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Pisgah Valley

6 Rhododendron Way
Candler, NC 28715


Pisgah Villa

102 Holcombe Cove Road
Candler, NC 28715


Pisgah Manor

104 Holcombe Cove Road
Candler, NC 28715