By Tonya Townsell, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsMay 1, 2015
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- While you might be hearing a lot about "functional fitness," there is good reason: Functional fitness trains the body to handle real-life situations.
The idea is that even if a person is toned and fit, it doesn't mean he or she might not get injured during daily activities, such as carrying groceries or lifting a 16 month old in and out of a car seat.
Now take that idea a step further and apply it to warfighters.
According to MayoClinic.org, functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work, in sports, or, in the military's case, on deployment. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.
So, certainly in daily situations, but especially in deployed situations, service members need fitness options that lower the risk of injury.
On April 7 the Presidio of Monterey opened its own functional fitness facility to help service members do exactly that: lower the risk while improving fitness.
So, while the Presidio of Monterey's Price Fitness Center was already well equipped with traditional resistance and cardio training equipment, functional fitness is now an option.
Bob Emanuel, director of the Presidio's Family and Morale, Welfare & Recreation, said that through a generous donation by the Colligan Family from Santa Cruz, along with some equipment provided through the Army's Bulk Buy Program, the Presidio of Monterey Garrison was able to acquire all the right gear to create this state-of-the-art functional fitness facility.
His explanation for the facility was a question: While a Soldier may be able to bench press 400 pounds from a controlled situation, is he or she able to move other heavy, cumbersome equipment across rough terrain under less-than-perfect conditions?
Functional exercises tend to be multijoint, multimuscle exercises, MayoClinic.org explains. Instead of only moving the elbows, for example, a functional exercise might involve the elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles, the website says, adding that this type of training, properly applied, can make everyday activities easier, reduce risk of injury and improve quality of life.
The Army, Emanuel said, has learned after more than a decade at war that Soldiers needed more than just the traditional gym equipment to maximize their physical fitness and to tune it for their actual job.
The functional fitness area equipment includes bumper plates, multiple apparatus for pull-ups and muscle-ups, lifting platform, jump boxes, boxing equipment, rowing machines, abdominal equipment, many more barbells and racks, new flooring and more.
"This area has immediately become extremely popular with the troops and is now getting more use than any of the other fitness rooms in Price Fitness Center," Emanuel said.