It’s hard to keep up with the exercise industry. With a new trend rearing its fancy head every week, how can we be sure what’s legit and what’s hot air? One phrase you’ve probably heard of is functional training – exercise that replicates natural human movement to make our bodies and brains stronger. This type of training is not a fad: science has proven that it helps us function more efficiently in everyday life, without injury.
Functional fitness is nothing new – our ancestors have been doing it for centuries. From balancing and bending to skipping and striking, we can reverse the impact of hour-long train journeys and rickety office chairs that weaken our hips and ankles, eventually causing pain. Here are 4 functional leg exercises we suggest to prevent injuries to the hips and ankles.
This functional move increases your hips and ankles mobility, as well as harnessing core power and building strength in the body. Prevent knee, hip and lower back pain by doing it regularly:
Long hours on our butt can weaken our hips and switch off our glutes. This functional leg and lower body exercise will prevent them from weakening by opening up the hips and engaging your glutes (bonus: it gives you a brilliant backside, too).
Though sports are a common cause, many ankle injuries also arise from simple everyday situations. Putting the bin out, getting of the train, taking the dog for a walk. Functional exercise can help prevent sprains and ruptures by strengthening the muscles surrounding the ankle. One of them is the humble hop – only try this move if you do not have an existing injury.
When it comes to functional movements, squatting is king. Sadly, many avoid squats – for the very reason they should do them: to prevent potential injuries. Don’t forget that it’s important to start slowly and progress gradually until you master the movement.
Still having squat trouble? Read our guide to building a better squat, which goes deeper into tight hips and ankles, including more methods to mobilize them.