With its ample sunshine and many parks, Phoenix residents can exercise outdoors pretty much any time of the year—which might explain why they ranked as one of the Southwest’s fittest cities by Groupon purchases. But with the popularity of nature-friendly sports such as running, rock climbing, and swimming in the area comes a greater risk of injury. By performing exercises that mimic everyday movements, also known as functional exercises, athletes and casual exercisers alike can strengthen the muscle groups they use the most and potentially lower their injury risk. That’s where Phoenix CrossFit gyms can help. Classes at these Phoenix gyms might not be held exclusively outside, but they do concentrate entirely on functional fitness. The end goals are many: fewer injuries, more energy, a fitter appearance, and more confidence—in other words, better quality of life. Read on to see how you can incorporate functional fitness exercises of CrossFit into your own routine. Start slowRegardless of the intensity, it’s best to ease yourself into your new workout regime. Beginning with exercises that only use the body’s weight helps teach muscles proper form and keep them safe from injury. Once prepared, exercisers can add more resistance with weights, tubing, ropes, and other tools. Mimic everyday movements From shoveling snow to climbing stairs, people constantly carry out tasks that may seem mundane but can lead to serious injury if the body can't handle the workload. Functional fitness conditions the body to perform a range of simple tasks more easily and safely. Exercises commonly used in a functional-fitness regimen mimic such everyday movements: squatting to pick up a heavy object, lunging forward toward an out-of-reach ledge, or performing the motions of chopping wood. Target more than one muscle group—or the whole bodyWhereas a traditional curl targets the biceps by way of elbow movement, a functional exercise might incorporate the shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles, which trains the upper and lower body to work in unison with the aid of a tightened core. This integration allows the muscles to grow at a similar rate, gaining strength in a way that complements the way a person lives rather than the way they simply work out. Find a gym that suits youThough all CrossFit gyms follow the same basic routines, the instructors’ approach and the community culture can vary widely. Luckily, most CrossFit gyms offer free introductory classes that let you decide if they’re a good fit. Try these gyms on for size: CrossFit Full Strength | 3853 E. Thomas Rd.Elite CrossFit | 10165 E. Hampton Ave., MesaCrossFit PHX | 2200 N. Scottsdale Rd., ScottsdaleSol CrossFit | 3302 N. 24th St. Suite 103
Read More