The whole idea behind functional fitness is training your muscles to work similarly in the gym as they do in your everyday life (think: when you walk up the stairs or carry heavy grocery bags). There are seven types of movement that fall under the functional fitness umbrella, and there's one Pilates exercise in particular that gives you a whopping three of them in one fell swoop.
In this episode of The Right Way, East River Pilates pro Brian Spencer walks us through the right way to do a Pilates scooter. This compound movement combines a squat (which helps your body learn to move easily from seated to standing), a lunge (which works your muscles and joints in different planes of motion to help with climbing stairs or walking up hills), and a hinge (which is critical for things that require you to bend down to the ground, like tying your shoes or picking something up off the floor). Like all Pilates moves, it challenges your balance, and though it looks fairly simple, it gets into the small fibers of your muscles in a way that will leave your lower body shaking.
Simply put, the exercise involves standing solid on one leg while "scooting" the other forward and backward behind you. "This is such a great exercise for keeping our pelvic and knee stability nice and alive, and helping our low back stay out of the equation as we weight change and go through our daily life," he says.
Your knees and lower back are among the most injury-prone areas as you get older, so it's wise to start thinking about strengthening them early on. Additionally, keeping a strong pelvic floor can "help maintain sexual, bowel, and bladder functions, and prevent things like pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence," Amy Hoover, DPT, a physical therapist with P.volve, previously told Well+Good. With the Pilates scooter, you'll be able to target all three of these spots in a single exercise while also putting your functional fitness to the test.
Ready to work this exercise into your routine for the long haul? Press play on the video above to follow along with Spencer's full tutorial.
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