Are you functionally fit?

It's having the strength and motor skills to carry out the activities that get you through each day.

You may think of exercise as something you do to keep your heart and lungs healthy or to maintain your weight, and those are great benefits. But exercise is also important to keep you functioning throughout your day, whether you're carrying a laundry basket or playing with your grandkids. The ability to do such ordinary activities is called "functional" fitness, and programs to help people stay functionally fit are a top trend in the exercise world, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Yet many older adults aren't aware of this type of exercise program. "It's not on people's radar," says Clare Safran-Norton, clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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