Improve functional movement – move with ease + less risk of injury

By Jaconel Janssen

This was in 2005. I love teaching movement, it is a very rewarding and always developing field to be working in.

In 2015, I trained in the Pilates for Buff Bones system, a complete movement system for joint and bone health. It is a wonderful bone-strengthening and balance-enhancing workout, also improving posture, and overall strength — and it is safe for people with osteoporosis and arthritis. It contains elements of Pilates, somatics, therapeutic exercise and functional movement.

Functional movement - we hear this a lot. Simply put, functional movement is movement that has a function, a purpose. For most of us, functional movement training will help make daily activities easier, though it can also relate to sport.

But let’s think of daily activities, such as walking, squatting to pick up a heavy suitcase, pushing open a big door, or even getting in and out of a chair.

Seven movement patterns that our body relies on to get things done are squat, lunge, push, pull, hinge, twist, and walk. You can start strengthening these movements patterns, to help you do your daily activities with more ease, and less risk of injury. Why not use what is already there, in your house, garden or place of work?

I used a low, strong fence to do the following movements: squat, push and pull, calf stretch and seated twist.

A squat improves your ability to get up from the seated position and will also help you lift heavy objects off the floor, or out of the dishwasher, so you don’t bend over and use your lower back.

A push will help you with opening heavy doors, or come up from the floor. A pull will help with activities such as pulling wheelie bins. A regular calf stretch will help you walk better.

As always, do these movements slowly, with good posture and alignment, breathing naturally. Keeping ears aligned with your shoulders, hips and heels. Shoulders relaxed, back straight.

I no longer work in an office, but move between venues to teach movement. One of my places of work is the lovely First Fruits Arts Centre in Watergrasshill, where I teach a weekly chair-based class and where I took the photos.

The functional movements are not just simple exercises, they are complex movements that will improve your strength and mobility, memory and mood, and balance too. In other words, to help you function well.

Jaconel Janssen is a Pilates and Buff Bones teacher and founder of Pilates People Cork, a monthly outdoor class. For more information on classes or one-to-one sessions, visit or Facebook Pilates People Cork or contact or 085-1613505.