Are Squats and Lunges Functional Exercises?

Arthur Saxon performing a bent press.
Image via Wikipedia

What exactly does functional fitness mean? What are functional exercises? And why should you care?

To me, functional means it helps you do other activities, so in many ways all exercises are functional if they do anything to make you more capable of moving well in other areas of your life. For example, general cardio and strength training will make it easier to walk around without being tired.

Where fitness professional differ is in what exercises they refer to as "functional". I recently had a client tell me that because of her back and knee issues she shouldn't do squats and lunges. Really? If you never squat how do get up and down out of chair or the toilet? If you never lunge how will you be able to climb stairs or walk up hills?

We need to be strong in the movements we need to do as a result of living, and squats and lunges are a part of life.