There is more to exercising than what you probably know. For instance, even when you have spent a day at the gym, busting out your leg presses, bicep curls, or calf raises, you may still find it difficult to go up six flights of stairs or lift a heavy suitcase overhead.

Experts say these examples above happen because most people only focus on the types of exercises that isolate muscles such as the quads, biceps, glutes or triceps. In order to make use of your fitness regimen in real life, you must allow your muscles to work as a whole. This practical use of exercise is called functional fitness.

What better way to get into functional exercising than during and after the holidays, right? It's like hitting two birds with one stone. You can shed off the pounds you've gained from the holiday rush, and at the same time, help yourself become more fit for everyday situations.

Here are the kinds of functional exercises you should do to burn excess holiday calories.

1. Burpees

This is one of the hardest forms of exercises out of the bunch, but it's also the most effective. With burpees, you don't need any equipment, but you definitely will need willpower. Experts say 60 sets of 10 burpees can shed up to 300 calories, depending on your BMI and current fitness.

Burpees are a combination of squat jumps and pushups. This exercise can result in a calorie burn that is higher than most functional exercises.

To perform burpees, you must stand with your feet about hip-width apart, and then squat to the floor. Put your hands on the floor in front of you, and then jump to your feet out behind you so you could be in a pushup position. Lower your body to do a pushup and then return to the squat position as fast as you can. Jump straight in the air and repeat the process.

2. Squat Jumps

Squat jumps require repeated rapid contracting and stretching of muscles. These can efficiently increase a person's heart rate, build strength and burn calories. You don't need any special skills to do squat jumps, as long as your pair of shoes can last for multiple sessions.

For squat jumps, you must stand up and then go into a squat position where your hips are back, back straight and head is forward. Jump up and stretch your hands high. Land in the original position, swing your arms, and repeat the cycle.

3. Jump Rope

Jump rope can burn up to 220 calories within 20 minutes. This exercise is good for your cardiovascular health. Obviously, you will need a jump rope to perform this exercise. The great thing about it is that you can do this exercise anywhere.

4. Jogging and Stairs Walking

As long as you have stairs in your house, you're all set for this exercise. If you don't, you can go to a park or your high school stadium to perform this exercise.

Jogging up the stairs is known to burn up at least 150 calories in 15 minutes. It's also very easy, and you could immediately incorporate the exercise to your daily routine.

5. Mountain Climbers

With this exercise, you don't need to be a mountain climbing expert or even a mountain, but you will need a floor.

To perform this exercise, you need to begin in a pushup position on your toes and hands. Move your right knee toward the chest, resting it on the foot on the floor. Once in that position, jump up and then bring the left knee forward and the right back.

Make sure to engage the lower abdomen as you switch the position of your feet while in the air. This very cool exercise strengthens your core, improves your endurance and builds your strength.

If you've tried these exercises at home and had fun doing them, then you can officially begin your functional fitness routine.

Photo: Asher Isbucker | Flickr

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