Day 2. Body Weight Exercise
The Amazing Benefits of Bodyweight Exercise
So here’s a little secret the exercise industry doesn’t want you to know about: You don’t need fancy equipment to exercise.
You don’t need an expensive rack of free weights. You don’t need a bulky cardio machine. You don’t need an exercise ball, a resistance band, or a $200 pair of running shoes.
All you need is yourself.
Body weight exercises are the most basic way to get fit. They’re also one of the best. Exercise equipment has its place, but just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s better than your own body. When you know how to get fit on your own, without a gym, without a trainer, and without all that equipment, nothing can stop you from reaching your goals.
Still not convinced? Here’s everything you need to know about what body weight exercises are and why they’re such a valuable part of our Get Fit 21 challenge.
Body Weight Exercise 101
Body weight exercises are exercises you can use to build strength. The only thing you need is your body. By moving in different ways, you challenge your body to build muscle, burn calories, and gain strength.
But why bother?
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that everyone add strength training to their fitness program.1 Strength training helps you burn calories more efficiently, helps manage chronic conditions such as back pain and arthritis, and strengthens your bones.
While you can certainly gain strength using free weights, barbells, or weight machines, there are a number of benefits to body weight exercises that you can’t get any other way. That’s why this type of exercise is such a big part of the GetFit21 Challenge.
The Benefits of Body Weight Exercise
1. Build Muscle: When you exercise using your body weight, you gain muscle. Because you’re using your whole body as you exercise, you’ll gain strength and burn calories very efficiently. Bodyweight exercises are particularly effective in building muscles in your core, which leads to better posture and greater stamina.
2. Lower Risk of Injuries: Bodyweight exercise has a much lower risk of injury than other techniques. That’s because you can easily make adjustments based on your age, experience, and level of fitness. Some bodyweight exercises are actually used to help people recover from injury, so you can be sure no matter what your fitness level is, you can engage in bodyweight exercise safely.
3. Better Heart Health: Any kind of exercise is going to help your heart pump blood more effectively. This will help you naturally enjoy better circulation and lower blood pressure. But many doctors recommend bodyweight exercise in particular to patients who are recovering from heart attacks.2 Why? It’s the perfect way to build heart strength and endurance without risking further damage.
4. Exercise Anywhere, Anytime: No excuses! If you’re prone to finding excuses to skip out on your exercise routine, you’re not alone. But now you’re also out of excuses! Because bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and at any time, there’s no reason to miss a work- out ever again.
5. They Form the Foundation of Other Exercises: It doesn’t matter if your fitness goals are big or small, understanding how to use your body to build strength and endurance is the first step to reaching them. Once you can push yourself to exercise and get fit without a personal trainer, exercise equipment, or any other form of outside help, you can push yourself to achieve just about any goal.
6. You Can Add Entertainment for More Fun: Doing bodyweight exercises on your own lets you make your own fun. You’re not stuck on a treadmill, in front of a TV, or talking to a personal trainer. Instead, you can exercise where and how you want. Record your favorite TV shows and watch them while exercising. Listen to music or an audiobook as you work out. Work out with a friend and motivate each other to do even better. Your workout is in your hands!
7. It’s Efficient, So You’ll Save on Time: Who has time to spend hours slogging
away on a treadmill? When you exercise using body weight, you exercise efficiently. There’s no switching from one piece of equipment to the next. You can move smoothly from working one group of muscles to another, with no transition time in between. The results? You’ll gain muscle and burn calories.
1. Dr. Esco, M. (2013). Resistance Training. American College of Sports Medicine. Retrieved from https:// www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/resistance-training.pdf
2. Adams, J., Cline, M., Reed, M., Masters, A., Ehlke, K., & Hartman, J. (2006). Importance of resis- tance training for patients after a cardiac event. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center), 19(3), 246–248. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1484533/)
8. Improved Flexibility: Bodyweight exercises encourage you to move muscles and joints you may not move otherwise. By putting your joints through their full range of movement, you’ll ensure they keep moving as they should without risking injury. Ask anyone who does yoga: strength training and flexibility can easily go hand in hand.
9. It is Challenging at Any Fitness Level: It doesn’t matter if you’re a former athlete or have never attempted to exercise in your life: bodyweight exercise is accessible to anyone. There are so many different types of movements available that you can easily find a routine that suits your fitness level. By speeding up or slowing down your motions you can create a more or less challenging workout. You can also choose to do more or fewer repetitions of a given exer- cise to build a routine suited to your needs.
10. You Can Change It Up, So You’ll Never Get Bored: If you think exercise is repetitive, you’ve never tried bodyweight exercises. There are hundreds of different exercises to choose from, all of which can be combined in a nearly infinite number of ways. When a routine starts to feel stale, switch it up.
11. It’s Free: You can get all of the benefits of bodyweight exercise without paying a penny. There are no barriers between you and a better life. As long as you’re committed to keeping up with your bodyweight exercise routine, you can and will improve your health, improve your body, and improve your wellbeing.
Bodyweight Exercise Can Change Your Life
Add up all of these benefits and you have a form of exercise that can unleash massive change in your life. We hope you’re as excited as we are about what bodyweight exercise can do.
If you have not reviewed GetFit21’s Bodyweight exercise guides, they are in the FILES section of your private Facebook group. They have been designed by fitness and bodyweight experts for all fitness levels.