All exercise is beneficial. But even compared to other types of workouts, body-weight training has a lot to offer.
Not only does it provide an excellent workout, but it can also help you overcome some common excuses for avoiding exercise, like "I don’t have time to go to the gym" & "I don’t have equipment at home."
All you have to do is move your body.
#1 It’s convenient
No matter where you are, you’ve got your body, so you can start exercising anywhere, anytime — in your bedroom when you wake up, in the kitchen while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, in your hotel room when traveling.
#2 It’s inexpensive
There’s nothing to buy other than a pair of shoes. Better yet, go barefoot! You don’t need trendy gym clothing. You don’t even need a yoga mat, much less an expensive gym membership, although you can certainly do these workouts at the gym, too. You might want a few props, such as a chair, bench, or counter to modify some moves, but these are all items that you have on hand.
#3 No need to be self-conscious
You can do these exercises solo, in the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to walk into a gym.
#4 It’s effective
Research published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that, as a form of resistance training, body-weight exercise helps build muscle "independent of an external load."
But it does more than that. When Polish researchers looked at the effects of 10 weeks of body-weight exercises on various physical fitness parameters in a small group of young women, they found improvements in seven out of nine of the parameters. The biggest gains were in aerobic capacity, with a 33% improvement. Muscle endurance, particularly in the core, increased by 11%, while lower-body power posted a 6% gain. Even flexibility was better after the training.
#5 You don’t need to slog your guts
While it’s recommended to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines of 200mins per week, smaller amounts of body-weight exercise can also deliver results.
In a small study of active people in their 60s, Japanese researchers found that a workout consisting of eight simple lower-body exercises increased the participants’ muscle strength & power by about 15% after 10 months. That may not sound like much, but during this stage of life, strength & power are often declining. What’s more, the participants achieved these gains by doing only six workouts a month.
#6 It’s functional
Most body-weight exercises work multiple muscles at once rather than training an isolated muscle or muscle group, as many exercise machines & dumbbell exercises do. Therefore, body-weight exercises are considered more functional, using more muscles & joints at a time, engaging balance, & mimicking everyday activities.
#7 Choose the level that suits you
It may not be obvious how to do this at first. When you’re using your body as the weight, you can’t just remove 2 or 5 kg as you can with machines or dumbbells. But there are ways to modify moves to decrease or increase the resistance. You can adjust your body position—for example, doing push-ups against a wall rather than the floor—or you can change the number of times you repeat an exercise or modify the pace you’re working at. You can add plyometrics or isometric holds. There’s always variety!
#8 It’s good for your health
Literally thousands of studies have shown that the more you move, the lower your risks for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, multiple types of cancer, joint pain, & Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise can also lift your mood, reduce your stress level, & improve your sleep. Body-weight exercise is no exception.
Body-weight training might be the simplest way to safely become stronger, more flexible, & more energetic.
It can be easily adapted to fit a wide range of needs & fitness levels, & is the perfect form of exercise to help you look & feel younger ... prevent falls ... strengthen & protect your back, knees, hips ... fortify your stabilising core muscles for better posture ... & more.
So what are you waiting for?