Does a workout that offers cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises without machines or other equipment and doesn't cost anything appeal to you? Wait, it gets better. You perform the exercises in the privacy of your own home or wherever you happen to be. All you need is your own body weight to provide the resistance, and, of course, a dash of motivation. Let's get started.
Six reasons to work body-weight exercises into your exercise routine:
1 Freedom of movement: It adds variety to your existing workout. There are so many variations within body-weight exercises, preventing boredom and adding fresh challenges to the body. And they are easily adaptable to any fitness level.
2 More calories burned: Many of the movements involve compound exercises, which are multijoint movements that target several muscle groups at one time.
3 Mix and match: Short on time? Create a cardio/strength combo workout by performing one or two minutes of a "cardio burst" (jumping jacks, phony jump ropes) and alternating that with strength exercises.
4 Takes core exercises to a new level: Some of the most effective core strengthening movements are body-weight exercises that involve multiple muscles throughout the torso, all contracting and working together at the same time.
5 Increased flexibility: The exercises will take you through a full range of motion, loosening up the joints and improving posture; yoga is a good example of a body-weight-based exercise that encourages flexibility while developing strength.
6 Improves balance: You can add a "balance challenge" to many movements. An example would be to perform a one-legged squat instead of standing on both feet. Beginners may hold onto a support.
Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but can't respond to individual inquiries. Reach her at [email protected]