Get Fit and Healthy at Home with Bodyweight Exercise

Did you know that you’re walking around with a powerful secret hidden beneath your clothes? It’s a membership to the most exclusive and accessible gym in the world, and it’s quite literally right there under your skin. Welcome to the concept of bodyweight exercise, where you don’t need fancy equipment or a pricey membership to build muscle and gain fitness.
The fact is, you are most likely completing common bodyweight exercises every day; think stair climbing, standing from a chair or pushing open a heavy door. For this reason, bodyweight exercise is commonly known as “functional” exercise because most bodyweight exercises work multiple muscles and joints at once, rather than training an isolated muscle or muscle group, mimicking everyday activities.
Research shows that bodyweight workouts result in more flexibility, less muscle pain and better posture than working out with weights. Plus, developing stronger muscles through bodyweight exercises can also increase your lean muscle mass and bone density, lower your resting blood pressure, boost your metabolism and may even improve your self-esteem and mood. 

What are Bodyweight Exercises? 

Common bodyweight exercises you can easily incorporate into your everyday life include: 
Walking: Walking is one of the most natural bodyweight exercises. It engages several muscle groups, including your legs, back, core and upper body as you swing your arms as you walk. Frequently taking a brisk 30-minute walk will help you reach your overall health and weight management goals, as well as improve your mental well-being.  
Squats: Whenever you sit down and stand up from a chair or a toilet, you’re essentially doing a squat. Squats engage your leg muscles and help improve lower body strength. For a deeper challenge, stand from a seated position on the floor, especially without pushing off from the floor with your hands. 
Push-Ups: When you push a heavy door open or get up from the ground, you’re performing a variation of a push-up. This exercise works your chest, shoulders and triceps. 
Planks: Maintaining good posture while sitting or standing engages your core muscles. Keeping your core engaged throughout the day will improve your core strength and can be done while multi-tasking. Try tucking your pelvis and engaging your lower core for 1-2 minutes at a time while driving, seated at your desk or on the couch at home. 
Calf Raises: When you rise up on your toes to reach for something high on a shelf or while waiting in line, you’re performing calf raises. Targeting your calf muscles can reduce the risk of ankle injuries, such as sprains and strains, and improve overall balance and stability during athletic activities and daily tasks. 
Balancing: Balancing on one foot while putting on your shoes or socks is an excellent way to improve your balance and engage your core, leg and back muscles. 
Wall Sits: Waiting in line or for an appointment? Lean against a wall with your legs at a 90-degree angle. Doing so is a great way to strengthen your quads, which can improve the stability of your knee, reduce your risk of knee injuries, improve your athletic performance and make everyday movements, like stair climbing, easier to do. 
Bicycle Crunches: While lying in bed or on the couch, you can mimic the motion of riding a bicycle by alternatively bringing your knees toward your chest and rotating your upper body, engaging your core muscles. This exercise can improve the flexibility of your spine and neck muscles, leading to better posture and reducing back pain and headaches caused by poor posture. 

Can I Do a Whole Workout of Bodyweight Exercises? 

Yes! With bodyweight exercises, you can typically complete a high-quality workout in less than 15 minutes. Most people find bodyweight exercises easy to do, and such exercise programs can help reduce common obstacles like lack of expensive gym memberships, free time and specific equipment, like weights or exercise machines, and can result in few injuries. 
Bodyweight exercises help you get results because they compound movements that engage several joints and muscles with each move. This makes exercises like push-ups and lunges super effective for improved strength and performance. 
HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is an exercise routine where you complete short intervals of high-intensity movement. The actual exercise varies, and can easily include bodyweight exercises, such as jumping jacks, lunges, squats, push-ups or burpees, sit-ups and high knees. Completing short bursts of activity, such as 10 jumping jacks, followed by a short period of rest has been shown to improve physical fitness and strength in a short amount of time. 
Please visit our education center, Learn.Amaze, for bodyweight exercises that target your upper body or lower body

The Bottom Line: 

The main benefit of bodyweight exercise is that 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 water to boil or in your hotel room when traveling. And studies have clearly shown that the more you move, the lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, multiple types of cancer, joint pain and Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise can also lift your mood, reduce your stress level and improve your sleep. Bodyweight exercise is no exception.   
Just like with any healthy habit, the key to success with bodyweight exercise is consistency. By starting with a small habit, especially one done after an activity you do every day, like brushing your teeth, and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts, you can significantly improve your strength and fitness.   

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