There is one piece of fitness equipment that is convenient, costs nothing, and requires little maintenance. It is you.
Resistance or weight training is vital to maintain muscle mass, which we lose over time. The fancy word for it is sarcopenia. It is a medical term for the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. It can affect your ability to perform daily activities, increase your risk of falls and fractures, and reduce your quality of life. Some of the symptoms of sarcopenia are muscle weakness, loss of stamina, and difficulty with physical tasks. Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you will still have some muscle loss.
Body-weight exercises are a form of resistance training because your own body provides the resistance. They are a fantastic way to slow the loss of muscle mass and stay fit and healthy. They are adaptable, efficient, and effective, and can help you build a muscular physique with little to no equipment.
Your body-weight routine needs five movements from each of these categories: push (pressing away from you), pull (tugging toward you), hip-hinge (bending from the middle), squat (flexing at the knee), and plank (stabilizing your core).
Some examples of body-weight exercises are squats, pushups off a wall or ground, lunges, planks, burpees, and sit-ups. Many of these exercises combine the upper and lower body, for a full-body workout. When you do them quickly, with little rest in between, you can also get the advantage of a cardiovascular condition.
In a small study of active people in their sixties, Japanese researchers found that a workout consisting of eight simple lower-body exercises increased the participants’ muscle strength and power by about 15% after 10 months. Those gains occurred during the time of life when muscle mass, strength, and power were often declining. It is even more amazing that the participants achieved these gains by doing only six workouts a month.
Here are some of the main benefits of body-weight exercises:
Body-weight exercises are incredibly convenient as they can be done anywhere, anytime, without the need for any equipment. You can exercise in your kitchen while you are waiting for dinner to cook, in your bedroom when you wake up, or on vacation in your hotel room. You completely eliminate the excuse, “I don’t have time to go to the gym.”
Free weight or machine exercises often isolate one muscle or muscle group. Most body-weight exercises work multiple muscles and joints at once, similar to how our body moves in everyday life. This can make body-weight exercises more functional.
With body-weight exercise, there’s nothing to buy other than a pair of sneakers. You might utilize household items such as your stairs, a chair, or a counter, but you don’t need weights or an expensive gym membership.
Some people are intimidated by going to a gym with lots of unfamiliar equipment and buff young people in skintight workout clothes. Body-weight exercises can be done in the privacy of your home, eliminating that fear factor.
Increases Flexibility and Improves Balance
When you’re performing a body-weight exercise, your body is stabilizing itself. This strengthens the muscles and stretches the ligaments and tendons that help you stay balanced while doing everyday activities like walking or standing up from a chair. Training your body this way can especially help in preventing injury.
Excellent for all fitness levels, body-weight exercises challenge muscles and help build strength. They don't require much time or space, so they're perfect for adding in smaller chunks throughout the day. As you improve, you can challenge yourself by increasing repetitions and intensity. Doing body-weight exercises daily can have fantastic health benefits, including boosted energy and improved muscle tone, mobility, flexibility, and overall strength. So take advantage of the best piece of fitness equipment you will ever own.