Whether you’re a gym goer or not, there is nothing to counter the fact that our bodies need exercise. We weren’t made to sit for 8-10 hours a day, yet most of us do just that for work. Did you know that all this sitting doesn’t just mean your muscles get weaker, but your bones do too? Don’t sweat it because we have some information that is going to help you turn that right around! Let’s discuss why bodyweight exercises are so good for you. Are you ready? Bunker down, get into a plank position, and dive in. Nah! I’m only kidding… or am I? Dealers choice!
If you’re in a plank position right now, great work! You only have to hold it for another 2 minutes (estimated reading time). All that joking aside, bodyweight exercise is very effective. Much like other types of exercise, it lowers heart disease, obesity, strengthens your muscles, and also does one other particularly special thing.
Bodyweight exercise helps improve your bone density. That’s right! It has been scientifically proven that weight bearing activities put stress on your bones. This stress isn’t bad! It encourages bone forming cells to wake up and start reproducing. The tugging and pushing on the bone that occurs when we do things like push ups, planks, squats, side lunges, step ups, even walking, and running is what causes this to happen. This is really important because as we age and have increased sedentary lifestyles our bones start to lose their density. That makes them more fragile and susceptible to fracturing. Often called the “silent disease”, osteoporosis is very prevalent. Approximately 54 million Americans are at risk of breaking a bone due to low bone density with 10 million of them being clinically diagnosed with osteoporosis (1). Make sure you’re protecting yourself by adding some weight bearing exercises into your routine!
When doing bodyweight exercises you have to think about a lot of different things at once. It’s not just about isolating a particular muscle. Instead, you’re using your core and usually engaging groups of muscles at a time. Because you’re not being supported in a chair or apparatus like some machines, you’re not just strengthening your core but challenging and improving your core stability!
This type of exercise isn’t just about engaging multiple muscles at once, but it’s about functional fitness. The goal is to improve movement patterns. At Mobility-Doc moving well so we can move often is our passion. We have a whole fitness class just for it! (Try MDFit here) It’s really important to have the proper techniques and ability to engage the muscles you’re targeting before adding weight. Improper body mechanics leads directly to injury. Even walking the wrong way can add compounding stress on your joints that eventually leads to muscle imbalance eventually causing discomfort or injury. By solidifying proper movement patterns with bodyweight exercise, you’re not only teaching yourself better technique but you’re preventing injury!
My favorite part about this type of exercise is your limitless ability to come up with variations. Bodyweight exercise is great for anyone who is just getting started on their fitness journey to pro’s that have been working out their whole lives. Let’s use push ups as an example. You can start with elevated push ups. This means you’re adjusting the relationship of your upper and lower body to lessen the angle (feet on the ground, hands on a table/bench/chair etc). This makes it easier to do and takes stress off your joints. As an opposite extreme we can try handstand push ups. Different muscle groups, I know, but you can still see the change in difficulty!
You also have the ability to target different types of fitness by changing the amount of reps you’re doing or the duration and your pace. The sky’s the limit with this type of workout! You just need to understand how to get the results you want.
Lastly, who can complain about this type of exercise being free, at your own doorstep, and the only thing getting in the way is yourself. No gym? No problem! You don’t need to go anywhere, feel intimidated or self conscious about people watching you, and you just need some floor space. No longer is that excuse of “I don’t have time to go to the gym” holding you back. Best of all, you don’t need hours to still get in a good and effective workout.
Here are a few of our favorite bodyweight exercises! You can do these together, separately, or add them into your usual routine!
It is generally recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. That equates to about 21 minutes a day! Make sure you’re staying healthy by getting out (or staying in!) and exercising to support your muscles, bones, and heart.
If you’re looking to take the guesswork out of your workout, check out all of our online programs! We have everything from our social media that teaches you how to move well (MDEdu) to our paid online class that has 3 workouts a week (MDFit). Become a better mover with us so you can get more from what you love doing.