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By Dr. Mercola
Many exercise systems often sound great at first glance, but in reality simply will not make a good fit for your life. Thankfully, there is something else you can try called bodyweight exercise, which is so flexible that it answers every possible concern you might have, including time constraints, prohibitive cost, and location concerns.It got its name because your own body provides all the resistance needed to take you to the peak of fitness... and it does so at your own pace, without requiring a personal trainer to design the perfect system for your lifestyle and fitness level.You likely already know that exercise is necessary for good health and a long life. What is not always clear is how you should go about it. There are a countless number of different plans and theories about how to exercise.Of course researching and careful reflection is important, but it's confusing. What's the best plan? How hard or easy should your workout be? Then, there's the day-to-day reality, and the inevitable challenges of implementing an exercise regimen:Not enough time… The equipment is too expensive … Traveling to the gym or other facility … You like outdoor exercising, but it's snowing.Bodyweight exercises resolve all of these problems! You can do them anywhere, anytime, at your own pace and level, alone or with a friend—even if you and your friend are at different levels. It doesn't cost a single penny.Yet, you can get a perfect workout as if it had been designed just for you. That's because it has—you will have designed it yourself!It is not a newfangled idea. It's well researched, so you do not need to be concerned that you might hurt yourself. Bodyweight exercising uses your own body to provide resistance, so you do not even need weights—though you can use them if you wish. The method is not only effective, allowing you to train every muscle in your body, but is simple and let's you work out at your own pace.
In the Huffington Post Greatest series, Dave Smith discusses some of bodyweight exercising's benefits1.
- Workouts are highly efficient. As Dave points out, the goal is fitness, not to look like "Arnold circa 1977". No equipment means that there's minimal time transitioning from one exercise in your self-defined set to the next, so your heart rate is boosted quickly and keeps pumping.
- You get both cardiovascular and strength training. It is not necessary to do two separate workouts to achieve both types of fitness. Simply alternating exercise sets from cardiovascular to strength training keeps your pulse up.2
- Your core strength is improved. The Mayo Clinic tells us that 29 muscle pairs located in the pelvis, abdomen and lower back form the core that's needed to support your body and maintain balance.3 Your athletic ability, posture and all the little things you do every day—like just plain sitting or doing the laundry—will be improved when your core is strengthened and stabilized.4
- You'll be more flexible. Increased strength without improved flexibility won't do you much good. Good posture and athletic performance require good flexibility.5 Inability to stretch and bend is related to lack of flexibility.6
- Your balance will improve. As you progress into more difficult variations of exercises, your ability to balance is trained. Better balance helps give better body control.7 Since age and infirmity do not usually hinder performance of bodyweight exercises, they can be a great way for the elderly to maintain and improve balance.8
Almost Anyone Can Improve Fitness Health
Bodyweight exercise can be done by just about anyone. A study has documented that it benefits stroke patients.9 In fact, if bodyweight exercise can help someone who's suffered a major stroke and has difficulty walking, it's apparent that nearly anyone can benefit. Adaptability is what makes this system so good: It's adjustable to almost anyone, from the least fit to the professional athlete. Just learn the basics and try different approaches until you find what works best for you. If you get bored doing the same thing all the time, you can vary your workout. As your strength and endurance develop, you can modify the program. It's the ultimate personalized system—as if you had your own personal trainer. In fact, you do... yourself!
With Bodyweight Exercising, You Can Become Your Own Personal Trainer!
So how do you do it? Just watch this video of Jill Rodriguez, one of the personal trainers at Mercola.com, as she demonstrates basic exercises and how to add levels of difficulty as you're able:
http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/07/19/bodyweight-exercise.aspx Link to more information and videoa on Mercola.com website.