So, you’ve heard about all the benefits of having stronger muscles as you get older. You know, the stuff like improved bone strength, a faster metabolism, better heart health, and, of course, independence.
But there can be some severe blockages to taking the steps for many. You may be a little intimidated by the gym, don’t have room to build one at home, or don’t enjoy working out because you never really learned how to do it properly.
One of the best ways to get over that is with bodyweight exercises. You don’t need to use weights, go anywhere, or spend money to get a beneficial workout. All you need is your body.
You can do bodyweight exercises whenever and wherever you want – in front of the TV, in your backyard, or in a hotel room. You can even do them while waiting for the kettle to boil.
Research has shown that bodyweight exercise helps build muscle independent of an external load (meaning weights). It can help with aerobic capacity, muscle endurance, strength, and flexibility.
You also don’t have to do a lot of it. A small study of active people in their 60s noted that a workout consisting of eight simple lower body exercises increased strength and power by about 15 percent over ten months.
That was all gained in only six workouts per month! And at that stage of life, it’s great because strength and power tend to decline.
Bodyweight exercises also provide “functional exercise,” meaning they work multiple muscles at once. This more closely mimics day-to-day activity, as opposed to isolating muscles or muscle groups as you’d get with machines at a gym.
Further, bodyweight exercises can be adjusted to your fitness level. Instead of adding or decreasing weight, like you can machines, barbells, or dumbbells, you can alter the load by changing body position, using tools like the wall, countertop or a chair, or altering rep ranges.
If you want to start getting stronger and more powerful but don’t want to go to a gym, use bodyweight exercises to get all the benefits and contribute to a longer, healthier life.