All exercise is beneficial. But even stacked up against other types of workouts, body-weight exercise has a lot to offer. Not only does it provide an excellent workout, but it can also help you overcome some common excuses for avoiding exercise, like “I don’t have time to go to the gym” and “I don’t have space for a stationary bike at home.” All you have to do is move your body.
Here’s a closer look at some of the pluses:
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, in your hotel room when traveling. That makes it easy to find the time.
With body-weight exercise, there’s nothing to buy other than a pair of shoes. You don’t need stylish clothing. You don’t need an expensive gym membership, although you can certainly do these workouts at the gym, too. You might want a few props, such as a chair, bench, or counter to modify some moves, but these are all items that you have on hand.
You can do these exercises solo. You don’t have to walk into a gym full of buff exercisers and complicated-looking weight machines that require adjustments and may still not fit you properly.
It provides “functional” exercise. Most body-weight exercises work multiple muscles at once rather than training an isolated muscle or muscle group, as many exercise machines and dumbbell exercises do. Therefore, body-weight exercises are considered more functional, using more muscles and joints at a time, engaging balance, and mimicking everyday activities.
It can be adjusted to your fitness level. When you’re using your body as the weight, you can’t just remove 10 or 20 pounds as you can with machines or dumbbells. But there are ways to modify moves to decrease or increase the resistance. You can adjust your body position—for example, doing push-ups against a wall rather than the floor—or you can change the number of times you repeat an exercise or modify the pace you’re working at.
The more you move, the lower your risks 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. Body-weight exercise is no exception.