Can’t I Just Use Bodyweight Exercises on My Way to Better Fitness?
By Amy Bunn, RN BSN
There’s no doubt that bodyweight exercise is more popular than ever nowadays. And why shouldn’t it be? For one thing, bodyweight training is much more convenient for people who are looking for a way to get fit at home.
For the most part, you can bodyweight train almost anywhere. And bodyweight training has made fans of many busy people who are short on time. For these reasons and more, bodyweight exercises are here to stay. In fact, the push-up has been used for fitness since ancient Greece. But does that mean you should ditch your gym membership for good?
Well, this ultimately depends on your personal fitness goals, as there are distinct benefits to both. However, in looking at the big picture of overall health improvement and ease of use, body weight exercises may have the advantage.
When we look at muscle fibers, resistance is resistance, whether it is our own body weight or a free weight. When our muscles contract against any type of resistance, the cells respond the same. The difference is that after time, our muscles adjust to the amount of body weight resistance and plateau, where as weight can always be added when using hand weights which will increase muscle mass. In other words, the resistance provided to the muscle may become somewhat limited by your own weight when performing body weight exercise, where there is no limit to resistance with weight training.
These types of exercises provide different results and therefore can be used to achieve different fitness goals. Body weight exercises, such as push-ups, squats and planks all strengthen and tone muscles while improving endurance and flexibility. Another advantage to a body weight based fitness routine is that it is extremely convenient, and can literally be done anywhere without any additional equipment. Body weight training is also a safer alternative for those who may be new to a regular exercise routine, and can be used as a way to introduce proper form and technique. It is also an affordable option for those who may not be able to afford weight-lifting equipment at home.
The bottom line is that any exercise is going to benefit your health and fitness, while supplementing your weight-loss goals. Using body weight exercise is a great way to get in shape, and all you need is YOU!