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9 Reasons Why Bodyweight Training Rocks

9 Reasons Why Bodyweight Training Rocks

There’s no doubt about it: there are a lot of people out there who would argue that without question, training with weights is the best way to get fit and strong, fast.

In fact, the majority of the fitness world treats bodyweight training as far less superior than heavy weight training, reserved only for traveling, coming back from an injury, or exercise newbies.

But there’s another group of people—people like Paul Wade, author of Convict Conditioning, and Al Kalvaldo, bodyweight and calisthenics expert, as well as the impressive feats of athletes like Barstarzz—who are proving that calisthenics are making a comeback. As masters of exercises like one-arm pull-ups, single-leg squats and one-arm handstand push-ups, these fitness fanatics are proving that bodyweight training is not just for wimps.

Here are 9 reasons why bodyweight training rocks:

1. It requires minimal to no equipment

Unlike most other forms of exercise, all you need to do bodyweight training is your own bodyweight—and maybe a pull-up bar or some dip bars. This gives you the freedom to work out in your local park (many city parks have pull-up bars to use—or the monkey bars at a kid’s playground work just fine), or even just in your own home.

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This is a huge plus for anyone who travels often, doesn’t have access to a gym, or just plain likes to be able to work out anywhere, any time.

2. It’s 100% free

Gym memberships these days can range from $25 a month at a chain gym like 24 Hour Fitness to $200 or more at a CrossFit gym. For anyone on a budget, that’s a huge monthly expense!

Switching to bodyweight training means you no longer have to pay your monthly gym dues, since all of a sudden your entire workout is free.

3. It helps your body move like it was supposed to

You’ve probably heard a lot about functional fitness, a type of workout that helps you move better in real life and in sports, these days.

And there’s no doubt about it, bodyweight training is the ultimate form of functional fitness, since it helps you develop useful athletic abilities that can benefit you no matter what you’re doing—whether you’re climbing a tree, lifting a suitcase over your head in an airplane, or playing with your kids at the playground.

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Better yet, since bodyweight training means you’ll be moving your body the way it was designed to move, you’ll move better in all areas of your life.

4. It makes you a better athlete

If you do any other sports aside from your workouts, you probably need to run, jump, twist, lunge, squat, pull, or press, if not all of the above.

And since bodyweight training helps your body move the way it wants to move naturally, all the bodyweight exercises you learn to do will help you tremendously in whatever sport you do, and make you a better, stronger and more efficient athlete overall.

5. It protects your joints and keeps you injury-free

To be strong all over, you need to not only have strong muscles, but also strong joints. And because bodyweight training works the joints and tendons as they are meant to be worked, it helps to create strong joints and tendons for life—and helps protect you from injuries.

One of the reasons that so many bodybuilders end up with joint issues in their shoulders, wrists, knees, or neck is that the joints of the body are simply not designed to deal with heavy loads of weight training. But calisthenics can prevent these all too common injuries by helping to strengthen your joints and tendons as well as your muscles.

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6. It maximizes strength

Getting strong isn’t all about how much weight you can lift, press, or pull—it’s also about how strong your joints and tendons are. And since bodyweight training works your joints like they’re meant to be worked, calisthenics can help develop greater strength and power than weight training alone.

Plus, since bodyweight movements use multiple muscle groups at once, bodyweight training helps the body learn to work together as a whole, making your body more efficient overall and as strong as possible for your build.

7. It’s a cool party trick

Have you ever seen someone do a one-arm push-up, a freestanding handstand, or even a pistol in person? It’s a pretty impressive feat—and will no doubt amaze your friends.

So while I would never recommend switching to bodyweight training just to impress your friends, it’s certainly a plus.

8. It builds muscle (yes, really)

When most people think of bodyweight training, they don’t associate it with building muscle—you need heavy weights for that, right? Wrong.

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If you stick to light, modified versions of bodyweight exercises, that’s all too true. But if you constantly push yourself to master harder versions of bodyweight exercises—going from the standard push-up to one-arm push-ups, from the basic air squat to a one-legged squat (also called a pistol), and regularly including handstand push-ups and harder versions of pull-ups into your routine—your body will turn into a muscle building machine.

9. It regulates body fat

Take a look at a lot of bodybuilders and participants of endurance athletics these days, and you’ll notice a trend: not all of them are as lean as you might imagine for someone doing so much exercise. That’s because when you’re constantly overloading your body with intense exercise, the natural result is that you get hungry—and unfortunately, you don’t always burn more calories than you eat with that type of training.

Because excess weight makes bodyweight training harder, however, your natural tendency will be to slim down and lose body fat to make the training easier and more efficient. As a plus, since the training is easier on your body, your appetite will level off and you’ll start eating the right amount for your body.

So find a pull-up bar, some dip bars, or just use your own body and get training in calisthenics today. You’ll not only get stronger, leaner, and more muscular—you’ll also become a better, healthier athlete overall.

More by this author

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Join a Gym This New Year 9 Reasons Why Bodyweight Training Rocks 10 Full Body Exercises That Get You the Most Bang For Your Buck 5 Effortless Tricks To Make Healthy Eating Easy 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Spending Less Time Working Out

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

More Health Tips

Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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