4 Reasons Why You Should Be Doing Bodyweight Exercise
There are a lot of ways to exercise, and as long as you’re moving on a regular basis you’re on the right track to improving your health and well-being. Today I’m going to give you my top 4 reasons why basic bodyweight movements should be a part of whatever fitness routine you’re working with. From improving day to day function to acting as auxiliary work to your weight lifting routine, bodyweight movements will benefit you in numerous ways. So, without further ado, lets do this!
1. Easier Day to Day Function
Bodyweight movements are inherently functional, because their performance requires you to move in a full range around multiple joints. Routinely moving the way your body naturally wants to move makes it easier to do so each successive time you do it. Add full range bodyweight movements to your workout to see benefits from the time you wake up in the morning until you hit the sack later. The minimal movements you should be doing to see better overall function are full range squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. These represent the full range of moving your body from laying on the floor, to standing, and finally to pulling your body onto something higher than your hips.
2. More Graceful Aging
As we get older, moving gets harder. Aging leads to muscles weakening and bones breaking down. Studies have shown that exercise can slow the aging process and rebuild lost muscle and bone mass over time. Men and women as old as their 80’s and 90’s have started living healthier, more independent lives by adding functional exercises to their weekly routine. You can get an early start by adding these functional movements to your routine now. Things like walking, lifting, and even getting up can be made very difficult if you let your fitness get away from you as you age. Don’t let that happen!
3. Stronger Lifts
If you’re an avid weight lifter already, or even if you’re just getting started with resistance training, adding functional movement to your plan will make your other lifts stronger. For instance, before a set of weighted Back Squats, warm up with basic unweighted squats to “grease the groove” and get you moving effectively. Part of seeing improvements in your lifts is developing the muscle power to move the weight, but improvement also comes from developing the neuromuscular capacity to move right. Your brain needs to learn to coordinate your muscles when you tell them to move, and the more often you do a movement the better your brain and muscles work together. This is commonly referred to as “muscle memory”.
4. Better Mobility
Functional bodyweight movements require you to move around your joints in the way your body is most comfortable. Your muscles become more accustomed to moving well the more often they practice, improving their elasticity as well as their overall strength. Having flexibility around a joint is one of the keys to avoiding injuries related to that joint. Performing squats properly can help protect your knees & hips, push-ups help your shoulders & lower back as do pull-ups, and finally sit-ups benefit your whole spinal column along with your hips. This benefit translates to any movements which stress those joints, including other lifts, running, cycling, and emergency situations.