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The Benefits of Body-Weight Training

by
author image Van Thompson
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.
The Benefits of Body-Weight Training
Pushups are a classic body-weight exercise that can tone your upper body. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Instead of requiring you to invest in an assortment of weights, body-weight exercises rely on your own body as the source of resistance for muscle-building activities. If you want to add significant bulk, you may need to graduate from body-weight activities to weight training, but if you're just looking to get in better shape, a body-weight routine could be all you need.

Convenience and Portability

Body-weight exercises require no financial investment, which means you don't have to wait to exercise until you've paid down debt or built a savings account. Because a routine that relies solely on your body weight requires no equipment, you can do it virtually anywhere, which means a long day at the office or an extended vacation no longer serve as excuses to avoid exercise.

Getting Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise that gets your heart pounding is the key to burning calories, and plays a significant role in reducing your risk of cardiovascular health problems. You can get a moderate aerobic workout from your body-weight routine if you increase your pace by, for example, doing squats for five minutes rather than aiming for a particular number of reps. Of course, you'll still need to use proper form, which means that, if you're not in good physical shape, you may have to build up to body-weight cardio.

Improved Muscle Health and Mass

Exercising your muscles can help you gain muscle mass and strength. Not only will this yield a more attractive body; it can also help you lose weight, because muscle burns more calories than fat. As you improve the health of your muscles, you may find daily activities easier, and healthy muscle tissue can help combat muscle pain and tension.

Better Mental Health

If you steadfastly avoid weight training because of a foul mood, you might be adopting the wrong approach. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular strength-building activities such as body-weight exercises can help improve your mood and may even reduce your risk of conditions such as depression.

Better Physical Health

Although you can fall victim to a chronic illness any time, your risk of osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, cancer and similar ailments tends to increase as you age. The CDC reports that weight-bearing exercise can help reduce your risk of a wide variety of such conditions. For the best benefits, do body-weight exercises that work every major muscle group at least two days per week.

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