February 6, 2012

Calisthenics for Fitness

Calisthenics If you can move your body, you can exercise. Calisthenics are body weight exercises – exercises in which the resistance is the weight of your body.

Calisthenics comes from two Greek words, kalos for beautiful and sthenos for stength. “Calisthenics” is the right word since these exercises are terrific for shaping the body while adding some serious strength.

One great thing about calisthenics is anybody at any age can perform these exerecises. Many calisthenic exercises can be modified either making the exercise easier to perform or more difficult.  And, there’s plenty of calisthenics to chose from to add variety to your work-outs.

Benefits of Calisthenics

When done properly there is little risk of injury since you’re moving and controlling your own body weight. Many calisthenic exercises work more than one muscle group increasing the amount of calories burned.  For instance, with push-ups you are exercising more than just your arms and chest, but also working your back, abdominals, gluteals, thighs, and calves. Plus, many of the movements and execises mimic activities of daily living and improves balance, agility, and coordination. This is especially important for the elderly.

Outside a pull-up bar, calisthenics can be done without equipment, and therefore, are an inexpensive way to achieve fitness. And, calisthenics can be done in the convenience your home.

Calisthenic Exercises

  • Push ups
  • Squats
  • Pull ups
  • Chin ups
  • Sit ups
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Dips
  • Lunges
Many of these exercises can be performed in a variety of ways making the exercise either easier or more difficult, and changing which aspect of a muscle group is most stressed.  Push ups can be done with hands wide apart, close together, on one’s knees, with hands on a bench and feet on the ground, with feet on a bench and hands on the ground, for example.
Jumping jacks are frequently used as a warm up exercise. but in and of themselves are an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise as jumping jacks can raise heart rate quickly.
Squats are an excellent all around body exercise involving not just the thighs, but also the lower back, abdominals, calves, hips, and gluteals.  Like jumping jacks squats can raise the heart rate quickly since they involve exercising the larger muscle groups of the body.
Pull ups and chin ups like push ups can be performed in a variety ways that alter the position of the hands. These are excellent exercises for building upper/mid back and arm strength.  Many individuals have difficulty even performing one pull-up or chin-up. Don’t become one of them.

Get a complete body work out in the convenience of your own home by adding calisthenics to your fitness program. Plus, lose body fat, gain muscle, and improve your cardiovascular endurance at the same time.

See related articles.

“Becoming Lean and Mean at Any Age”

“Get Fit with Body Bar Exercises”

“The Benefits of Body Weight Exercises”

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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