Calisthenics are organized exercises that consist of simple movements that do not require weights or gym equipment. The sole purpose of these exercises is to increase the body’s strength and flexibility. By using one’s own body for resistance, the dangers of injuring one’s self during exercise is minimal.
Hundreds of fad diet and exercise programs have come and gone, but calisthenics have remained reliable since the time of ancient Greece. Greco-Roman gymnasts utilized the routine to build muscle, increase flexibility, and develop coordination. While the ancient Persians considered it a form of weak dancing, and its development in the United States in the 19th century was geared towards women, it is commonly utilized by military groups to promote discipline and group cohesion.
A wide variety of stretches and exercises are categorized as calisthenics. With the ability to transform the workout to a person’s daily desires, they are less likely to grow bored and quit. The exercises simultaneously work muscles while increasing the heart rate. By increasing the heart rate, more calories are burned and metabolism is raised. Raising one’s metabolism causes them to burn more calories throughout the day, long after the workout is finished.
The popularity of calisthenics derives partly from the fact that most people already are familiar with the exercises. Jumping jacks, sit-ups, and push-ups work to tone the lower and upper half of the body while increasing the heart rate for maximum results. Jumping jacks help tone the legs while increasing the heart rate due to the dramatic movement. Sit-ups work the abdominal muscles, the core of the body. Developing these muscles not only is a step towards a lean body; posture is improved causing less strain on the back and knees, and a well-defined core is also attributed to a healthy digestive system. Push-ups train the chest, shoulders, and triceps to create an upper body that is as strong as the lower body. Each of these exercises builds strength and endurance.
Other varieties of these common exercises can be performed in replacement to keep the workout interesting and the entire body in training. Stationary jogging can be substituted for jumping jacks. Trade in sit-ups for quick squats for a more intense workout. Pull-ups work the upper body yet with a different target zone than the push-ups. The back and biceps will reap the benefits of this exercise. Calisthenics are not limited to these few mentions. Incorporating squats, calf-raises, or any other exercise movement tones and strengthens, increases flexibility, and overall provides for a healthier body.
Calisthenics provide many benefits besides the cohesion and endurance needed by military personnel. Some athletes perform calisthenics as a warm-up before sports, while others incorporate it as a workout to burn off calories without inconvenient trips to the gym. Calisthenics provide a simple and convenient way to tone the body as well as lose excess weight.
Because calisthenics do not require equipment, they can be done anywhere, anytime. If it is nice outside, a park or yard provides the perfect setting to get a workout and some fresh air. If the cold weather or rain won’t allow for it, a spacious living room becomes an at-home gym. Many hotels are not equipped with a gym, or it is always packed. Calisthenics can be performed in the comfort and privacy of a hotel room. For those who prefer to wake up and energize their day with a workout, there is no scrambling out the door to get to the gym, and night owls do not have to make it to the gym before close.
The fact that calisthenics are so highly modifiable, everyone can benefit from them. No expensive purchases need to be made. No rigid plans need to be developed. No location will stifle a workout. With all these advantages, there is no reason everyone cannot benefit. A regular calisthenics routine will provide an increase of muscle, decrease of fat, and a newfound confidence.