Beyond the Gym: Body Weight Exercises

By: Tim Goodman


Many people believe that you need access to a gym or a huge variety of exercise equipment in order to exercise properly and lose weight. While the manufacturers of exercise equipment and the owners of fitness gyms would be happy to perpetuate that belief in order to improve business, expensive products and gym memberships, while undoubtedly useful if used properly, are by no means necessary. Who needs weights when you have your own body weight to lift. Following is a brief selection of body weight exercises that can be done with everyday items that everyone has immediate access to.

Stairs
Climbing the stairs can be a great lower body workout. Just ask anyone who has climbed several flights of stairs and they can testify to how much it works the leg muscles. For added difficulty, climb stairs two at a time. You can even stand on one step with your heels hanging off the back while you repeatedly stand up on your toes. This is a great, easy way to give the calf muscles a powerful workout.

Doors
A door can be a useful exercise medium, particularly if you are unable to comfortably get down on the floor to do pushups the normal way. Just keep your feet at shoulder width and about three feet or so away from the door, then lean forward and do pushups against the door. You can also use the door as a physical brace to aid you in stretching exercises, or to elevate your feet when doing crunches.

Chairs
A chair can be a surprisingly useful exercise aid. A great beginner's exercise, known as, "chair sits," is a good workout for the gluteal muscles. Stand about eight inches in front of the chair and slowly sit down without moving your feet. The key is to do so in slow, controlled motions so that you get the full benefit of the range of motion. Another popular variation of a common exercise that uses a chair is to stand behind the chair and hold on to the back for support while you repeatedly squat as low as you can. Just make sure to move slowly and keep your back straight in order to avoid strain.

These are just a small selection. There are dozens, if not hundreds more. The key is to use your body weight and your environment to your advantage. You also don't have to be limited to just your home; go to the beach or the park or some other location. You may find yourself inspired.

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