Most people don’t have a lot of time for a good workout. There are three exercises you can do every day that will get you fit and keep you fit. Pushups, squats, and planks will work your body from head to toe. They will also give your heart and lungs a cardio challenge. Devoting just twenty minutes a day to these bodyweight exercises will increase your strength, stamina, and agility and propel you to a higher level of physical fitness. Let's get started!
The traditional pushup is a great exercise for your upper body. It works your pectorals, triceps, deltoids, and core.
Lay down on your stomach, feet together and your hands directly below your shoulders. Your body should be straight from your toes to your head. Push up from the ground until your arms are straight, then lower your body until your chest touches the ground. This is one repetition.
A modified version, for those who find the traditional push up difficult, is to simply put your knees on the ground, then push up. Either way, keep your body straight.
Squats are a go-to exercise for your legs. They work your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. This dynamic lower-body exercise will build a solid foundation for your body.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should be facing forward, or slightly pointing out. Raise your arms out in front of you and hold them at shoulder height, palms facing down. Bending at the knees, lean your upper body slightly forward as you go down. Make sure your knees do not get out in front of your toes.
Keep your back straight and slightly arched. Keep bending at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor and keep the soles of your feet on the floor during the exercise. Slowly stand up using only your legs. As you go down, breathe in - as you come up, breathe out.
The plank works almost every muscle in your body, but it is most beneficial to your core. It focuses on your abs, lower back, and glutes.
Lay on your stomach and prop yourself up on your elbows and toes. Your elbows are bent at 90-degrees, shoulder-width apart. Your forearms are on the floor, both hands are touching, each making a fist. Do not raise your glutes up. Keep your back straight, in line with your glutes and your legs. Initially, hold this position as long as you can.
You may be doing these bodyweight exercises already so you know they are core to physical fitness. If you only do these three, you'll be giving your body what it needs, a great workout. Until next time, good health!
For a more in-depth explanation and video references on how to perform each exercise, check out NerdFitness.com (Link).
Lauren, Mark, and Joshua Clark. You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises. Ebury Digital, 2015.
Steve Kamb, www.nerdfitness.com/.