We all know how important our health is and it’s becoming more widely understood that maintaining fitness comes with a laundry list of benefits. Working out not only gets you into better physical shape, but better mental and even emotional shape as well. Exercising on a regular basis causes interesting chemical reactions in the brain; when you’re sweating it out, endorphins that help make you feel good, happy, and less stressed are released. People who make exercise a part of their routine often experience less anxiety and depression, too. Of course, getting physically fit and keeping your body in good shape also helps you fight off diseases and illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, manage weight, and fight off age-related health problems like pains and aches and osteoporosis. And to top off all these great reasons to work out, studies show the bottom line is that exercise boosts life expectancy. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?
Knowing how important exercise is to our overall health, happiness, and even longevity, your first instinct may be to run, not walk, to the nearest gym and sign yourself up for a top-tier membership. After all, shouldn’t we be investing our dollars into our health just as surely as we invest into the market to build wealth?
Morpheus is right. You don’t need to spend money on a gym membership to get fit and healthy. Especially if you’re working with a shoestring budget and money is tight. This post is for you – while nothing is more important than your good health, you also need to understand that you do not have to sacrifice a large chunk of your budget to take care of your body by regularly exercising. In fact, you don’t even have to buy equipment to work out and whip yourself into shape.
No, I’m not about to suggest we all become runners and do nothing but slog around through our neighborhoods and streets day after day. To be in great shape, everyone needs to pick a routine that features a combination of cardio and strength training. This means that while, yes, you should incorporate running, biking, or swimming into your exercise regiment, you also need to work with weight to build muscle. Balance is key here. So what is the answer to getting a sweet bod without paying a gym to lift their weights?
Body weight exercises. Simple as that! You can build muscle, burn fat, and increase your all-around athleticism just by using the resistance your own body weight provides. The best thing is that these moves require no gym, and therefore no membership fee. They can even be done without any equipment at all, anywhere you are, at any time. Body weight exercises include things like planks, leg lifts, lunges, push-ups. These kinds of moves are some of the most effective, efficient exercises you can do to get in shape; they produce significant results in short amounts of time. The reason this sort of exercise is so efficient is because it requires compound movements, meaning you’re working more than just one set of muscles or one part of your body at a time. In other words, those machines you’d be paying for at the gym, the ones that isolate a muscle group or body part aren’t as effective as what you could be doing on your own, any time and any place, for free. Still worried that you may get bored without equipment or ways to modify your movements? Changing up body weight resistance workouts is simple because there are so many options. If you want to step up these exercises, you can increase the amount of reps for each movement you do or you could add additional resistance by using free weights with many of them (for example, you can hold weights as you do things like lunges or squats). You can also step up your workout by running through a routine very quickly, with little to no rest between movements, or you can do each movement in slow motion. There are countless ways that you can reinvigorate body weight exercise to avoid a rut, plateau, or just plain boredom.
I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite body weight routines and exercises to help get you started working out efficiently, at your convenience, and for free. This is why you don’t need a gym membership; with body weight exercises, all you need is yourself and a little knowledge of what moves to incorporate into a routine.
50 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere – Greatist
20 Minute Press Up and Plank Workout – Men’s Health
Periodic Table of Bodyweight Exercises – Strength Stack 52
Advanced Body Weight Circuit Workout – NerdFitness
4 Best Strength Training Exercises for Runners – Competitor.com
Top Moves from Insanity: 20 Minute Mini-Insanity Workout – Active.com
So what are you waiting for? I’ve set you free from the misconception that super strength and fitness cost money in the form of gym memberships – you can get fit, strong, and healthy on your own time, wherever you want, and it can be at zero cost to you. Now go get out there, do some squats and planks, and spread the good word!