A simple body-weight workout - Easy to start, easy to stick with

by Tom Cloyd - 2 min. read - (reviewed 2023-01-16:0955 PT)

Start simple and keep it simple - that’s the idea here. You already have what you need - you were born with it! You simply need to develop an exercise habit. Here’s how…

Exercise is as close to a fountain of youth as we’ve ever found. If you bring exercise into your life on a regular basis you’ll discover this. More than that, it can act to prevent or significantly delay a number of diseases. What people just starting regular exercise need is an easy way forward, and here it is.

This sensible, quick, and doable exercise routine is well-designed and requires no equipment. You will use just your body weight, and it’ll cost you only 10 minutes of time. The focus is on movement of major muscle groups, which is a totally practical approach, as the strength and mobility you’ll build will be used in your daily life.

Five exercises - and you get stronger and more agile! (The exercises are detailed, with pictures, at the link at the bottom of the page.)

For the lower body, you’ll do squats and lunges. Both are terrific leg, hip, and back exercises, and lunges in particular also build the muscles most needed for good balance.

For your back (muscles around your spine, etc.) you’ll do pointers and glute bridges.

For your shoulder girdle muscles you do a simple Y-T-W-L exercise - so-named because the shapes of your arms form approximately these letters in succession.

THREE SUGGESTIONS - These are my personal thoughts, and I feel strongly about them. I have learned these ideas from a lifetime of exercise that includes ballet, running, race-walking, cycling, skiing, snowshoeing, and weight-lifting.

One: Keep a simple log, and put it up where you can see it. I suggest your refrigerator or perhaps some wall in your kitchen or bathroom where you’ll see it often. This is for accountability, and also for reward. You won’t be able to avoid the fact that you’re slacking off OR that you’re training like a champ (we hope for the latter!).

TWO: Focus most of all on persistence and regularity, because over time that is what makes the most difference. You sleep daily. You also need to exercise daily. A brisk walk every other day, interleaved with this body-weight routine would be an excellent plan.

THREE: Be body-sensitive! Start by doing just half as much of every exercise as you are planning for when you are regular. Then rest a day and see how you feel. A little soreness here and there is OK. Beyond that is not - it is telling you that you did too much. Reduce the amount of exercise and try again. Then slowly build it up over many days. If you feel particularly tired at any point, take a rest day. If you’re sick, or about to be, or in early recovery, just rest. Listen to your body!

The habit is the most important thing, remember? And it has to feel good or you won’t keep doing it, so do whatever it takes to enjoy this. Anything you do is better than nothing! Just begin gently, then keep going.



This New York Times article is normally behind a paywall, but as a subscriber I am allowed 10 “gift articles” a month. This is one of them - so, no paywall for you!


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