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Returning to Exercise? Want to Change Things Up? Here’s How to Get Started

Exercise and Nutrition
Author name: Lee Health

Body Weight Exercise GraphicIf the pandemic sidelined you from your favorite gym or you just plain took a break from exercising, now’s the time to get your heart pumping and your body moving.

Why is now the time? Because any time is the right time to move your body and get the benefits of physical activity.

Lee Health wellness and fitness expert Mathieu Knapp says bodyweight exercises are a great way to start for both beginners and seasoned gym-goers.

“A bodyweight workout requires no equipment, just your body and some floor space around you,” Knapp says. “So it’s convenient. By using the weight of your body against gravity, these types are effective at building strength, muscle, improving stability and laying the groundwork of correct form before progressing to more advanced weighted movements.”

These five exercises will help you maintain strength and physical independence as you age and prevent injury. Best of all, you can do them wherever you want.

(As a reminder, before starting any of these movements, check in with yourself or your doctor to see if you have pain or limitations that would prevent you from doing these exercises. Do NOT push through pain.)

Squat

This full-body exercise works primarily your legs but also uses your core/back muscles/arms to stabilize you. By performing squats, you are training the muscles you use for getting up and down and walking/running – among other movements. An easier variation to the standard squat would be a sit-to-stand using a chair or bench. Be sure to use a chair WITHOUT wheels.

Push-up

The push-up primarily works your chest and arm muscles but also uses your core/legs/back muscles to stabilize you. This exercise assists with daily movements, such as pushing doors, pushing yourself up from the bed or floor, putting an object high on a shelf, etc.

Push-up variations include: standard push-up on hands and toes, modified push-up on hands and knees, performing push-ups on the wall, counter, or an elevated surface.

Rows

The row primarily works the back and arm muscles but will also work the core/chest muscles. This exercise assists with everyday movements, like the push-up. It also trains and strengthens movements used to pull objects down from shelves and opening doors. To perform the rows, you will need something you can “row” toward you: think of soup cans, water jugs, a potted plant, or other assorted objects.

Plank

The plank is another great full-body exercise that works primarily the core muscles but also uses the chest/arm/back/leg muscles for stabilization. This exercise helps with every movement you do throughout the day because your core is always stabilizing you. The main benefit to developing and maintaining a strong core is less back pain—the top complaint experts like Mathieu hear from their clients.  

Plank variations include: standard plank on toes and forearms, modified plank on knees and forearms, performing the plank on toes and with straight arms (in push-up form) instead of on elbows, with straight arms and on knees, or on an elevated surface such as a bench or counter.”

For further questions or assistance, please email Mathieu.knapp@leehealth.org, call 239-424-3220, or stop by one of our Healthy Life Centers in Cape Coral or Babcock Ranch.

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