Our bodies evolved for movement. But today, our society often denies our bodies this right. Most adults work eight or more hours a day sitting still and as a result the modern human has become a weakened and squishy version of what we used to be. This is because our bodies adapt to the needs of their environment and no more. Luckily, we can use this power of adaptation to our advantage. Just because we have an office job doesn’t mean we have to have an office body.
All else being equal, a strong person makes a healthy person. Luckily for the average American, building muscle and strength as a beginner is extremely easy. All it requires is doing things that improve strength. You don’t even need any special equipment. Here are a few things you can start today to increase your strength.
- Body Weight Exercises- Body weight exercises are the best thing you can do to build strength without gym equipment. Staples such as the push-up and squat are classics for a reason, but if you find those to be too boring there are many other excellent exercises out there such as the bear crawl, burpee, and the “Russian Twist”.
- When strength training, keep in mind that using a program with sets, reps, and schedules is ideal because you can track your progress. To experience continued results, it is important to keep increasing the amount of work your body does. This can be done by increasing the number of reps, sets, or amount of weight lifted.
- Get a Hobby- Want to get stronger but don’t want to do any structured exercise? Just start doing something physical. Pick up a hobby in your spare time that gets you moving, ideally in ways you wouldn’t normally move, and that require you to exert force. It could be sports, yoga, rock climbing, martial arts, moving furniture, even gardening involves lifting things. Get creative. Your body wants and needs to be doing something.
Many adults can’t walk up two flights of stairs without getting short of breath. But just like with strength training, endurance is easy to build too. The principle is the same: do things that require your body to be moving for long periods of time. Bonus points for outdoor activities.
- Running, Swimming, Biking- These three traditional cardio modes have proven to be effective time and time again. If you choose to do these or any kind of endurance exercise I have two pieces of advice. Get proper equipment, and progress conservatively. There is no need to injure yourself trying to get healthy.
- Hobbies- Hobbies can build strength as well as endurance. When training for endurance however, you need to keep your body moving with an elevated heart rate for extended periods of time. Competitive sports are great for this, and so is hiking, dancing, and Vinyasa yoga, a form of yoga in which postures are changed frequently for dynamic sequences.
The human body wants to move. Once you start building strength and endurance you will feel happier and more energetic due to the changes in your body. On top of that, people will notice your positive changes. Remember that exercise is not a chore. It can be done at home or outside and for free. In today’s social and economic climate, having a fit and functional body will be an asset for your health, happiness and longevity.
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