Qn of the Month: What are Calisthenics?

Veering slightly away from the usual nutrition slant, this month I decided to answer a question of my own. This came off of the back of a health assessment I did recently (see post ‘Step it Up!’) which piqued my own interest in exercise and how to get more active (while being a working mother of a toddler). After all, real health is not just about nutrition. It’s nutrition plus being physically active. That’s when I discovered Calisthenics.

What is it exactly? It’s a word I’ve heard of sporadically and knew it was connected to exercise but never really took the time to delve more deeply into until now. Here’s a simple definition (courtesy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary):  “Systemic rhythmic bodily exercises done without special equipment.” Sounds good and simple to me! Calisthenics can be counted as part of strength training, which is recommended in a 10-20 min segment 2-3 times a week. Strength training (also called weight or resistance training) is just as important as stretching as it helps to build and maintain muscle as well as bone density (especially important for keeping strong bones ladies!).

I find calisthenics exciting because it seems easy to implement, doesn’t require much space or extra expensive equipment, and could probably also be done during toddler waking hours. The best part is, depending on the intensity and length of the session, doing a few circuits of exercises as part of a calisthenics workout daily should get the heart pumping and would probably also count towards the 20-30 minutes of moderate activity recommended every day! A great way to achieve two goals with one!

See these videos for many examples of different exercises you can do (with modifications if desired). Just pick a few exercises to put together your own Calisthenics workout routine. As always, start gradually and then build up the length and intensity of the routine over time. Enjoy!

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