Daily exercise is very important, but that doesn’t mean you have to head to the gym or invest in expensive equipment to do so.
There is one form of exercise that you can do quickly, without any special gear, and at any fitness level. The exercise is, of course, push-ups, one of the oldest forms of working out throughout history.
However, thanks to all the high-tech equipment available to us in the modern age, the humble push-up is often overlooked because it is so simple to perform. Don’t be fooled, though, as incorporating push-ups into your daily fitness routine is extremely beneficial to your health. Here are some reasons why this form of exercise is so beneficial.
1. Increased Endurance As Well As Upper Body Strength
Push-ups are one of the most effective ways to increase upper body strength without having to resort to weight lifting. The major muscles used during a push-up are the ones on the back of your arms and front of your shoulders as well as your chest.
Not only will push-ups build and tone these muscles, increasing your upper body strength, but you’ll also be improving your endurance as well. Because women tend to have less upper body strength than men, push-ups are a great way to work on this area. Since push-ups are a weight-bearing exercise, it can help to reduce bone loss and result in stronger bones.
2. Strengthening Of Core Muscles
When doing push-ups you are also exercising more than just your upper body. All the muscles in your core are also engaged, toning and tightening the stomach. This is great if you want to get a well-defined stomach without having to do crunches.
The core strengthening is a result of having to keep your entire body straight during the exercise. Your body will begin to sag if your core is not engaged, so the muscles around your midsection get a thorough workout.
However, it is vital that you perform push-ups properly so that you use your abs without placing undue strain on your lower back.
3. Boost Your Human Growth Hormone Levels
Human Growth Hormone, or HGH, is not only important for growth during adolescence, but also for the health of your tissues and organs as an adult. One of the ways to boost HGH levels is through exercising.
Not all exercises are effective, however – only the ones that target multiple muscles. Because push-ups qualify as a compound exercise due to the use of chest muscles, shoulders, abs and triceps, they offer a great way to increase your HGH levels.
The amount of HGH your body releases naturally declines with age, so it is important to exercise regularly to compensate for this.
4. Protection Of Shoulders Against Injuries
The rotator cuff injury is common, especially among older individuals, but you can safeguard against this by making push-ups a part of your routine. During push-ups the stabilizing muscles surrounding the rotator cuff joint are targeted, which causes them to strengthen.
The exercise also conditions these muscles for dynamic movements, which further protects against injury. Because a rotator cuff injury is so debilitating, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by strengthening your shoulders against it.
It is also why push-ups offer greater benefits than doing bench presses where the shoulder stabilizer muscles are not used as much. Research has shown that push-ups can deliver the same muscle strength gains as bench presses, so you won’t be losing out on anything by opting for the former.
5. Better Posture And Decreased Risk Of Lower Back Injuries
One of the added advantages of regular push-ups is that you will be improving your posture while simultaneously strengthening your back. This is especially important if you spend large parts of your day sitting at a desk while working.
The effects of improper posture can be devastating on your health and comfort as you grow older, but push-ups strengthen the core muscles, which improves posture. Your torso is also exercised during push-ups to stabilize movement, which strengthens it and decreases the chances of back injuries.
Anyone who has suffered the debilitating effects of even a minor lower back injury will know how important it is to keep this vulnerable part of the body in good shape. In addition, the back muscles stretch during push-ups, so you are also increasing your flexibility.
6. Increase In Metabolic Rate
Because push-ups are so effective at engaging multiple muscle groups, it also means that it increases your heart rate. After all, these working muscles require blood, so your heart must work harder to supply this.
Due to this, your metabolic rate will increase by performing regular push-ups while allowing you to benefit from some weight loss as well. So, while you won’t be really burning a lot of fat directly through push-ups, they will help you to do so indirectly by increasing your metabolism.
7. Quick Energy Boosts
Since you don’t need any special equipment to perform push-ups you can drop down at any time to do a set. So, whenever you feel yourself starting to feel sluggish, simply do a few push-ups to improve circulation and receive a quick energy boost.
It will leave you feeling more energized and allow your brain to function more efficiently after it has been fired up.
8. Save Time And Money While Working Out
One of the big reasons why people skip out on exercising is the fact that they don’t have enough time. During a busy day it is easy to skip a workout because there are other matters that are more pressing.
Not everyone has the money to spare for a gym membership or exercise equipment, either. Since a set of push-ups can be performed virtually anywhere, as long as you don’t mind a few stares, time and equipment are not an issue. Due to the amount of muscles targeted by push-ups you’ll be getting almost the same benefits as when using gym equipment.
9. It Is A Very Versatile Form Of Exercise
Everyone is familiar with the standard method of doing push-ups, but did you know that there is more than one way to perform this exercise? If you are a novice, or you have weak shoulders or wrists, start out with the wall push-up, which has a lower intensity.
This will strengthen and build up connective tissue, allowing you to gradually work your way towards normal push-ups. On the other hand, if normal push-ups become too easy you can try variants, such as the diamond push-up, where your hands are closer together.
This increases the difficulty of the exercise, and you can eventually even do plyometric, or “jumping”, push-ups for even greater intensity.
As with any exercise it is important to first stretch and warm up before doing push-ups. Doing push-ups can be grueling at first if you are not used to it, but stick with it and you will definitely see and feel the difference they can make.