Although it may not be as popularized as lifting weights, calisthenics are suitable for those who want to start and maintain an active lifestyle, and I have witnessed the impact it has had on my life.
First and foremost, these exercises that incorporate your bodyweight are convenient in that they can be done at home if one desires. Because of this, the need to travel to a place to work out is eliminated, which allows for more time to exercise for those on a tight schedule. Unlike weightlifting at a gym, equipment is not necessary, and it is inexpensive since money will not have to be wasted on a gym membership. On the other hand, doing calisthenics is easier on the joints, and they allow for more creativity. For example, one can start a workout doing yoga before transitioning into doing jumping jacks. Alongside being able to build muscle and lose weight due to burning calories, the risk of getting injured is reduced as a result of calisthenics incorporating natural body movements, and such exercises strengthen the heart. In addition, there are mental benefits that stem from the fact that these exercises increase endorphins to better people’s moods and reduce the perception of pain in their bodies.
On a personal level, I have benefitted from doing calisthenics. Back in high school when I trained each summer to prepare to play football, I did a combination of bodyweight workout circuits that incorporated workouts such as pushups, squats, lunges, 60-second planks, and jumping jacks. To start my day off on the right path, I did these exercises in the morning for an hour every day from Monday through Friday. Over time, these exercises kept me in shape, helped me gain muscle mass, and boosted my self-esteem as a teenager. Throughout my tenure as a high school football player, my head coach remarked that I consistently came in shape prior to starting fall practices for a particular season compared to some of my teammates who chose to not workout. As a person who is currently a college student, the ability to do calisthenics anywhere has allowed me to stay healthy with limited time on my hands. For example, I use a pedometer app on my smartphone to track how many steps I take in a day, and it tracks the amount of calories I burn with the steps I take. On a daily basis, I strive to walk 6,000 steps, which is approximately two miles, and my goal is to increase the amount of steps I walk to 10,000 per day, which is about five miles. Thankfully, this has allowed me to improve my physique, and I have started to encourage others to do calisthenics for the sake of being healthy. Even at work, this has led to my co-workers and I having a healthy competition to see who can walk the most steps in a given day.
Based on the benefits doing calisthenics provides to the human body and the impact it has had on my life over the past several years, it is not out of the realm of possibility that calisthenics can become an integral part of one’s life.
Jonavon Ignont is an undergraduate student who is about to start his third year of college at UT Dallas after transferring from Collin College with a 4.0 grade point average, and he is seeking to obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication.