The current situation we are in is stressful and emotionally exhausting. In fact, it is never-ending. Under normal circumstances, you would have customarily burned off pent-up negative emotions by hitting the gym or swimming.
However, here you are – sitting on the couch, binge-eating, and isolating. And that is not exactly a picture of perfect health! It does not have to be like that. Today, it is more important than ever to follow a healthy diet, keep your fitness levels up, and maintain your health.
While following a healthy diet is necessary, most people falter when it comes to choosing the best exercises for themselves. The good news is we can definitely introduce you to the holy trifecta of a full-body workout, i.e., cardio, bench press, and leg days.
But why should one do all kinds of exercises for a fit body? In this article, we share the specific benefits of all three. Let us begin:
Cardio refers to any exercise which creates an energy demand on your system and raises your heart rate and gets your blood to pump blood faster. It is a great way to burn calories and complements any weight loss journey. More importantly, cardio has the following four benefits:
1. Improves heart health
Your heart is a muscle and needs exercise, just like the rest of your body. Without any activity, it will weaken over time. Cardio gets the heart to pump faster and improves blood circulation, which in turn decreases the risk of a heart attack.
2. Manages diabetes
Cardio enables the muscles of your body to utilize glucose better. Research shows that those who exercise regularly have better-regulated insulin levels and lower blood sugar. Cardio has a positive impact on type 2 diabetes patients specifically.
3. Strengthens immune system
According to a Pennsylvania State University study, regular and moderate cardiovascular exercises increase specific antibodies in the blood called immunoglobulins responsible for a robust immune system. This means you fall sick less, and are able to recover from physical injuries faster.
4. Speeds up the metabolism
Running, swimming, walking, and other cardiovascular exercises stimulate your metabolism – help you burn calories quickly and lose weight. High-intensity interval training or HIIT workouts can specifically help in boosting metabolism.
Best cardio exercises to do at home
- Brisk walking
- Jumping jacks
- Jogging in place
- Squat jumps
If you are already in cardio and want to up your workout game, then bench press can help you build a strong upper body. Yes, it could prove dangerous if you don’t take ample care while lifting weights or your feet are not firmly placed on any rubber surfacing solutions, causing an unstable or loose body posture.
But if you take somebody’s help (e.g. hire an instructor) or watch and learn from YouTube videos, you will start noticing the following four changes that bench press brings:
1. Increases upper body strength
Pushing is a massive part of our lives. We push shopping carts, strollers, doors, and sometimes a car too! Bench press improves the amount of weight you can push or press. The muscles this exercise builds and motions it trains you for are ones that you use many times in your daily life.
2. Gives you strong triceps
Your tricep is made of three heads (long, medial and lateral) and 2/3rd of the arm. Bench press helps strengthen the tricep through a series of motions during the lift. Strong triceps carry over to other pressing movements, and also make your arms look great!
3. Improves bone health
Bench press creates resistance on the body’s structure and forces you to hold a lot of weight. The process of bone-building works the same way as doing cardio for a healthier heart. It causes more and more bone cells to deposit bone tissue in the bones, thus strengthening them.
4. Maintains the health of your joints
As you start aging, the cartilage between your joints starts to wear down and causes severe pain or osteoarthritis. The cartilage is like a sponge with fluid in it, and this fluid needs to be replaced regularly with squeezing out. Bench press acts as a squeezer that pushes out this fluid. You can prevent joint issues and cartilage deterioration with this exercise.
Bench press mistakes that can injure you
- Pressing your chest too much
- Not ensuring your lift is strong enough to take the weight of the bars
- Letting your wrists loose; they should always be tight
- Ignoring foot placement completely
- Not maintaining a stiff body posture; this can cause the weights to fall
You might think, now that your cardio and upper body exercises are sorted, your lower body does not need any training. But skipping leg workout means having a body where your shoulder blades, arms and back look noticeably beefed up, but your legs – disproportionate! Here are four reasons why you should have leg days:
1. Gives you stronger legs
Leg days increase leg power and balance, thus making a sprint for a more extended period. If you are into sports like tennis and soccer, having leg days is a must. Deadlifts and squats can develop your hips and thigh muscles faster.
2. Improves your balance
Giant biceps, a toned waist, and thin legs give your body an attractive shape. Exercising your legs will provide a symmetrical, good looking physique, and improve your gait and body balance.
3. Reduces risk of injury
Lifting leg weights will help you build and maintain muscle mass and promote stability in the knee. When your body has stronger muscles, it runs smoothly, like a well-oiled engine. That means better muscle balance and less chance of injuries like a ligament tear.
4. Reduces backache
Most people working from home don’t have a dedicated workstation and instead sit and work on the couch or bed for hours. This increases backache. Exercising your legs daily can save you from this discomfort.
Best exercises to do at home on your leg days
- Reverse lunges with knee lifts
- Dumbbell walking lunge
- Lying leg curls
- Standing calf raises
- Curtsy lunges
- Inverted inner thigh openers
Over to you
It does not matter whether you have a quick 15-minute run on the treadmill, lift weights or invest in strengthening your leg muscles, a full-body workout has a positive impact on the body, and even changes its hormonal profile considerably.
Exercise releases “feel good” hormones and offers relief from depression and anxiety. Plus, it makes you look good and gives you the confidence you need to thrive socially. Exercise regularly, and your perspective on life will become more positive.