Starting With Some Easy Exercises - Calisthenics

Calisthenics have gone out of style to a degree because of the limited effect that they have on circulorespiratory fitness. But they still have many valuable uses. For example, many older people can take part in calisthenic exercises without danger.

Calisthenics have other advantages. They are easy to perform. They require little or no special equipment. They can be used in a fitness program to enhance circulorespiratory benefits. Contrary to the traditional approach, which calls for constantly starting and stopping activity, some calisthenics programs require continuous performance. In these programs the cardiorespiratory benefits can be considerable.

Calisthenics programs for individuals alone or for groups can include vigorous workout patterns that begin producing positive effects, such as increased strength or greater flexibility, in a very short time in nearly all the body's muscle groups. However, calisthenics programs have been found to be of limited value for “spot reducing.” In fact, the spot-reducing concept has been attacked as deceptive. Different parts of the body that are burdened with excess fat can be strengthened through exercise: the protruding abdomen will benefit, for example, from sit-ups, V-seats, and curl-ups. But the benefit comes from stronger muscles. The stomach may also become flatter, but the exercise will not remove the fat.

To remove abdominal—or other— fat, the individual should probably choose some other program format, not calisthenics. These persons should, rather, take part in activities that require large-muscle motion, such as walking, swimming, cycling, and jogging.

Adult Physical Fitness

The Adult Physical Fitness program developed by the President's Council on Physical Fitness is generally acknowledged to be very good. Essentially a calisthenics program, it includes a jog-walk sequence that is vital to the program's effectiveness. If that sequence is omitted the program fails to measure up to the standards set for basic fitness programs that seek to produce the five basic body improvements.

Calisthenics (Men)

Calisthenics (Men)

Calisthenics (Men)

The program contains separate exercise regimens for men and women. The exercises are basically sound, and participants are led through progressively more difficult levels of activity. In all, five levels are included following an orientation program that introduces the regimen to the beginner. Exercises are described and illustrated for clarity, and charts are provided for those who want to keep records.

Calisthenics Programs

Calisthenics programs, like most others, fall into discernible patterns. They stress different types of exercise depending on how they were originally conceptualized and drawn up. They can be completely adequate as individualized fitness programs for home use if the exerciser pays attention to certain basics.

Before adapting a calisthenics program to his or her own needs, the individual should make sure that the program has the following characteristics:

The program should include exercises that develop circulorespiratory fitness. These can be added to the basic calisthenics program if they are not integral parts of it from the beginning. For example, a walking or walk-jog section can be added to the basic program. Running in place between calisthenics routines is sometimes a desirable approach.

Calisthenics (Women)

Calisthenics (Women)

The program should include exercises that provide work for all the body's major muscle systems.

The program should allow for challenging rates of progression for the out-of-shape beginner as well as the person in very good condition. Progress in the areas of muscular strength and endurance and cardiorespiratory efficiency are particularly important.

Each session should include a warm-up and a cool-down.

As with other fitness programs, the calisthenics program should include at least three sessions weekly, and each session should last at least 30 minutes.

Questionable exercises should be approached with caution or eliminated.

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