Exercise is extremely important for both mental and physical health. Exercise has the ability to increase your mental capability for handling stress. During exercise, your brain will produce BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) and Endorphines.
BDNF is a biological link between thought emotions and movement, it has been called “miracle grow” for the mind. It improves the function of neurons while encouraging their growth and protecting them from natural cell death. This growth can help clear the mind leading to easier decision making and faster learning.
Endorphins are associated with the minimization of discomfort, blocking pain and feeling pleasures. These chemicals are the reason exercising can leave you feeling so good. The are also addictive. Exercise also boosts dopamine storage and triggers dopamine receptors. With that, motivation, willpower, and focus increase. It can also boost nurepronephrine and serotonin which can aid is the battle against depression and anxiety.
You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to reap these benefits, you simply have to start. This fitness challenge is made up of basic exercises that anyone can do. Try it a few times a week and you will see progress physically and mentally.
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Jumping Jacks
Jumping Jacks are one of the most basic and most popular calisthenic exercises. They are perfect for interval training. Jumping Jacks are a quick way to warm up your body and elevated your heart rate before or during strength training. 
Jumping jacks provide a full-body workout because you engage all of your large muscle groups. Breathing deeply during the exercise will engage your core so that you will also target your abdominal muscles. There are many Jack variations.
To do a basic jumping jack:
  1. Start with your feet together and your arms at your side
  2. Open your legs and bring up your arms in one swift motion
  3. Return to starting position and repeat in succession

 

Crunches
Crunches are an extremely basic abdominal strength training exercise so it is easy to just throw them away. It is very important to be conscientious of your form while performing a basic crunch. With good form, you can move on to variations of the exercise firing more core areas.
To do a basic crunch:
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
  2. Place your hands behind your head so your thumbs are behind your ears. Don’t lace your fingers together. Hold your elbows out to the sides but rounded slightly in.
  3. Tilt your chin slightly, leaving a few inches of space between your chin and your chest. Or look directly up ( I prefer this variation)
  4. Pull your abdominals inward so you curl up and forward. Your head, neck, and shoulder blades should lift off the floor.
  5. Hold slightly, lower yourself, and repeat.
If you are straining yourself, you are doing something wrong. This exercise should be focused on your core and if you are feeling any superfluous pain, you should adjust immediately.
Squats
Squats are a full-body exercise that work the hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core when performed correctly. .
To perform a basic squats:
  1. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles. Roll your shoulders back (no turtle squats!!!) And hold your arms in a comfortable position. This varies person to person and sometimes set to set. Inhale and unlock the hips, slightly bringing them back.
  2. Keep sending hips backward as the knees bend. Make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward with eyes looking ahead.
  3. Squat as deeply as your own flexibility allows. Engage core and, with bodyweight in the heels.
  4. Explode back up to standing, driving through heels (like jumping without your feet leaving the floor.)

Push Ups

Pushups are a fundamental exercise and for me, they are the most difficult of the basics. Pushups engage your full body and work various muscle groups from the shoulders down.

To do a proper push up:

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands at a distance that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Set your feet a comfortable distance apart giving yourself as wide or narrow a base as you can sustain.
  3. Keep your body as straight as you can and activate your core and your glutes. Keep your gaze slightly ahead of yourself, not straight down.
  4. Bend your arms until your chest touches the ground, or as low as is comfortable for you. Explode up into your high plank.
  5. Repeat.

Now you have no excuses. You know how to do all the exercises and adding these to your day can improve your quality of life. No more excuses. Get Started!

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