Exercising is one way of keeping oneself fit and healthy. If you want an exercise that benefits many parts of your body, push ups is one of them. It is a great exercise that both men and women can perform with benefits that go beyond muscle strengthening.
Here are 11 health benefits of push ups that you can take advantage of when practiced regularly.
1. Strengthens and builds major muscles in your upper body
When doing push ups, you are involving the major muscles in your upper body, including your chest muscles and your triceps. Doing regular push ups helps strengthen these muscles. It also helps increase your body’s production of HGH or Human Growth Hormone, which is responsible for building muscle mass.
With better upper body strength and mass, you can improve your performance on other exercise routines, as well as other daily tasks. Push up is also a great exercise for women who lack upper body strength.
2. Benefits other muscles in your body
Apart from strengthening the major muscles in your upper body, doing push ups also involves other muscles in your body, starting from your neck down to your toes, including your shoulder blades, biceps, and hamstrings.
It helps build strength to muscles that are undertrained. It also strengthens your core muscles, including your abs, your obliques (muscles above your hips), and your thighs.
This is probably the reason why, according to WebMD, many fitness experts agree that push ups is the closest thing there is to a perfect exercise.
3. Promotes balance that lowers your risk for injuries
Doing push ups is considered safer than other resistance exercises, since there is balance and support when performing it. When doing bench press, for example, you may be building strength on your chest and shoulder, but you are restricting the movement of your shoulder blades, which could lead to rotator cuff injuries.
Push ups, on the other hand, allow your shoulder blades to move freely during the exercise without the risk of injuring your rotator cuff.
4. Prevents shoulder and neck pain
The muscles in your shoulders are also moved and worked when you do push-ups. This gives your shoulder joints and muscles the flexibility and strength that help avoid shoulder and neck pain.
5. Helps prevent lower back pain
Push ups strengthen your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles, giving sufficient support to your spine. This promotes stability to your torso that helps prevent lower back pain and injuries. So if you do a lot carrying and lifting, push up is a great routine exercise for you.
6. Corrects your posture
Keeping your back straight is the correct way to do a push up. When correct form is regularly practiced, push ups can eventually correct your posture and protect you from different body pains and injuries.
7. Makes you more agile
Any exercise focused on a particular part of the body makes that body part more flexible. Because push ups involve a wide range of body parts and muscles, your body in general becomes more flexible and agile. Sports and other daily activities would become easier and less exhausting for you to do when you perform push ups regularly.
8. Promotes healthier bones
Push up is a type of resistance exercise that uses body weight. Just like other resistance exercises, push ups make your bones healthier and stronger. It particularly strengthens your wrist bones up to your shoulders. Push ups keep your bones denser and help inhibit bone loss, thus aiding in the prevention of osteoporosis.
9. Increases testosterone levels that prevent many diseases
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reveals that testosterone levels increase as greater numbers of muscle fibers are involved in an exercise for large muscle groups. This is true for push ups since they move large muscles, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
When your testosterone levels increase, your risk for developing osteoporosis, diabetes, and high blood pressure would considerably decrease. Optimum testosterone levels also prevent visceral fat from forming inside your body.
10. Promotes cardiovascular health
Although a push up is not considered as a cardio exercise, it promotes a healthy heart. Push ups help in the blood circulation of your body that keeps your heart working in good condition.
11. Helps you lose weight
Push ups and other resistance exercises may not burn as much calories as aerobic exercises do, but since they build up muscles, they help burn calories faster. Doing push ups also increases your metabolic rate, thus aiding in weight loss. ,
Precautions when doing push ups
Wrist and other injuries
Push up is a wonderful exercise, but it must be practiced with care to avoid injuries. Since wrist injuries can happen when doing push ups, Live Strong suggests that instead of placing your palms on the floor, you can use a dumbbell in each hand to do push ups.
To avoid spine and back injuries, Jessica Bottesch, a personal trainer and co-owner of Empower Personal Training in Durham, N.C., suggests that you need to make sure that your body is aligned starting from your head down to your ankles.
Shoulder pain and injuries
When you have an existing shoulder injury or you experience shoulder pain when doing push ups, consult your doctor to make sure you will not cause further injury to your shoulders.
Difficulty in doing push ups
If you are just getting started in doing push ups or you are having difficulty in doing so, you can do a modified push up using your knees instead of your toes to avoid injuries. This will also help build up your strength until you are ready to do a regular push up and gain all the push up benefits.
Aside from all the healthy benefits, push ups can also performed comfortably at home without the need for any equipment. You do not need to hit the gym. You do not need to buy expensive exercise equipment. All you need is yourself, your determination, and some space on the floor to start doing push ups and keep yourself fit and healthy.
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