Shot of a fitness group working out at the gymOne of the biggest barriers to building strength and muscle is the belief that you need to go to a gym to do it.

This mentality is particularly dangerous for aging adults who can lose muscle, and therefore functionality and independence, rather quickly.

But you can use nothing but your body to build strength and muscle from the comfort of your own home. No gyms, community centers, or weights clanging around.

All exercise is beneficial, and body-weight exercises stack up well against other forms. Just how well? Let’s take a look.
It’s convenient: You can do it anywhere, meaning you don’t have to waste valuable time commuting. You can do it in your bedroom when you wake up or in front of the television in the evening. Even a hotel room can be your gym.

It costs virtually nothing: All you really need is a pair of sneakers and some clothing that allows you to move freely. A few props that you might need – like a chair, bench, countertop, or wall – are likely all things you own, anyways.

It is a welcoming atmosphere: There isn’t much to be intimidated by in your own home.

It is an effective form of exercise: Data shows that as a form of resistance training, body-weight exercises help build muscle “independent of an external load.”

Researchers also explored the effects of 10 weeks of body-weight exercise on various physical fitness parameters and found improvements in seven of them.

You don’t have to do much: Even small amounts of body-weight exercises can deliver results. In a small study of active people in their 60s, researchers found that a workout featuring eight simple lower-body exercises increased muscle strength and power in about ten months.

It offers “functional” exercise: Most body-weight exercises work multiple muscles and joints at the same time instead of just isolating one like most machines and dumbbell exercises do. This is more in line with mimicking everyday activities.

If you’ve been avoiding weight training because you’re intimidated or don’t have the time, focus on home workouts with body-weight exercises. You can research techniques online and start building for a more functional future.

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