Quick, what’s the first thing you think of when hear the word pushups? Your mind probably wanders to memories of being forced to do them in gym class. It’s okay to admit you just laid on the floor when the gym teacher turned his or her back.
But guess what? Your gym teacher wasn’t crazy. Pushups are surprisingly good for you. You know that familiar burn you feel when you lower your body to the floor? That’s created by the use of multiple muscles. In fact, almost all of your body’s muscles are used in some way.
Pushups are one of the only simple workouts that target so many muscles at once. You feel it in your biceps, core muscles, triceps, anterior deltoids, and your lower body muscle groups. All of these groups are activated to stabilize your body during the up and down movements.
Targeting all of these muscles at the same time makes pushups something we call a “compound exercise.”
Pushups also stretch your muscles. When you lower your body down to the floor, your back muscles are stretched; when you push yourself back up, your biceps are stretched. This improves flexibility, helps prevent injuries, and gives you the toned appearance you want.
Pushups also enhance your cardiovascular system because you heart has to work harder to pump blood to all of the muscles being used. In doing this, you support your heart and work on reducing stored fat.
Did you know that pushups can protect you from shoulder injuries? I know nobody wants to talk about getting old, but it’s inevitable. As you age, a common injury is to damage your rotator cuff. Doing pushups regularly is one of the most effective ways to protect and prevent your shoulder joint from injury.
In today’s society, everyone has their nose stuck in a laptop or on their cellphone. With the advances in technology comes bad posture. Pushups improve posture.
To have proper posture, your core muscles need to be strong and stabilized to support vertical positions. When pushups are properly executed, core muscles are strengthened and fine-tuned, improving posture because your body will want to be more in line.
So the next time someone mentions doing pushups, take a moment and remember all of the benefits it has for you before you roll your eyes and pass.
Posts by Kelly Springer, RD
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