Basic fitness

A place to discuss health and fitness, including healthy diets, etc.
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Basic fitness

Post by Miroku » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:23 pm


I was just wondering, since many of dharmawheel guys workout, what would you recommend for someone who just wants to train the whole body as much as possible with nothing but his own body and a couple of weights at home? I am not very muscly, nor very interested in painful workouts. My only exercise are prostrations which are very good on legs especially and as a cardio (if someone knows what other parts of body prostrations work on please tell me) and then pushups, crunches and squats. What I am looking for is just keeping the body working really and adding bit muscle and making it firmer since due to my lifestyle I am slowly becoming the fat and happy buddha. :) What else should I add? What exercises would you recommend to keep fit? Do you have any tips for exercise beginners who sucked horribly at pe?
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Re: Basic fitness

Post by boda » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:50 pm

A couple of sets (10-15 reps) for every mussel group a few times a week should maintain good conditioning. Do enough weight where around 10 reps reaches near mussel failure. You’ll only be sore when starting, or if there are big gapes between workouts, like over a week or so.

I’ve found that dumbbells are best for weight training. I suppose that’s because they’re the most natural. Machines don’t straighten as much and may leave you prone to injury. A couple of dumbbells at the right weight could take care of all the arms, except for chest I guess. Pushups could supplement. Squats, lunges, and calf raises could take care of legs. Not sure how you could do hamstrings though. Maybe bands? Could do isometric and yoga type stuff for core, as well as sit-ups.

Mussel burns calories just by being there so it’s a good way to start losing weight, but any workout program should include cardio, which could be swimming, cycling, running, or just walking.

Good luck with you fitness endeavors, Miroku, it is well worth the effort in general health and mental wellbeing.

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Re: Basic fitness

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:52 am

Honestly, if you are just worried about basic health, long walks, maybe some bodyweight exercise or weights are where its at. If you want to do something specific, bigger question.
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Re: Basic fitness

Post by Joseph » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:06 am

I try and do 1hr Yantra Yoga / day .

Depending on the Yantras it can get quite sweaty. :twothumbsup:
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Re: Basic fitness

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:16 am

When I was in my mid-twenties - long time ago, now :smile: - I took up jogging. Never ran competitively, but trained to be able to run distances of 6- 10 km. It had an enormously beneficial effect - I found after I had a really good, hard run, then showered and cooled off, it felt like my entire body had been taken to pieces, oiled and lubricated, and the re-assembled. I think that is 'runner's high'. It also really levelled off mood-swings, I found.

Then I took up swimming - aimed for 20 x 50 meter laps, i.e. 1 Km. When I first started, I could hardly do a lap, but stuck with it - took about 6 weeks to work up to that. Likewise, had a great physical effect, hugely improved the physique. I still do a 20-lap swim regularly in summer (very slowly, mind you - anyone who has swam competitively will lap me repeatedly, but it doesn't really matter.)

For years afterwards I would run on beach (has to be low tide, when the sand is hard) and then swim laps in the coastal pools. Still do. Works.
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Re: Basic fitness

Post by TharpaChodron » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:12 am

Get a jump rope. It worked for Rocky.

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Re: Basic fitness

Post by amanitamusc » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:02 am

I kick a soccer ball against the ball park back stop fence.The closer you get and the
harder you kick the more you get.

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Re: Basic fitness

Post by boda » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:28 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:16 am
Then I took up swimming - aimed for 20 x 50 meter laps, i.e. 1 Km. When I first started, I could hardly do a lap, but stuck with it - took about 6 weeks to work up to that. Likewise, had a great physical effect, hugely improved the physique. I still do a 20-lap swim regularly in summer (very slowly, mind you - anyone who has swam competitively will lap me repeatedly, but it doesn't really matter.)
I’ve been doing 20 laps swims a few times a week for many years. I sometimes do more but 20 is a good minimum.

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Re: Basic fitness

Post by Queequeg » Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:49 pm

At a minimum, stretch, calisthenics and a little cardio.

If you want to push beyond just body weight, get some resistance bands and tune into youtube for basic workouts. Another great thing about resistance bands is that you can pack them when traveling for a workout anywhere.

Beyond that, get a gym membership and take some personal training to learn how to use free weights. Personally, I really like the dynamism of kettle bells.

As someone mentioned above, avoid machines unless you know what you're doing - the way they limit movement is not good for you unless you are doing other exercises to also engage the muscles that stabilize the body - as when you use free weights.

Keep in mind form is critical - bad form diminishes the effect of your exercises and can lead to injury.

Don't forget the core - core exercises are necessities, especially if you're like many office workers these days who spend long hours sitting in chairs.

Good luck!
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Re: Basic fitness

Post by PSM » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:46 pm

Have a Google for Convict Conditioning if you want ideas on bodyweight exercises. It goes from the very easy to the very, very difficult.

And of course, as others have said, there's yoga.

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Re: Basic fitness

Post by justsit » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:19 am

For overall basic fitness, you need to address strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and flexibility.

My routine includes hand weights and some calisthenics at home 2-3x/week, walk at a brisk pace about 2 miles every day the weather permits, and yoga class twice a week. You can usually find inexpensive weights on craigslist or at the Goodwill or yard sales, and my yoga class is no frills through the local Parks and Rec department, so very wallet friendly, as Chez Justsit is a low budget operation.

Don't forget balanced diet to help promote health as well. And drink water.

Works for me, might for you too!

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Re: Basic fitness

Post by madhusudan » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:25 pm

Just to add some ideas on simple bodyweight exercises:

Deck of Cards: The exercises are squats and pushups. Shuffle a deck of cards. Red can be squats, and black can be pushups. Flip over the cards and do that number of reps. It's pretty tough to complete, so begin without the face cards if necessary and work up gradually.

Burpee Ladder: Do 20 burpees. Walk across the room and do 19 burpees. Walk back to the other side and do 18. Continue down until you reach 1. Start with fewer if needed.

As has been mentioned, stretching is fundamental to basic fitness. I do Surya Namaskar just because it's got a nice flow.

For me, now, I'm using a kettlebell. I like how it combines strength and cardio into one routine. The two most important movements that create most of a full program are swings and Turkish get ups. The former exercise is rather technical, but can be learned broken down into parts of the whole. There are many good videos online to get the proper form. If you're willing to make a small investment in the kettlebell, it's definitely a good option.

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Re: Basic fitness

Post by DharmaN00b » Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:18 pm

Well ability to squat is (arguably) a critical bio-marker in terms of mortality yet many people stop doing this beyond the baby phase of life.

In order to do a squat after years of not doing so, you gradually ease yourself into position as best you can with different stance and foot positioning. This is the dynamic part of movement.

Squat movements may also involve rotational exercises which can be dynamic or static. This means rotating the femur out and in for best range of movement (while bracing the knee joint)

Static movements will also eliminate the stretch reflex, which acts as a protector against muscle and connective tissue tears. Again, we want to ease ourselves into position to allow neural adaptation as opposed to neural resistance. But you probably already know this.

TLDR You don't stretch to do a movement the movement is the actual stretch unless it's a static stretch which is like a green light for the brain to permit a new range of movement. Until then brain says Not do! You prove different!
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Re: Basic fitness

Post by humble.student » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:37 pm

Try the books (one, or both) 'Structural Fitness' or 'Soft Exercise', both by John Stirk. They're out of print but should be available quite cheaply secondhand.

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