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Surprising Science

Calisthenics: The Anywhere Workout

Jeffrey Potteiger, an exercise scientist at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, says that calisthenics is again becoming popular, though it’s health benefits have long been known. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Public relations consultant Pierre Rougier relies on a series of rapid calisthenic workouts to stay fit, a challenge for anyone who travels for a living. Lacking regular access to a gym or the opportunity for natural exercise, urban dwellers and busy bodies are turning more and more to a basic personalized workout routine that can be performed almost anywhere. Exercise scientist at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Jeffrey Potteiger says: “You’re going to challenge the major muscle groups, maintain fitness, and because you’re doing the exercises in rapid succession, you’re going to raise your heart rate and get some of the cardiovascular benefits. Plus, you don’t need a lot of space and time.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The American lifestyle doesn’t always provide for natural ways to stay fit. Whether it’s long working hours or a sedentary tendency, many are finding it increasingly difficult to stay in shape without committing serious amounts of time and money toward the goal of simply living a healthy life. Calisthenics, or using your own body weight as resistance for a series of quick exercises, is again becoming popular, perhaps because it can be done almost anywhere—the office, a park, at home or in a hotel room. “If I was away on business and I had limited time, I think that would be an excellent workout to do,” Dr. Potteiger said.


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