Push ups and sit ups could add years to your life according to a new study of over 80,000 adults led by the University of Sydney. The study found that people who did strength-based exercise – such as push ups and sit ups – had a 23 percent reduction in the risk of premature death by any means and a 31 percent reduction in cancer-related death.
The World Health Organisation’s Physical Activity Guidelines for adults recommend 150 minutes of aerobic activity, plus two days of muscle strengthening activities each week, however, 85 percent of Australians fail to meet the recommendations for the strength-based guidelines. While most people think of strength-based exercise as pumping iron at the gym, the reality is you can do strength-based exercise for free, any time, any where.
Here are three exercises to get you started.
1. Push up
Start on your knees facing the floor with your hands at shoulder-width, placed directly under the shoulders. You can either straighten your legs or stay on your knees. Slowly lower yourself to the ground until your chest is just above the ground, keeping. your elbows slightly tucked in. Return to the starting position by fully extending your arms, and repeat.
2. Sit up
Lie on your back. Bend your knees and plant your feet about hip-distance apart. Place your hands on the back of your head. Point your elbows to the sides of the room. Lift up your torso as high as you can without putting any strain on your back or neck. Return to the start position and repeat.
3. Split squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Next, take a step forward with your right foot, and a step backwards with your left foot. Keep the front heel flat and descend into a lunge, bringing your back knee towards the floor. Stop just short of the knee touching the ground on the back leg with the front heel still flat on the ground. Pause for one second and return to standing. Repeat a few times then change legs.