11 Weird Old-Fashioned Exercise Habits We Should Actually Bring Back
If you're currently on an exercise plan that makes you feel great, then by all means stick with it. Exercise is about finding what feels right for you, as well as what feels fun. That said, there's no denying the benefits of some old-school exercise habits.
If you want to add a few new things to your workout routine, I highly recommend you give them a try. "Some old-school exercise habits have been making a resurgence lately, and for good reason: they work," fitness and nutrition expert Mike Clancy, of Mike Clancy Training, tells Bustle. "Typically, the fitness industry goes through this cycle of implementing these new styles of exercise to keep people interested and engaged, but sooner or later, the push-up and the sit-up becomes the focal point of the workout."
While there's nothing wrong with what gyms and exercise videos currently have on offer, sometimes classic movements — like handstands or jumping rope — are all the body needs. "When we break free from the confines of things 'designed' for fitness and engage in movements that the body was naturally designed to do, that's when we see the greatest impact," says Will Torres, celebrity trainer and founder of WILLSPACE. "Allowing the body to use its full potential gives us better movement and better results." Read one for some great examples that are simply too cool to pass up.
1. A Few Sets Of Handstands
While kind of tricky at first, doing handstands is an incredible way to work out your whole body. "It works not only our major muscle groups like the core (abs and obliques, back and glutes) but also our stabilizer muscles like the rotator cuff, which our gym culture has forgotten about," says Torres. "The handstand requires us to train our upper body to lift, balance, and stabilize [the] lower body." Throw a few of these into your routine, and you'll feel stronger in no time.
2. Some Classic Pushups
Back in the day, workouts used to consist of little more than pushups. "This was a favorite approach of old-time strongmen, and it’s a secret weapon of plenty of strong people today," kettle bell coach Nick Collias, PCC tells Bustle.
3. Swinging From Rings In The Park
As Torres tells me, hanging from rings — like you used to do at recess — is another classic move that's great for the body. "Ring work ... stretches us out, creates long lean muscles, and builds strength," he says. It's apparently really difficult to do at first, but it's possible to work up your strength.
4. Jumping Rope (Or Just Jumping)
If you haven't jumped rope since you were a kid, it may be time to bring it back. "Jumping rope is a great example of a classic exercise that now is being utilized in many different fitness settings," says Clancy. "Even the fanciest machines and equipment cannot replace the natural movements and capabilities of the human body."
5. A Round Of Calisthenics
While you're doing some pushups, go ahead and add in a few classic calisthenics, too. "Gravity is constant, and calisthenics work the body from the resistance of gravity," Clancy says. "Calisthenic exercises like squats, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, lunges, and sit-ups work just as [well] as machines and are 100 percent portable." So really, you can do them any time and anywhere.
6. Crunches On An Exercise Ball
Exercise ball workouts used to be a pretty big deal, and for good reason. "They were so great because they provided a full range of motion during ab exercises, allowing for full flexion and extension of the abdominals and the spine in opposition," says fitness expert Jillian Dreusike, founder of the ballet cardio school allongée. "cause they call for greater range of movement, many of the exercises will actually raise the heart rate even during seated core strength work phrases." All in the name of feeling your best.
7. Hanging Out In A Steam Sauna
I feel like gyms don't have saunas as often as they used to, and I'd really like that to change — especially since they offer amazing health benefits. As fitness education coordinator Raphael Konforti says, "The effects of a hot sauna steam are almost too good to be true." And, as Konforti tells me, hanging out in the steam has been shown to decrease risk of heart disease. Pretty interesting, right?
8. Playing Like You're At Recess
As certified strength and conditioning specialist Tyler Spraul says, "Kids and adults alike could use more 'play' in their daily lives." And I kind of agree. Remember how great you'd feel after running wild and free after recess? You were working out, but didn't even know it. To achieve this as an adult, consider playing soccer in a park, or running around a field with your dog. Hopefully you'll feel just as great.
9. Dancing Around Your Apartment
While we all dance around our apartments, did you ever think about making it a daily exercise routine? "My constant advice is do what exercise you like and that you will actually do consistently," registered dietician Monica Auslander, MS, RDN, tells Bustle. "I love the idea of making a Spotify playlist of your favorite jams ... and setting a timer to just dance for 20 minutes. Imagine how good that feels!"
10. Going For Morning Walks
It seems no one has time these days for morning walks, but I still think we should bring them back. "Feeling the elements of nature on the face and being outside just awakens the senses," says author and life coach KJ Landis. "It also pumps the circulation, improves mood, and — if walking up a hill or fast — revs up metabolism for the day." What could be better than that?
11. Partaking In Some Step Aerobics
OK, so this one is about as old-school as it gets. As Dreusike tells me, step aerobics has a heart-pounding cardio affect, along with some ballet-cardio choreography, which combine together to make a pretty great workout. If you've never gone to a class or popped in an 80s VHS workout tape, then I highly recommend you give it a try.
Because again, exercise should be fun and effective. And to get that, sometimes we just gotta turn to the classics.