Express News Service
KOCHI: A muscular body cannot be deemed to be a fit one. A person needs to cover all the necessary fitness components such as flexibility, muscular endurance, strength, cardiovascular endurance, and body composition. To attain all these, entire body movement is vital. So, if you think exercising with equipment is the only way to enable body movement, well, it’s time to take a break from those dumbbells and dive into calisthenics.
These exercises are a form of strength training that is predominantly performed with minimal equipment like pull-up bars, rings, skipping ropes, etc. This bodyweight training includes the basic form of exercises comprising pushups, pullups, crunches, squats, lunges, and advanced forms such as headstand, muscle-ups, front lever, 90-degree handstand pushups, planche hold and many more. These forms of exercises enable head-to-toe movement thereby making the body fit.
Calisthenics is in its infancy in India, but when it comes to Kerala its existence is almost negligible. The scarcity of suitable trainers has made this training regime unpopular among the masses. Of late, it is slowly gaining attention through the social media posts of Nipun Viju. The 23-year-old based in Ernakulam is one among the first entrants into calisthenics as a coach.
“Due to lack of awareness, calisthenic exercises are used in gyms as a warm-up technique as many don’t know the benefits. It can be a proper workout. The scarcity of trained coaches made me search more about it on the internet to get the crux of the technique,” says Nipun.
Watching Nipun perform, 36-year-old Binish Balan — along with several others — got inspired and became trainees under his guidance. “Calisthenics workout is a skill with varied potential, balancing both physical and psychological fitness levels. It is important to promote this art form by setting up the required platform and making it available to the masses,” said Binish.
Movement options available to humans are extensive. The current lifestyle requires only limited movement to survive. According to Nipun, loss of these motor abilities can lead to chronic pain.
“Working out at a gym with equipment can only enable isolated movement, which concentrates only on a specific muscle, whereas calisthenics involves compound exercises creating mobility in the entire body,” he added.
Good for the mind
The unique benefits of this exercise regime make it stand out. Movement of the whole body results in the burning of high calories and helps to gain an athletic physique. The gravity-defying skills not only boost one’s body power but also brain activity as it is important to focus during the skill acquisition phase of learning a new movement.
Setting and achieving goals, learning new things, and being resilient will have a positive impact on one’s mental health. With practice and focus, one will be able to perform the advanced form of calisthenics which will eventually shift the focus to what your body can do instead of what it just looks like. Issues with body image and dysmorphia can be reduced, added Nipun.
The fun, playful nature of calisthenics makes training and exercise enjoyable thereafter enabling them to move with more purpose and better quality. “Out of curiosity, many people look up on the internet to learn more about calisthenics only to come across people doing the advanced forms, which demotivates them from learning the exercise form. It is important to build strength and mobility before taking up the next level,” said Nipun.
Adding to other benefits, calisthenics can be performed wherever there’s enough space to move as it is all about mastering body weight. According to Nipun, the advanced forms can be a tad difficult for older people.