The perfect exercise

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Now, it’s important to do a variety of exercises, but if you only had time for one kind, then the pushup is an excellent choice. Did you know one pushup can test the ENTIRE body? It exercises your chest, stomach muscles, hips, legs, and arms, not to mention giving your heart something to beat faster about.

A proper push-up is done by making your body as straight as a wooden plank, having your toes and palms on the ground, and then lifting your body weight up and down. By the way, pushups aren’t just for guys wanting to look buff. They are equally important for all you ladies out there and even older people.

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Besides the obvious benefit of making your muscles tougher, pushups can also help you whenever you trip over something and fall to the ground. Why? Because your muscles can develop something called “muscle memory”, where they remember how to do something they’ve done a bunch of times before. So guess what? Next time your friend trips you or you didn’t see that backpack in the classroom aisle, when you fall to the ground, your body will remember how to absorb the impact in the wrists and arms, bending your elbows just like a pushup.

Even when you get older they can help a ton, because between the ages of 20 and 70, you’ll end up losing 30 percent of your strength. But if you’ve been working those muscles, like with lots of pushups, you can actually increase your strength.

Now, it’s important that you don’t strain yourself, so if it hurts, just start with a few pushups. There’s nothing wrong with starting small. If a regular pushup is too much, you can cheat by using your knees instead of your toes or leaning against a countertop at a 45-degree angle and pushing away from it.