How Did I Become Fitter, Stronger, and Healthier
I transformed my fitness with flexible exercises at home. Yes, without going to a gym!
In my personal development and biohacking journey, exercise made the biggest impact on my transformation both at personal and professional level. Before you stop reading with the fear of exercise, let me assure that the exercises I introduce here are not the type which can strain you but to give you pleasure and joy.
I am not cruel to tell you to go to the gym every day at four AM and perspire hours carrying of heavyweight or swim at five o'clock in the morning when everyone was enjoying a restful morning routine at their warm home.
My approach is much gentler. I aim to introduce enjoyable, effective, and convenient exercise; which I have been promoting as a "joyful exercise" in my circles, and 99% of my target group agrees with it and some enthusiasts keep sending me thank you letters. You may be asking about the remaining 1%, well, they are beyond my influence circles as I am not a superhuman yet.
Let me start with my all-time favorite, trampoline.
I came across trampolines when a new trampoline fitness center was opened in our suburb years ago. My young son was so much into it that he dragged us to the center almost every day. He is now an adult with good muscle build and turned to be my testimony for the wonders of trampoline.
One day I was so curious when he was jumping with his friends and participated in his session. It was amazing fun. I was re-living my childhood. Time passed so quickly that a one-hour session was like one minute. My heart rate, which I checked from my smartwatch, was showing that it was very elevated. I was in a euphoric state.
After an hour's jumping session, I felt great that night. My sleep was flawless. After that each time we took our son to the center, I kept jumping with the kids. With this simple activity, my fitness increased substantially in a month or so.
After a while, we couldn't go to the center due to his other extracurricular activities and educational commitments. I was missing the fun but was reluctant to go to a children's center as an adult. I didn't want to be labelled or abused with some provocative remarks.
Then one day I saw an advertisement on YouTube about a trampoline company in the USA. They were shipping overseas. The ad inspired me, so I ordered a small trampoline to use in my study room.
This trampoline was more expensive than my other fitness gears, but it was one of the best investments and most useful hacks I have ever tried. This simple tool made a significant impact on my health. It became my best friend in the winter, especially on rainy days when I couldn't go out.
I learnt innovative ways to use the indoor trampoline. Nowadays, there are times I watch some programs on my PC or listen to my favorite Audible books. Those are the times to hop on the trampoline and slowly walk or jump on it.
Using trampoline helps me reduce my stress and complete my daily ten thousand step walking goal, which I obsessively and habitually monitor through my smartwatch and create patterns as a data driven "metal head", as my father used to call me during my engineering studies.
In addition, I learnt that use of trampoline has some additional benefits to our health. After learning those benefits, I observed the positive changes in my health. For example, it increased lymphatic flow in my body, hence helped detoxification. My family doctor said that cleansing the lymphatic system also can improve our immune system. He encouraged me to keep going.
Another benefit I found in the literature and verified with my family doctor was increased skeletal and overall bone density. This is extra important benefit for my aging body was music to my ears. I learnt from my fitness consultant that trampoline activity can be preventative for skeletal decay.
Besides improved fitness, I also observed that my heart rate does not go as high as in my earlier days. Obviously, it helped me become fitter.
I also read about the benefit of increasing oxygen circulation, hence increasing cell energy. I don't have a device to test this, but my overall breathing profile improved based on the way I breathe during the trampoline sessions and even get better afterwards. My doctor was optimistic about this finding too. He didn't stop me from jumping on trampoline at least 30 minutes a day.
I used to run and jog years ago and used to feel awful afterwards due to pain in my joints. How naive was I! Now jogging, running or hopping on the trampoline, there is no excessive pressure on my joints. Protecting our joints is another preventative measure for premature aging and potential skeletal risks of disease.
Another benefit I gained from jumping on the trampoline in different patterns that I learnt from kids was gaining better balance. I read in the literature that jumping on a trampoline can stimulate the vestibular and the semicircular canals in the middle ear and help us improve balance. When I mentioned this to my family doctor, he smiled and kindly told me that I knew more than him and recommended me to document my findings for a collaborative medical case study.
Interestingly, some trampoline fans even make claims that it can prevent cancer through the improved circulation of the lymphatic fluid by removing cancerous cells in the body, but I don't have a way to test this in my hacks. However, it is refreshing to hear about these useful speculations as they may be validated in the future and become a truth. I'd personally keep an open mind about these potential benefits of trampolines.
Best of all, I did not experience any side effects of hopping on a trampoline. The only risk is falling from the trampoline if not done correctly or not paying attention. Therefore, I ensure that there are no sharp objects around the trampoline, and it is on a smooth carpet in my study room.
My second favorite exercise tool is the vibration machine.
This wonder machine is excellent for overall muscle workout. It is fun and affordable. I usually hop on it for ten minutes and feel that all muscles are worked out.
It was originally designed for the astronauts to keep muscle mass in space, as the fast vibration causes involuntary movements in muscles.
Since I started using a vibration machine, over twelve years now, I noticed improvements in my muscle tone and bone density as validated by semi annual Dexa scans. The Dexa analytics are extra kind to me as they think my biological age is two decade younger than my chronological age. I didn't mention this to my wife so let's keep it secret here.
Using a vibration machine daily also improved my fitness for other cardiovascular exercises. It has also been useful to maintain better balance, improved flexibility and coordination. Using a vibration machine with a trampoline at home has been the best combination of a daily exercise regimen for me even if I cannot go out or to the gym some days due to weather conditions, work schedule or other commitments.
My third favorite, last but not least, is the good old pull-up machine.
I found the pull-up machine a most effective strength and weight training tool. Pull-ups can be used to develop strength and increase muscle mass, focusing on the large muscles of the back and the biceps.
Having a pull-up machine at home and doing a few pull-ups in the mornings and the evenings after work turned into a good habit for me. On the days I cannot go to the gym, this pull-up machine, after the trampoline and vibration machine, has been my first go-to machine at home. While using the trampoline and vibration machine for cardiovascular purposes, I use the pull-up machine for strength training.
Initially I was able to do only five pull-ups with great difficulty. All my body was shaking and getting sore after even one set of five reps. After years of practice at home on my pull-up machine, I can now achieve 20 consecutive pull-ups daily with no recovery time required. It takes only five minutes to do three sets. I feel great when I perform three sets of 20 pull-ups in the morning. Purchasing a pull-up machine was only a $200 investment, but it was worth it.
These three convenient exercises helped me to improve my fitness and provided many health benefits.
Why not you try them?
Thank you for reading my perspective.
Disclaimer: Original version of this story was published on another platform. Link to previous version: https://medium.com/illumination-curated/do-you-want-to-be-fitter-stronger-healthier-happier-and-wiser-without-going-to-a-gym-dee14a86dbc6
Reference: Simple & Powerful Life-Transforming Bio-Hacks by Dr Mehmet Yildiz Link: https://books2read.com/u/4j1QWo
About the author
I'm a writer and published author with four decades of content development experience in business, technology, leadership, and health. I work as a postdoctoral researcher and consultant. My background is at https://digitalmehmet.com.