Situps, Pushups, and Squats?

The truth is — my clothes weren’t fitting, and I refused to buy bigger ones. I even noticed being short of breath from time to time when doing simple things like laundry. Something needed to change. April seemed as good a time as any, and so I chose to take some action.

My eighty-one-year-old father wakes up around 5:30 each morning and does a whole routine of calisthenics, and I mean seven days a week. Weekdays he still works full-time, and knowing him, I’m betting on some major overtime. He’s the picture of health. I’ve asked about the particulars of his workout, and he has told me. I would’ve needed to write it down to remember. It’s a lot, but I know he exercises in sets.

On the first day of April, I decided to come up with a routine of my own. I wanted to keep it simple and doable. Situps, pushups, and squats. “I can do that,” I said to myself. I had a plan. I started with ten situps, ten pushups, and twenty squats. Each day, I would add five. After the first Sunday in April, I decided to take Sundays off. On another day, I decided I would quit adding five when I reached one hundred repetitions. Modifications are sometimes necessary. Progress is progress. By April 14, 2021, I was up to seventy situps and pushups and eighty squats. The squats were not a problem. The push-ups were harder. And the sit-ups were f-ing ridiculous. I broke them down into sets. If it took me all damn day, I would do them.

But, I sort of hated my life mid-situp and needed some motivation. You know what I did? I Googled the benefits, and Healthline.com gave me nine great reasons to just keep going:

  1. Core strength. By strengthening, tightening, and toning your core, you reduce your risk of back pain and injuries.
  2. Improved muscle mass. According to research from 2016, older women who were able to do situps were less likely to have sarcopenia, which is the natural loss of muscle due to aging. Women who were able to do more than 10 situps had higher levels of muscle mass and function. 
  3. Athletic performance. A strong core gives you proper posture, stability, and form, allowing you to perform at higher levels during any sport or physical activity.
  4. Better balance and stability. A strong core helps to keep your body balanced and stable. It helps your pelvis, lower back, and hip muscles to work together with your abdominal muscles.
  5. Increased flexibility. Situps make your hips and back more flexible, which increases mobility and relieves tension and tightness. Increased flexibility improves circulation and concentration, reduces stress, and boosts energy levels.
  6. Improved posture. A solid core improves posture, and good posture includes less pain and tension, increased energy levels, and improved breathing.
  7. Reduced risk of back pain and injury. Situps also build strength in the lower back, hips, and pelvis, making injury less likely.
  8. Diaphragm strengthening. Situps cause compression of the abdomen, which can have a positive effect on your diaphragm. A strong, healthy diaphragm can improve your breathing patterns, alleviate stress, and enhance athletic endurance.
  9. Academic Achievement. Studies link high fitness levels to high academic achievement levels.

On Monday the 19th, I reached one hundred squats, and yesterday, I reached one hundred situps and pushups. I must admit — I feel stronger, my shape is slowly morphing, and my lower back pain (of the past few years) has improved. Benefits aside, I’m not sure 100 situps a day is sustainable. April is proving I can do anything one month at a time. When May rolls around, I may reassess.

44 thoughts on “Situps, Pushups, and Squats?

    1. Sometimes I just put my mind to it, Jane. Thank you! Adding five a day seemed doable at the beginning of the month. Now I’m committed to riding out the month. My beach vacation in May is keeping me going.

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    1. I’ll be ready for a change up at the end of the month. Even if I backed off to 50 of each or try something completely new, that’s still more than I was doing before April. Good luck, Rebecca! Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks, Crystal, for showing us the benefits of having strong core muscles.

    As I am researching the health benefits of laughter, I see that laughing also helps to tone the abdominal muscles.

    Laughing is thus also a part of my fitness routine. 😄😄⚘

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    1. Thanks, LA! I really hate the core work, but the other alternative is no longer an option for me. I have to focus on the good to keeping going. Good luck! The key is to find what works for you. (And I’m still looking.)

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    1. 😂 Thanks, Jerry! I jogged for about four minutes the other day. And yesterday I finished Haruki Murakami’s memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Now he’s a runner. I’m finally concluding I’m not, but I will keep giving it a little effort.

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  2. Good for you and your Dad, Crystal. Exercise is necessary to sustain us for the long haul. When I was working 12 hour days and 65 hour weeks, I never found time for a regular routine. Now, with our morning routines (balance, weights and resistance), many weekly walks (20-30 km) and bicycle rides, I am in better shape now at 67 than I was at 40. I’ve never been into running, though. Too high an impact for my knees and too hard to keep stopping to take photos. Stay well and stay healthy. Allan

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  3. Keep at it!! It’s an accumulation process… it feels slow but one day you’ll notice a pep on your step and the ability to jog up that stairway, and you’ll say hey… I can do that now!🤔😁😉😊

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  4. Thanks! I needed a push! I have been doing squats two to three times a week for awhile. But I probably need to add more days and more exercises. I have a huge fear about getting old and not being able to take care of myself. Especially since I have no children. I need to get in shape. Thanks for the encouragement. I must say that I also squeeze in some of the plies from time to time now too!! Those are fun. 😊

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    1. Great! You’re welcome, Bridget. I’ve sort of been that way with squats, too. Hit and miss and then none for long stretches. For awhile I tried to do them in the shower. 😂 I like the idea of adding pliés. Thanks for visiting!

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  5. Whatever happened to the benefits of being fat and sassy? Sit-ups and squats? I can sit for really long stretches of time, then I get “up”, and squat when I’m emptying the dishwasher after eating a huge meal. I look exactly as you would expect. Sound. You are an inspiration Crystal, you go girl, C

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  6. You’re an inspiration, Crystal, both for yourself and, as important, for us. Imagine how surprised, and gratified, I am to read of your incremental approach. Honestly – I thought I was the only one who did that!

    As our forties come – and, sadly, also go, eventually – fitness isn’t nearly as automatic as it once was. Then for me, couple that with cooking (Naturally. I have to taste before I tell, don’t I?), and the Fatter than Ever title is mine for the asking.

    Or it would be, were it not for positive motivators such as you.

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  7. Sigh, this might be the motivation I needed lol the fire under my butt to get me started again…. I took a break a few months ago and lost all progress 😔 I do want to get back into fitness though, so thanks for the little push 🙂 wish me luck!

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