The proper spelling of calisthetics does not have that second c in it. The correct spelling, only discovered after many decades of trying to spell it incorrectly is, calisthenics, with an n. What is it? Calisthenics is a set of movements and exercises designed to increase body strength and grace of movement. The grace of movement part is what distinguishes these from other kinds of exercise, such as boxing, for instance.
Calisthenics exercise uses the body weight to work certain muscles. A sit up or push up is a calisthenics exercise. Such workouts rely on gross motor movement to grow muscle tone, function and strength. Stretching is a part of a calisthenics routine. Think tai chi and yoga as parts of the calisthenics family. If done vigorously and in a repeated pattern one can gain in aerobics fitness as well.
One thing I like about the distinction between calisthenics and other forms of exercise is the tempo option to move slowly. Deliberate, slow and fully concentrated on with the whole mind, feeling the experience. That is different than most martial arts exercise. It can feel like smooth dance and even meditation. Gymnastics can be calisthenics, beauty, all done without external weights, just the body in deliberate flowing motion.
There are calisthenics workout programs. In order to begin, one of the programs explains that I must be able to do five of each of push ups, squats, dips, pull ups and knee raises. The calisthenics workout program, usually customized for each person, can then begin and grow my physical ability and health. Sounds like a serious bit of workout. The one I saw on google is six months long. Arrgh!
The word calisthenics comes from the early 1800s, derived from kallos, meaning beauty and sthenos, meaning strength. Knowing this origin gives the word more of a prettiness, don’t you think? Strength in beautiful motion. Nice. I will do my sit ups with more deliberate motion from now on. Maybe that will make me more beautiful LOL. That change in perspective can only be a good thing.
Will you try it?