When it comes to your bone health, you’re right to think it’s a very big deal. After all, your bones make up your skeleton, which is your body’s fundamental support structure. But fortunately, it doesn’t take a big effort to bring about significant improvement in your bone health.
That’s why today I’m going to share three small tweaks that are designed to help two key areas of bone health: improving posture and preventing crippling falls.
Can Good Posture Strengthen Your Bones?
Standing up straight involves more than just looking good. Your posture actually affects the integrity of your bones, and here’s why.
Exercise and proper posture put “good stress” on your bones, stimulating them to become stronger and denser at the point of stress. Conversely, poor posture misaligns your bones and joints, thereby putting the wrong kind of stress (in the wrong places) on your bones. This can lead to pain, discomfort, and lack of healthy movement.
Proper posture keeps your bones in the correct place so they can function optimally, and the stress of gravity and muscle action work to strengthen and increase bone health. So for those with osteoporosis, good posture is particularly crucial.
Backaches And Balance: More Than Just A Pain In The Back
Back pain can be some of the most excruciating pain you experience. Because your spine is so central to your range of motion, when your back hurts, it affects the movement and the balance of your entire body. Your quality of life diminishes and you stop exercising, and the lack of movement makes your pain and balance worse increasing your chances of falling. You see, it’s a vicious cycle.
But you’re not helpless in the face of poor posture or balance! Here are three tweaks – small changes you can make in your daily habits – that can break the cycle.
1. Stop Carrying A Heavy Handbag
Anyone, regardless of age, can suffer postural misalignment and pain from carrying a heavy bag on one arm or, even worse, shoulder. Whether it’s a big purse or a weighty laptop and briefcase, one-sided toting can wreak havoc on your neck, shoulder, and vertebral alignment. To minimize the effects of heavy handbag posture, here are some easy tips:
- Keep your handbag weight below 3 pounds (make sure the handbag itself is lightweight as well).
- Choose a small bag with wide, padded straps that evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. It’s important that the handbag is small – if it’s large, it will soon become heavy.
- Don’t carry your handbag on one side only – switch often.
- Ergonomic handbags are also helpful, but the above tips still apply.
- A backpack or backpack-style purse is another way to prevent one-sided carrying.
2. Pay Attention To How Your Stand And Sit
Sitting and standing are things we do every day many times over, so it’s easy to stop paying attention to how we’re doing them. But the reality is, sitting and standing both put pressure on the lower back, especially if you have poor posture.
When you sit slumped, hunched, or leaning back, the wrong areas of your pelvis and lower back take the pressure, and the natural curvature of the spine becomes compromised. Your bones do not receive the healthy stress they need to stay strong. As a result, your back hurts.
Standing can also be strenuous on your lower back, especially if you stand in a “swayback” posture, where your lower back curve is exaggerated and your belly curves outward. This is why swayback posture contributes to a pot-bellied appearance. (We’ll discuss some abdominal exercises later.) It also can cause significant lower back pain.
Try some of these tips to help you be mindful of your body’s position while you sit or stand.
- Get a good look at yourself using a full-length mirror. Stand as you normally would and look for signs of poor posture: rounded shoulders, caved-in appearance to your chest, a swayback, one shoulder higher than the other, and so forth. If possible, keep a mirror near your workspace so you can check your posture as you sit, too.
- If you have to stand for long periods, change positions as often as you can. If you can put one foot up on a stool periodically, do so, and switch feet often.
- If you sit at a desk, pull your chair up close enough that you don’t have to reach too far forward to write or type. Don’t pull it too close, though, or you’ll find yourself hunching forward and down.
- If you tend to be swaybacked, use a stool or other prop to raise your knees slightly above your pelvis.
- Get up and move, stretch, and change positions at least every 30 minutes (20 is best) if you have to sit for a long time.
3. Stand Up Straight To Strengthen Abdominal Muscles
When you stand properly, your abdominal muscles will get a mini workout. This is why it might feel difficult or strange when you first begin.
To strengthen your abdominal and pelvic muscles and avoid or correct the potbellied appearance associated with poor posture, try some of these exercises to help you stand up straight.
- Periodically pull your lower abdominal muscles inward, trying to flatten them. Think of gently pulling your belly button toward your spine. Do this 3 or 4 times, then repeat the set throughout the day.
- Tuck your bottom in, reducing the curvature of your lower back. This involves the abdominals, since they help pull the pelvis backward (the pelvis is tilted forward in a swayback position).
- Stand tall, but avoid the “military stance” that can exaggerate a swayback. Instead, imagine a string going from the top of your head to the ceiling, gently pulling it upward. Your spine will lengthen and your abdominal muscles will engage.
An Effective Standing Abdominal Exercise: The Canoe
This exercise is adapted from the motions involved in paddling a canoe or kayak. It does not require any special equipment, but you can use weights if you want (a can of soup or small hand weight is fine). Here’s how to do it:
- Stand up straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width.
- Turn your toes outward at an angle (not straight out) and keep your knees loose.
- Instead of holding a canoe paddle, clasp your hands together (or hold the weight) and hold your arms straight out in front of you at chest level.
- Turn your upper body and bring your hands down to your right hip, like paddling. Your head should turn also.
- Return to the center position where your hands are clasped in front, then repeat on the left side.
- Do a set of 20 (10 on each side) or as many as you comfortably can.
The Canoe tones and strengthens your abdominals and core muscles, which are pivotal in maintaining good posture.
While this particular exercise is not included in the Densercise System, many core-strengthening, posture-improving exercises are. Based on the principle of epidensity (more on that in a moment), Densercise is the only exercise program specifically designed to increase bone density. The moves target key areas of the skeleton with healthy stress that stimulates bone formation.
Epidensity is a fascinating new area of research that incorporates the latest genetic research with the principles of Wolff’s Law, which (in sum) states that living tissue, specifically bone, is created and changed in response to gravity and muscle tension.
You see, exciting new research shows that you have more control over your genetic tendencies than you may have thought. While you can’t change your genetic code, research strongly suggests that changes in your body’s environment can actually change how your genes are expressed.
Simply put, you have the ability to “turn on” or “turn off” some genetic traits. Isn’t that amazing? Basically, this means that you’re never stuck with the bones you have!
The moves in Densercise actually work as “switches” stimulating the genes that influence bone growth.
Please click here for more information about Densercise and the revolutionary epigenetics approach. And remember, if you’re not satisfied with Densercise for any reason, you are free to return it within 60 days of purchase for a full refund.
Till next time,