When it comes to exercise, sometimes simplicity works best. The Balance And Shoulder Enhancer is just that – simple, but appropriately challenging. It enhances balance, a key element in fall prevention, while working the arms and shoulders to improve bone and muscle strength. It’s the perfect exercise to get ready for summer and sleeveless tops!
The benefits of exercise go beyond appearances, though. Today we’re going to look at a fascinating study that shows the remarkable effects of exercise on cognition, mood, and anxiety, and sheds light on how this occurs on a genetic level.
Let’s begin with a closer look at this move.
In addition to improving balance, this exercise works four joints and three main muscle groups. It’s worth pointing out that no one body part or muscle works in isolation; your whole body responds in various ways when you exercise, but today we’re going to look at the main areas involved in the Balance And Shoulder Enhancer.
- The sternoclavicular joint is where your clavicle (collar bone) meets your breast bone (sternum), right at the top of the rib cage. This joint’s motion is rather subtle, but it’s a highly pivotal joint that allows you to lift weight over your head, as in today’s exercise. It also makes up an indispensable part of the overall shoulder joint.
- The acromioclavicular joint can easily be found by placing your fingertips on your shoulder and gently pressing around until you feel a knob or bump of bone. This bump is not static. Rather, it marks the junction of the clavicle and scapula (shoulder blade), which attaches at the acromion, a wing-shaped bone at the top of the scapula. The acromioclavicular joint helps transfer the lifting force up through the arm while lifting a weight.
- The elbow joint is used so often in everyday movements that it’s easy to forget about it. Your elbows act as a hinge between the radius and ulna of your lower arm and the humerus bone in your upper arm. They support the extension and straightening of your arms over your head, and allow you to bring your arms back down in a controlled way.
- The glenohumeral joint is the ball-and-socket joint that is part of the shoulder. This joint moves the tops of your shoulders inward when you raise your arms over your head. Specifically, the glenohumeral joint moves the deltoid muscles toward the middle of your body, which brings me to the next topic: the muscles and bones.
Muscles And Bones
- The deltoids are the primary muscles that are targeted in the Balance And Shoulder Enhancer. These muscles make up the rounded tops of your shoulders, and are actually made up of three segments: the anterior, lateral, and posterior. In today’s exercise, the anterior and lateral segments are engaged.
When you work the deltoids, it stimulates bone growth in the scapulae, clavicle, and humerus as per Wolff’s Law. The humerus is also stimulated by the triceps, which are the muscles that run along the back of the upper arm. Each time you straighten your arm, you’re using your triceps.
You’ll also be using your trapezius, a roughly kite-shaped muscle that spreads across the top back of your shoulders and tapers down to attach at the bottom of your thoracic vertebrae. This muscle can cause neck and shoulder pain if it is tight, stiff, or weak. Working the trapezius targets the thoracic vertebrae and the shoulder joints.
You’ll need one small hand weight or a water bottle for this exercise.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the weight in one hand – let’s say the right hand.
- Bend your left knee and lift your left leg.
- Standing on your right leg, bring up the weight with your palm facing out. Bend your elbow, bringing the weight to just above your right shoulder.
- Press the weight up over your head and bring your arm back down again to the starting position described in step #3.
- Repeat 10 to 20 times according to your comfort level.
- Switch sides and repeat another 10 to 20 times with the opposite arm and leg.
- Resist the temptation to lean to one side as you do this. Keep your back straight.
- Tuck your chin in slightly to avoid forward head posture and neck strain.
- It’s a good idea to start out next to a wall, bed, or chair so you can catch yourself if you lose your balance standing on one foot.
If this exercise is new for you, it probably makes you feel good to learn a new move to help build bone and enhance balance. You don’t have to learn a new exercise, though, for it to make you feel good. Research shows that the act of exercise itself puts you in a better mood by affecting your genes…as long as you do it regularly.
Study Reveals Mechanisms Behind The Positive Cognitive Effects And Stress Reduction Of Exercise
It’s fairly well-known that exercise boosts mood, aids memory, and can even help lift depression. In a recent study, scientists discovered another mechanism behind this phenomenon – this time on a genetic level.
Participants were genotyped at the start of the study, and then divided into four groups. The purpose of the genotyping was to determine the allelic status of a specific neurotrophic factor. The allelic status refers to a genetic variation caused by mutations at the same locus (the location of a gene in a chromosome), thus producing similar traits.
The groups of sedentary young adults were divided as follows: Group 1 engaged in a four-week exercise program with exercise on “test day”; Group 2 did the four-week program, but without the final exercise test; Group 3 did one bout of exercise on the test day, and Group 4 stayed sedentary between test days. All groups were then given various cognitive tests.
Those individuals who had the specific brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) exhibited unique improvements in “novel object recognition,” and there appeared to be separate neural systems mediating cognition and mood. Interestingly, the scientists found that the data in this study reflected data collected from rodent studies of the same type.
The researchers noted that:
“Exercise enhanced object recognition memory and produced a beneficial decrease in perceived stress, but only in participants who exercised for 4 weeks including the final day of testing.”1
Additionally, they pointed out in their conclusion that:
“Taken together, these current findings provide new insights into the behavioral and neural mechanisms that mediate the effects of physical exercise on memory and mental health in humans.”1
It’s worth noting that the exercise schedule that produced the most benefits lasted four weeks, which is exactly like the cycle of the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System. At the end of the four weeks, you simply begin again with Week One.
There’s plenty of variety in Densercise™, and with a full month of exercises, you’ll stay motivated because you won’t have to deal with tedious repetitions.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
In fact, with over 52 moves designed to be practiced three times a week, Densercise™ provides a different set of exercises each day, so it prevents boredom in addition to enhancing bone density.
Have a great weekend!
1 References 1. Hopkins, M.E., et al. “Differential effects of acute and regular physical exercise on cognition and affect.” Neuroscience. 215. (2012): 59-68. Doi: /j.neuroscience.2012.04.056. Web. June 1, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22554780