Weekend Challenge: Balancing Leg Lift
In addition to strengthening your bones and muscles, this weekend’s challenge will help you to overcome the fear of falling.
The Balancing Leg Lift targets an often-overlooked area of the lower back and buttocks, improving balance and strengthening the legs and glutes. This, in turn, gives you confidence in your ability to balance and pays big dividends in protection against falling.
I’d like to start with a brief discussion on fear, falling, and balance, and how the data support regular exercise as the indisputable key to overcoming these issues.
Fear is one of your biggest enemies along your bone health journey. Yet ironically, it’s often the first emotion you experience when you receive an osteoporosis or osteopenia diagnosis. Your doctor likely didn’t help you to reduce the fear; he or she may have painted a bleak picture of your future in a wheelchair…and most likely touted prescription drugs as the only way to escape this future.
And then the fear changes in nature. Perhaps your initial fear faded as you researched, discovered that osteoporosis is not a disease, and chose to follow a drug-free, clinical nutrition-based lifestyle as described in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. But the fear creeps back as your friends, family members, doctor, and so many others begin to question your choices, and you lose confidence and wonder if you’re doing the right thing.
There’s no doubt that making the choice to follow the Program is unconventional, and it can be difficult to stick confidently to such a choice. But take heart – this fear, too, can be overcome. For five helpful strategies on how to regain your confidence and triumph over those creeping doubts and misgivings, please read this article:
There are various articles on the Save Our Bones blog that address the topic of fear, because it’s very important to get this under control while moving forward with reversing bone loss.
What you’ll discover as you embark on your journey to strong, healthy bones is that the number one antidote to fear is knowledge. That’s one of the reasons why I continue to research and bring you the truth about all aspects of osteoporosis, including the emotional impact.
There may be one lingering fear you’re experiencing, and today we’re going to address it head-on. I’m referring to …
The Fear Of Falling
Due to a number of intrinsic factors, seniors are more predisposed to falls and the painful fractures that can follow. Because a fracture has the potential to be devastating, it’s understandable that you’d want to avoid falling. But rather than letting this realization result in fear, you can gather knowledge, take your bone health into your own two hands, and do something about it…
…and as many studies show, that “something” is exercise.
The data all point to exercise (especially when combined with bone-smart nutrition) as the best way to mitigate and even eliminate these risk factors, such as:
- Compromised balance
- Decreased muscle mass
- Gait impairment
- Vision impairment
According to a comprehensive meta-analysis performed on the topic of exercise as a means of fall prevention in the elderly:
“The next most effective single intervention that was identified in this meta-analysis was exercise that was intended to improve balance, strength, flexibility, or endurance. Overall, exercise interventions reduced the risk for falls by 12% and the mean number of falls by 19%. Exercise was effective in reducing falls when used alone and when included as part of a multifactorial intervention.”1
So starting right now, you can begin taking action on the fear of falling with this weekend’s challenge.
It’s a good idea to perform this exercise near a wall or chair so you can catch yourself if you lose your balance. If you’re not sure how good your balance is, take this 30-second test to find out.
- Stand comfortably with your knees “soft” and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Take a relatively big step back with one foot. Place your foot behind you, keeping your heel off the ground.
- Hold your hands out in front of you, palms up, as if holding a large ball.
- Now lift your back foot six to 10 inches off the ground, using your glute (buttocks muscle) to lift it. If you can only lift a few inches, that’s fine.
- Lower your foot back down and repeat the lift eight to 10 times for one set.
- Switch legs and complete a set with the other leg.
- Aim for two to four sets on each side.
- Keep your torso vertical throughout the exercise; resist the temptation to lean forward to lift your leg. This helps isolate the glute muscle.
- Hold your arms still throughout the exercise.
- Lift your foot slowly – don’t kick your foot up to gain height. If you can only lift it a few inches slowly, that’s fine.
- Keep your knee “soft” on the stationary foot; don’t lock your knee.
- Touch your toes to the floor as you lift your leg; the heel of the working leg should not come down to the floor.
Try following this weekend’s exercise with one or more of these other balance-improving Weekend Challenges:
Densercise™ Helps You Get Over Your Fears
The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System is the perfect weapon in your fight against osteoporosis and the fear that can accompany it. The complete Densercise™ system has more than 50 moves, all of which are designed to increase bone density, strengthen muscles, and improve your balance to effectively prevent fractures.
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It’s time to trade in your fear for confidence!
Enjoy the weekend!
1 Rubenstein, Laurence Z., MD, MPH and Josephson, Karen R., MPH. “Falls and Their Prevention in Elderly People: What Does the Evidence Show?” Med Clin N Am. 90. (2006): 807-824. PDF. http://www.stayonyourfeet.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Falls-and-Their-Prevention-in-Elderly.pdf