This weekend’s challenge improves muscle strength and endurance in the legs and arms, enhancing balance, preventing falls, and stimulating bone growth in these areas. And the only equipment you need is two water bottles!

Exercises like this one have been proven to prevent falls in seniors, and according to a comprehensive meta-analysis published in the prestigious BMJ, balance exercises prevent both falls and the injuries associated with them.

So let’s get started improving your balance – and so much more!

Why:

Some bones are more susceptible to fracture than others in the event of a fall. And if you’ve taken osteoporosis drugs, the femoral neck is particularly vulnerable, since these drugs increase femur fracture risk. The wrists and ankles are also vulnerable points.

The Complete Leg And Arm Strengthener includes all of these areas and enhances balance, so you’re less likely to fall in the first place. Like all targeted exercise, today’s challenge strengthens bones by working specific muscles.

The muscle groups you’ll be working today include the following.

Hamstrings

These muscles run along the back of your thigh. Strictly speaking, the “hamstrings” are the tendons and connective tissue that run behind the knee joint; but the term has evolved to include the muscles of the back of the leg. The hamstrings are used any time you bend your legs, especially in squat and stair-step motions.

Calf Muscles

Running from heel to knee, your calves make up the back of your lower leg. They are very important balance muscles, helping to correct your leg position to stop a fall. If you stand on tiptoe, you can really feel your calves working, and you can see how strong calf muscles are associated with stable ankle joints.

Tibialis anterior

This is the muscle of your shin, which is the front of your lower leg. It runs from the outside of the knee joint, across and down the front of the shin, to the inside front of the ankle. As you probably guessed, knee and ankle alignment depend in large part on this muscle.

Quadriceps

These are the muscles at the front of the thigh. The quads can be thought of as one muscle made of four parts or four connected muscles. They make up the primary muscle mass of the thigh and work to stabilize the knee joint. You use your quads when you step up and down or do squats. Strong, flexible quads are essential for proper balance and overall stability while standing and walking.

Biceps

These run along the front of your humerus, from wrist to shoulder. Their strength and flexibility are important for strong, stable wrist and elbow joints. And they also help you right yourself if you find that you are off balance.

Gluteus maximus

This is your main “bottom muscle,” and it can grow weak and even atrophy if you sit down for long periods every day, setting the stage for poor balance and misaligned pelvic bones. Because of their central location in the body, the glutes are vital for balance – in fact, they are the key muscles that allow humans to walk upright.

Savers know that the action of muscle and gravity on bone stimulates bone growth (as per Wolff’s Law). As noted above, the Complete Leg And Arm Strengthener targets key areas of the skeleton that are susceptible to fracture, especially if your bone density is low. Here are the bones and joints that are targeted, strengthened, and stabilized in this weekend’s exercise.

Humerus

This is the upper arm bone. The base of the humerus makes up part of the elbow joint, while the top connects with the shoulder girdle.

Radius

The radius is one of two bones in the lower arm. It runs along the inside of your arm from your elbow to the thumb side of your wrist. Because it joins with the humerus to make up the elbow joint, and with the ulna (below) to make the wrist joint, it is one of the bones targeted in today’s challenge.

Ulna

This is the other lower arm bone. It joins with the radius at the elbow, and when you rotate your hand, the radius rolls over the ulna. Together with the radius, the ulna marks the beginning of the complex wrist joint.

Femur

Your thigh bone, or femur, is brought into alignment by your glutes and quads. Working these muscles adds strength and integrity to this vital bone.

Tibia

Also known as the shinbone, the tibia is one of the most frequently fractured long bones in the body. It runs from knee to ankle, and it is most commonly fractured near the ankle.

Fibula

The fibula is behind the tibia, and is much smaller. In fact, its head is so slender that it does not contribute to the knee joint. It does, however, form part of the ankle joint, passing the tibia to connect at the outside of the ankle. The prominent “bump” on the outside of your ankle is the base of your fibula.

How:

You’ll need two small bottles of water (the standard size in the U.S. is 16.9 ounces), but you can use any small bottle for this exercise. Of course, hand weights or dumbbells of any weight that’s comfortable for you will work, too.

I recommend you stand near a wall or chair so you can catch yourself as you get used to this exercise.

  1. Take a water bottle or weight in each hand.
  2. Stand with one leg behind the other, a few feet apart, with the heel of the back leg off the ground.
  3. Bend your back leg and go down into a lunge position. The knee of your front leg should not extend past your toes on that side.
  4. As you go down, bend your elbows and lift the two water bottles up in front of you (a bicep curl).
  5. Bring your arms back down to the starting position as you rise back up.
  6. Repeat the lunge and curls eight to ten times, or as many times as you are comfortable with.
  7. Switch sides for another set of eight to ten.

To round out your exercise session, the Whole Body Strengthener makes a good companion to this weekend’s challenge.

BMJ Review Shows That Exercises Like These Reduce Falls And Injuries

Balance is not something you really think much about until you feel it’s worsening. The process is automatic, but as we age, balance can be thrown off due to poor posture, lack of muscle tone, and other factors. Coupled with low bone density, falls can be catastrophic for older adults.

But there’s good news: balance exercises offer a huge number of benefits, among them decreased injury rates when falls occur.

According to a fascinating new analysis published in the BMJ, targeted exercise programs reduce falls by 37%, falls leading to injury by 43%, and fractures by 61%.1

In fact, the BMJ report notes many other benefits of balance exercises and exercise in general, such as:

  • Greater muscle mass, which help protect bone and joints from impact.
  • Stronger bones with greater fracture resistance.
  • Better coordination
  • Quicker reaction time, which helps you correct your position in the event that you get off balance
  • Improved cognitive function

There Are So Many More Benefits Of Regular Exercise

The above list is very brief in comparison to all the benefits that exercise offers, from improved cardiovascular and emotional health to increased energy and even a more youthful appearance.

It’s easy to forget about how important exercise is when the days get shorter and colder (as they are doing now in the Northern Hemisphere). But all the benefits of exercise still hold true, whether you are outside in the sunshine or indoors in your living room.

If you have Densercise™, then you know that the moves can be done indoors or out. The moves are organized by weeks and days, beginning with Day 1, Week 1 and going through Week 4. Densercise™ is remarkably effective, even though it only takes 15 minutes, three days a week.

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Densercise’s digital, downloadable format means you can get started right away, literally within minutes of getting it.

Now is the perfect time to start reaping all of the incredible benefits of targeted exercise!

Enjoy the weekend!

References:

1 El-Khoury, Fabienne, et al. “The effect of fall prevention exercise programmes on fall induced injuries in community dwelling older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” BMJ. 2013. 347: f6234. Web. http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6234

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Isobel Mc Donald

    At 82 I had a stupid accident -self inflicted I have to admit, and after 3 months in Hospital Rehabilitation
    was allowed home, so I dragged out my saved for many years save our bones exercise sheets and started on them I am now back to a 1/2 kl walk each morning exercise session after lunch and weights before dinner,
    so will be able to dance at my 57 wedding anniversary.

  2. Ita

    Thank you, Ita.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome!

  3. Abigail

    Hello one and all of our friends here. I am not here very often, but I do thank each of you for your testimonies and encouragement to Vivian our friend, and to each other, as you share. I know besides me who do read your sharing, others are encouraged and blessed by it also. Let us not forget to share the link with our loved ones and friends also, so they can get the help they need. God bless you all.

  4. Abigail

    Hi V, first of all, thank you for your faithfulness, dedication, and sharing so much of yourself in kindness and all the help you give, in the right foods, and exercises that work wonders for our health. I appreciate all that you do. I wish you God’s added blessings for you and your family during this special time of year, and may He bless you with many other blessings of His desire. Have a blessed Christmas.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Abigail, and please know that I am grateful for each and every Saver as well!

  5. Joan

    Many thanks for the info.!
    Having had a total hip replacement, i always need to know the safety/impact any exercise would have on this.
    (ie. Not breaking the 90′ body alignment/position; no squats, etc.) therefore, i am unsure of doing some of the exercises. Any advice is appreciated.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are right, Joan – it is important to check with your physical therapist or doctor before engaging in any exercise. The surgeon who replaced your hip would be a good place to start, since he or she is familiar with your particular health history and the special exercise needs of those who have had a hip replacement.

  6. shula

    This is a nice, easy to understand, and not too hard to do exercise. Thanks!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Glad you like it, Shula!

  7. Nuria

    I would like to know more about phytates in nuts, seeds, and other foods. it concerns me because I have osteoporosis and phytates block minerals absorption. I eat a lot of almonds, drink a lot of almond milk, and bake with almond and coconut flours. I also eat lots of seeds and other nuts every day.

  8. Joyce Leedy

    Does nattokinese help osteoporosis

  9. Suzy

    Of all the “gifts” I could get throughout the year (and especial at Christmas), you, Vivian, are one of the TOP GIFTS!! Thank you for all you do for everyone who has osteo-issues! 🙂

    – Suzy

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Suzy, but believe me – Savers are a “gift” to me!

  10. Lumira

    Many Thanks Vivian and Save Our Bones Community!
    This exercise is wonderful and so easy and quick to do. It´s just for me. I take this my daily rule. Very fine challenge!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      This sounds like a great fit for you, Lumira!

  11. Nancy Pulecio

    Dear Vivian:
    Your information and guidance is wonderful!
    Thanks so much!!!
    Nancy

  12. Anne

    A great exercise, can do it any time of day, no equipment required. Thanks again for the good advice about exercise and diet.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Anne!

  13. Manojsingla

    Really its very good and works

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am glad this exercise works for you!

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