Weekend Challenge: Dynamic Femur And Leg Strengthener
This weekend’s challenge is a fun, weight-bearing move that you can do in a small space, but it feels like you’ve just taken a walk. Because the Dynamic Femur And Legs Strengthener is a weight-bearing exercise, it exerts osteogenic loading, which builds bone through applied force.
The Dynamic Femur And Legs Strengthener targets the muscles and bones in the legs, to protect against weakness that can lead to balance disorders, a leading cause of falls in older adults.
So let’s get started building strong legs!
Savers know that weight-bearing exercise is one of the key elements in regaining bone strength and fracture resistance. The concept is based on what’s known as Wolff’s law.
Julius Wolff was a German surgeon who practiced in the mid- and late-1800s. He pioneered the recognition of orthopedics as a distinct branch of medicine, and his work with the musculoskeletal system gave rise to Wolff’s law, or what he originally called “the law of transformation of the bone.” His findings impact orthopedic surgery to this day, and for well over a century the application of Wolff’s law has proven its efficacy again and again.
The Save Our Bones Program applies this proven principle, and weight-bearing exercises are precisely the kind of stimulation that builds bone. And this stimulation is called…
While it’s a rather “medical” sounding term, the concept is simple. Osteogenic loading refers to the application of force from the top of your head down through your hips, or axial loading. It’s a scientifically confirmed and essential means of staving off osteoporosis and reversing low bone density, and the mainstream osteoporosis medical community is just beginning to acknowledge its validity.
Clearly, the bones in the legs can significantly benefit from osteogenic loading. Today’s exercise is no exception.
Bones And Muscles In The Leg
As the name indicates, the Dynamic Femur And Legs Strengthener is particularly effective at building bone in the femur. This long, strong bone in the upper leg is prone to atypical fractures if you’ve ever taken bisphosphonates, so it makes sense to do everything you can to rebuild healthy femoral bone. Today’s exercise targets the bones in the lower leg and the pelvis as well.
The main muscles worked in this weekend’s exercise are the quadriceps in the front of the thigh, the gastrocnemius in the back of the lower leg (calf muscle), and the glutes.
These muscles connect to the femur in the thigh, and the tibia and fibula in the lower leg. They also stabilize the knees and ankles. When you work the glutes, or buttocks muscles, it helps stabilize and strengthen your sacral vertebrae and your pelvis.
And of course, in addition to strengthening bone through osteogenic loading, moves like the Dynamic Femur And Legs Strengthener also promote strong muscles, which are essential for keeping your balance, overcoming the fear of falling, and doing everyday tasks with confidence. In light of recent research about the prevalence of falls among older adults, this is more important than ever.
Study: For The Elderly, Falls Are Common But Preventable
A 2006 overview of the frequency of falls, “their major causes and risk factors, the types of available fall prevention interventions”1 and the efficacy of those interventions begins by acknowledging the commonality of falls among the elderly, and the “mortality, morbidity, reduced functioning, and premature nursing home admissions”1 that often accompany these falls.
Researchers reviewed copious data regarding the major causes of falls, and “gait and balance disorders or weakness” accounted for 17% of 3,628 reported falls. This ties in with the fact that:
“Numerous studies have shown that exercise can improve important fall risk factors, such as muscle weakness, poor balance, and gait impairment in healthy and impaired older adults.”1
The connection between exercise and fall prevention has been firmly established, which is why I make a point of bringing you exercises like this one.
So here’s how to do the Dynamic Femur And Legs Strengthener.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Clasp your hands in front of your chest as you would for a squat.
- Bend both knees but put your weight on only one leg, while lifting the heel of the other leg. If you go down on your left leg, for example, you’ll lift the heel of your right leg. Both knees will bend at approximately the same angle.
- Come back up and repeat the knee-bend with the opposite leg. When you’ve gone down on each leg once, that’s one rep.
- Do as many reps as you can in one minute, or as many as you feel comfortable doing.
- Lean slightly forward at your hips and keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
- Go as fast or as slowly as you like, but try to work out a rhythm so you’re switching legs smoothly.
Another Weekend Challenge, the High Impact Axial Loader, is a good companion exercise to do along with this one.
As you incorporate more balance exercises into your daily routine, you’ll gain more confidence and energy, and your gait will improve as your muscle strength increases. These are key elements in preventing falls and the fractures they can cause.
If you have been practicing the moves in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, then you’re well aware of the many balance exercises included in the more than 52 “Densercises.” The convenient digital format of Densercise™ allows you to do a quick search for “balance” or “pelvis” or any other area of concern, so you can customize your workout to target areas of particular interest for you.
Densercise™ includes a full month’s worth of exercises, each one demonstrated on the downloadable manual and on video. At the end of the four weeks, you simply begin again with Week 1. And for even more variety, you can easily incorporate a few Weekend Challenges.
Densercise™ is clear, concise, and simple, but highly effective at reversing bone loss and building strong muscles. I hope you’ll enjoy this weekend’s challenge – it’s even more fun while you listen to your favorite music!
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Have a great weekend!
1Rubenstein, 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