This weekend’s challenge is an exercise that targets the lower body. It not only strengthens the muscles and bones in your hips and legs, but also fine-tunes your balance.
This is a highly effective move to avoid femoral fractures, which are of special concern if you’ve ever taken bisphosphonates.
And I also share with you eye-opening statistical research on exercising regularly after a certain age.
There’s little doubt that sedentary adults experience a decrease in strength and balance, making exercise a top priority as you age. Specifically, targeted exercises that directly address the muscles and movements involved in balance, like today’s challenge, are especially important.
Bone also tends to weaken with age if you’re not proactive at building and restoring bone through nutrition and exercise. Savers know that bone is strengthened by exercise as per Wolff’s Law. Moves like today’s Femur And Leg Builder hone in on the pelvis and thigh bones.
Ironically, bisphosphonates, the most popular class of osteoporosis drugs, actually increase the risk of femoral fractures. So if you’ve ever taken them, it’s important to take proactive steps toward supporting your body with bone-smart nutrition and exercise.
In order to promote healthy bone remodeling (which includes bone building) in the femur and hips, you need to work the muscles surrounding those bones. Here are some of the muscles worked in today’s exercise.
This muscle is one of the four muscles that make up the quadriceps, or quads. It lies in the front center of the thigh, and works to raise and extend the knee, and also to bend and flex the thigh. Interestingly, the rectus femoris is the only muscle that flexes the hip.
- Adductor longus
An adductor moves parts of the body toward the center of the body. The adductor longus originates at your pubic bone and inserts at the posterior surface of the femur. Its primary role is to move your thigh inward.
- Adductor magnus
This is also an adductor, obviously – it also begins at the pubic bone, but it inserts along a greater area of the femur. It works with the adductor longus to bring your leg toward your body’s center.
- Vastus medialis
- Gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus
Your “glutes” define your hip shape to a great extent. All three of these muscles originate at the pelvis (specifically, the ilium and sacrum) and insert at the femur. The glutes are multi-functional – they bring your leg outward (abduction) and rotate your hip joint inward and outward. The glutes are, in fact, pivotal in the unique human ability to walk upright. It stands to reason that strong glutes greatly enhance balance.
This muscle is an extensor, meaning it extends the knee. It’s also part of the quadriceps, and is located in the inside-middle of the thigh. The vastus medialis originates at the femur, where it attaches in a continuous line rather than at intermittent points. It inserts at the inside of the kneecap.
As you can see, many of these muscles attach directly to the femur bone, so working them, as in today’s challenge, stimulates femoral bone growth. Now let’s look at how to do the Femur And Leg Builder.
Because this exercise involves standing on one leg at a time, it’s a good idea to stand near a wall, bed, or chair, so you have something to hold on to or catch you if you lose your balance.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bring one leg up to about knee height (we will start with the right leg for clarity). Point your toes.
- Keeping your toes pointed, sweep your right leg around to the left (adduction), up, and around to the right (abduction), making a clockwise circle.
- Continue this circular motion until you’ve done 12 circles (or as many as you’re comfortable with). Keep your tummy pulled in, your abs engaged, and your toes pointed throughout.
- Switch legs and perform another set of 12 (or less).
Your standing leg also uses the muscles in the thigh and glutes to keep you stable as you do this exercise. So you’re working both legs at the same time, just in different ways.
This and other similar exercises, like another Weekend Challenge called the 3-Way Femur Builder And Balance Improver, focus on the muscles and bones you need to strengthen, especially as you age.
Additionally, standing on one leg is an excellent way to enhance your balance and prevent falls. Balance and strength are concerns for all adults, but particularly for those 65 and over. And as you’ll read next, the number of older adults who actually work out regularly is quite small, according to research.
Review: Most Adults 65 And Over Are Not Exercising Regularly
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed data from the National Health Interview Survey, and the results are really discouraging. They showed that only 12% of people aged 65-74 – and only 10% of those over 75 – met the “strength-training objective” of physical exercise more than two days per week.1
So I’d love to encourage Savers to improve those numbers! If that seems daunting to you, don’t worry – Densercise™ makes it simple. If you’re 65 or older, once you begin, you’ll already be well ahead of most of your peers, because Densercise™ is meant to be practiced three days a week, not just two days a week which was the target for physical activity according to the review.
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.
So stay active and strong, and share your thoughts with the community on this important topic.
Have a great weekend!
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Strength training among adults aged >/=65 years – United States, 2001.” MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 53. 2. (2004): 25-8. Web. July 21, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14737059