Weekend Challenge: Functional Lower And Upper Body Strengthener - Save Our Bones

This weekend’s challenge is a low-impact move that requires very little space. It works the arms, abs, legs, hips, and shoulders, and the only equipment you’ll need is a couple of water bottles or light weights.

The Functional Lower And Upper Body Strengthener is a functionality exercise (as its name indicates), which means it is designed to improve the movements that are a part of day-to-day life. This is especially relevant for older adults who wish to maintain independence.

This balance-improving exercise fits right in with your weight-bearing, bone-strengthening exercise routine because it also stimulates bone growth per Wolff’s Law.

And finally, I can’t wait to share an inspiring story with you at the end of this challenge. It proves you’re never too old to get – and stay – in shape.

So let’s get right to it!


As we age, everyday movements can become more of an effort if we don’t take steps to stay in shape and prevent regression of movement and muscle tone. That’s where functionality exercises come in.

What Is “Functionality”?

In short, functionality refers to the performance of everyday activities: reaching up into a kitchen cabinet, climbing up and down stairs, reaching down to pick up something off the floor, house cleaning, and so forth. Most of us take such movements for granted when they’re easy; but when it becomes difficult to perform such tasks, it’s evident that functionality is compromised.

A more subtle but vital aspect of maintaining functionality is preserving cognitive aptitude and preventing its decline. If you’re struggling with confusion or memory loss, it becomes harder and harder to go about your daily affairs. But once again, exercise is the answer: research clearly shows that regular exercise improves cognitive function and memory. For more on this topic and to review the latest research, be sure to see:

Another key feature of functionality is dependable balance. Savers are undoubtedly familiar with the role balance plays in bone health, but you might not have considered the connection between balance, cognition, and functionality. The fact is, compromised balance means compromised activity levels, and improving one of these greatly enhances the other.

As you take a look at this weekend’s exercise, you’ll see how the motions mimic those of common tasks. In particular, this exercise includes raising the knees, which keeps the hip flexors in shape. These muscles are crucial for preserving your ability to step up and over objects and traverse stairs. Weak hip flexors can result in a “shuffling” gait that increases the risk of tripping and falling.


Grab a couple of water bottles or hand weights between 1 and 3 pounds each. Cans of food work well, too. I know of one Saver who used bags of dried beans!

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold one weight in each hand.
  2. Bend your elbows to bring the weights up to your shoulders, palms facing each other. Then raise your arms straight up over your head, palms facing out, while you simultaneously raise one knee.
  3. Bring the weights back down to your shoulders and lower your leg. Now bring your arms straight up over your head again, this time lifting the other knee.
  4. Continue alternating legs and lifting your arms up over your head for 30 seconds, or for as long as you are comfortable. Feel free to repeat as many 30-second sets as you like, whether all at once or interspersed with your regular workout.

Remember, there’s no need to “bounce” – this is a low-impact exercise, so you’re simply lifting your knee and placing your foot back on the ground.

The Functional Lower And Upper Body Strengthener goes particularly well with these previous challenges that also target functionality:

World War II Veteran Still Running At Age One Hundred

Having trouble getting motivated? Here’s an amazing story that will inspire you!

When Orville Rogers decided to take up running at the age of 50, many people undoubtedly thought he was “too old” to embark on such an exercise regimen. But he stuck with his running for decades, competing in his first track competitions at the age of ninety!

That was 10 years ago. Now, at the age of 100, he is still running – training every other day and setting world track records.

Watch the inspiring news report about this remarkable WWII bomber pilot turned athlete:

Have a great weekend!

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Trini Haim

    I am 54 years old and was diagnosed with OSTEOPOROSIS in 2015. The results of the scan indicated that I had the bones of a 75 year old. I was on Fosamax for years, before switching to Boniva since it could be taken once monthly. After a year of taking Boniva, my latest bone density test showed that both my hips had gotten worse. My primary care provider suggested i try a more natural approach and referred me to RICH HERBS FOUNDATION, i immediately started on their OSTEOPOROSIS HERBAL FORMULA. The treatment effectively reversed my condition. I did another bone density test and it came out perfect. Visit rich herbs foundation web page w w w. r i c h h e r b s f o u n d a t i o n. c o m. The severe knee pain and sharp pains through my back stopped.

    • Ann

      Bullshit. And shame on you for preying in the hopes of sick people. If what you said was true..you would not need to advertise. Ten percent of the population would be clamoring at your door by word of mouth.

  2. Carmen

    Thank you Vivian; that’s a very easy exercise and very helpful to strengthen your back, arms and legs muscles.
    I will definitely will included in my program. By the way, I registered for your Free Natural Bone Building Kit a couple of times but did not received it.

    Best regards.

  3. Ann

    Hi from Australia,
    I am 70 years old, I am a carer and have worked in the same aged care facility for 35 years and still work there 7 shifts a fortnight.
    I knew exactly what the word functionality meant so no one is doing me a disservice by adding confusing words.
    The official journal of American Congress of rehabilitation medicine uses the term ‘strength and functionality in women’

    We have two sayings in Oz …. one is splitting hairs. The other is nit picking.

    Save our Bones is a wonderful organisation and is certainly saving my Bones. Many Thanks. Ann

  4. Cindy

    I happen to think that functionality is a perfect term for what you are trying to convey. And this is a perfect and simple exercise we can do often. Thanks for putting the “fun” into functionality!

    the quality of being suited to serve a purpose well; practicality.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I love it, Cindy! 😀 Putting the “fun” in functionality. Perfect!

  5. Marlene

    Good morning Vivian,
    I enjoyed this exercise, and I will include it into my
    daily routine as it is easy to remember.
    Thank you very much Vivian, for sharing it. I truly
    appreciates your main goal why SAVEOURBONES
    PROGRAM existed.
    As I mentioned before, this program has been a
    blessing to me personally, since I came across
    your website three in a half years ago.
    I continue to focus on reversing my bone loss, and
    learning to balance everything.
    Vivian, as you quoted before,
    ” Age is just a number ”
    ” You are only as old as you feel ”
    ” In the end, it”s NOT the years in your life that
    count, it’s THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS “.
    Vivian, a very encouraging quote and a reminder
    for me, that it is not to late to reverse bone loss.

    Have a wonderful day.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank you for taking the time to share your heartfelt thoughts, Marlene. I want to encourage you to keep up the good work, and keep sharing the helpful quotes and encouragement with other Savers!

  6. Muriel

    Tried this exercise this morning and my spine felt better. Hopefully it will improve each time. It might improve my biceps too. A nice easy exercise.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s great, Muriel! I love the fact that this one can be done in such a small space, too. 🙂

  7. Belle

    The correct medical term for performance of daily activities is “function,” not functionality. Please don’t confuse readers by using inaccurate terms.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Belle,

      “Functionality” and “function” are both nouns, but there is an important difference. Functionality refers to the state of being functional, whereas “function” refers to a particular activity or purpose. So for this article, the term “functionality” makes much more sense. 🙂

      • Belle

        As a licensed, registered occupational therapist with 30 years in the field, the “performance of everyday activities” is medically described in terms of “function” and is described as “functional ability.”

        This site’s statement that “functionality refers to the performance of everyday activities” is simply inaccurate. You are doing the general public a disservice by trying to add confusing lingo.

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