Weekend Challenge: Hip And Pelvic Toner
This weekend’s exercise is both effective and convenient. That’s because the low-impact Hip And Pelvic Toner directly targets the pelvic girdle, the femoral neck, and the femur by engaging the muscles of the hips and thighs. And you can practice it in a relatively small space.
These crucial areas need to be strengthened against fracture, especially if you’ve taken bone-damaging bisphosphonates.
And I’m thrilled to share with you a just-published study where researchers have discovered that your brain benefits greatly if you keep up with a regular exercise regimen, but it suffers if you stop for more than 10 days.
So let’s get started!
The pelvic girdle is a bowl-shaped complex that houses and supports the intestines, bladder, and internal reproductive organs. The bones of the pelvic girdle serve as a connection point between the torso and the legs, and include the following:
Right above the coccyx, the sacrum is a somewhat wedge-shaped set of five fused vertebrae at the base of the spine. The sacrum articulates with the middle back portion of the pelvis to create the back segment of the pelvic girdle.
The area by which the sacrum joins the pelvis is called the sacroiliac joint. It’s surrounded by a tough network of cartilage and ligaments that stabilize and support the joint so that its range of motion is quite limited.
The top of the pelvis is composed of three bones, two of which are known collectively as the ilium. The ilium, or iliac bone, is the wide, wing-like structure on either side of the pelvis. The top of the ilium is called the iliac crest. At the bottom, the ilium joins the acetabulum, which we’re going to look at next.
This is the cup-shaped cavity on either side of the pelvis into which the femoral head fits.
When you sit down, you sit on two U-shaped bones called the ischium (specifically, the ischial tuberosity). These are the bones at the bottom and back of your pelvis.
In the front of the pelvis is the pubis or pubic bone. Its two halves are joined by a piece of cartilage called the pubic symphysis. This acts like a hinge to add mobility to the bony structure of the hips. The pubis forms a curve that is often referred to as the pubic arch.
Femoral Neck and Head
The femur joins the pelvis via the femoral neck and head. The femoral neck is like a bridge between the top of the femur and the femoral head; the neck is prone to damage from bisphosphonates, which make it prone to atypical fractures.
The key muscles worked in the Hip And Pelvic Toner Are:
- Hip Adductors including the adductor brevis, longus, magnus, and gracilis. These move the leg in toward the middle of the body.
- Hip Extenders including the gluteus maximus, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and external rotators. These muscles work together to bring the leg backward.
- Hip Flexors such as the iliopsoas, pectineus, rectus femoris, and sartorius. These are the muscles used to bring the leg up toward the front.
- Abductors such as the gluteus maximus and minimus, external rotators, and tensor fasciae latae. These bring the leg out to the side away from the body.
If you don’t have a carpeted area, I suggest you use an exercise mat.
- Get down on your hands and knees. Place your knees directly below your pelvis and your hands right below your shoulders.
- Bring one leg out to the side, keeping the knee bent. Your thigh should be level like a tabletop.
- Rotate your knee slightly outward, bringing your foot inward toward your body.
- Bring your leg back to the starting position, knee on the floor.
- Repeat the leg lift 10 times (if your fitness and comfort level allow), and then switch sides to do 10 more.
- Come back to the first leg and do another set of 10; repeat another set of 10 on the other side.
Science has conclusively shown that an exercising routine is crucial to rejuvenate, strengthen, and build your bones. And now, a just-published study reveals that it is also crucial to the healthful function of your brain.
Study: 10-Day Exercise Break Decreases Blood Flow To The Brain
The research involved 459 healthy adults aged 65 to 89, whose cognitive function was evaluated before and after they took a 10-day break from their regular exercise regimen. It was found that the hippocampus in particular suffered decreased blood flow after prolonged absence of exercise.1
The hippocampus is a curved area in the center of the brain. Interestingly, its shape resemblance to a seahorse gives rise to its name., seahorses belong to the genus Hippocampus, derived from the Ancient Greek word hippos which means “horse” and kampos meaning “sea monster”. The hippocampus plays a significant role in memory and learning, and it’s among the first regions of the brain to atrophy in those with Alzheimer’s.
In fact, researchers measured participants for their risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) by testing for the presence of a genotype known as APOE- ε4. Studies have shown that the APOE-ε4 allele increases the risk of AD. They observed that:
“These data suggest that individuals at genetic risk for AD should be targeted for increased levels of PA (physical activity) as a means of reducing atrophy in a brain region critical for the formation of episodic memories.”1
Lead researcher, Dr. Jerome Carson Smith further explains, as follows:
“We know that the hippocampus plays an important role in learning and memory and is one of the first brain regions to shrink in people with Alzheimer’s disease. So, it is significant that people who stopped exercising for only 10 days showed a decrease in brain blood flow in brain regions that are important for maintaining brain health.”2
So while stopping to exercise, even for as little as 10 days, can cause a shortage of blood to the brain, starting to exercise once again restores blood flow and prevents cognitive decline.
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Have a great weekend!
1 Smith, Carson J., et al. “Physical activity reduces hippocampal atrophy in elders at genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease.” Frontiers of Ageing Neuroscience. (2014). Web. November 10, 2016. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2014.00061/full