This weekend’s exercise is designed to increase bone density in the hip bones by working the iliopsoas muscles.
Located deep in your core, these muscles are part of your hip flexors, and they are involved in balance, posture, and stabilization of the pelvis and lower back.
The Hip Flexor Strengthener stimulates bone growth in the hips, especially the femoral neck, and lower back, plus improves balance and stability.
So let’s get started!
The iliopsoas muscles are often simply called the psoas, and they are made up of the psoas major and iliacus. Together they make up the muscles of the inner hip, connecting the front of the femoral neck with the lumbar vertebrae.
- The iliacus runs from the femoral neck to the top front of the ilium (the wing-shaped bone at the top of the pelvis).
- The psoas major consists of a deep layer and a superficial layer. The deeper layer attaches to the lower lumbar vertebrae, whereas the top layer attaches to the lower thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.
The iliopsoas is prone to contracture as we age, and regular stretching is required to keep this from happening. A shortened iliopsoas can pull the pelvis and vertebrae out of alignment, and contribute to lower back pain. In addition, a tight iliopsoas greatly limits hip extension.
As you might suspect, a shortened iliopsoas negatively affects posture due to the misalignment it causes. Improper posture can contribute to Dowager’s Hump (kyphosis) and spinal curvature that can worsen osteoporosis (and vice versa).
Regular stretching keeps the iliopsoas at a normal length. Generally speaking, though, stretching this muscle group does not happen during normal, everyday movements. It needs to be deliberately stretched through exercises like today’s challenge and another Weekend Challenge that complements it, The Lunge Stretch.
In addition to stretching the iliopsoas, the Hip Flexor Strengthener exercise works this muscle to stimulate bone growth in the lumbar vertebrae, pelvis, and femoral neck. Strong bones in these areas are absolutely crucial for preventing hip fractures. And strong iliopsoas muscles enhance balance, which prevents falls that could result in a fracture.
So here’s how to do the Hip Flexor Strengthener.
For today’s exercise, you’ll need a stool, chair, or other object that is approximately knee height. It’s a good idea to do this move near a wall so you can steady yourself.
- Place one foot on the chair. Your knee will be bent at about a 90-degree angle, and your thigh will be level.
- Keeping your back straight (do not lean forward or backward), lift your foot about six inches off the chair.
- Lower your foot back down. Repeat eight to ten times, or whatever is comfortable for you.
You may find, as I did, that this move feels different from a regular marching step or leg lift. That’s because the position of the leg engages the iliopsoas muscles, which tend to be neglected in everyday movements.
These “everyday movements” tend to become less vigorous as we age, making regular, deliberate exercise particularly essential for older adults. Relatively recent data has some sobering statistics on this topic that show a distinct decline in activity levels as age advances.
Activity Levels Across Age, Income, And Gender
Overall, women in all age and income groups have lower activity levels than men, and not surprisingly, both genders showed a decline in physical activity after the age of 45, which should inspire us all to change those numbers! 1
Given its huge bone health and overall health benefits, exercise is not just for young people. And especially as muscles atrophy and contract with age, it’s vital to work these muscle groups to keep them strong and supple.
In addition, older adults are more prone to falls and fracture than young people, making balance exercises more important than ever. Exercises like the Hip Flexor Strengthener, as well as the 52 exercises in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, can help target these muscles and enhance balance, offsetting the inactivity associated with advancing age.
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.
People of any age can benefit from Densercise™, of course; but it’s especially geared toward those who would like to begin an exercise regimen specifically designed to build bone density.
You can start “densercising” anywhere, any time. Because it’s a digital download, there’s no waiting time or shipping fees. And if you have questions about the moves, you can take a look at the Densercise™ demonstration videos for clarification.
Have a great weekend!