This Weekend Challenge takes an old concept – running in place – and merges it with plyometrics, a modern approach to exercise that includes short, intense bursts of movement alternating with slower motions.
While switching between squats and rapid in-place running, the Plyometric Lower Body Toner works your thighs and glutes, strengthening the bones and joints in your legs with an emphasis on your femoral head. This is important, especially if you’ve ever taken osteoporosis drugs, which have been scientifically shown to weaken the femoral head.
There are other reasons why this exercise is an essential addition to your bone-building workouts, and we’ll take a look at some of them, next.
Savers know that the femoral head is particularly vulnerable to fracture after exposure to bisphosphonates such as Fosamax (alendronate) and Boniva (ibandronate). High-impact, weight-bearing exercise, including running, jogging, and walking apply stimulating stress to your hip joints, encouraging new bone development.
This begs several questions. Which is better, running or walking? Is running in place the same as using a treadmill? And what about elliptical machines?
The answers are not cut and dry. There are some advantages to each type of exercise, and they share some benefits. For example, both walking and running are weight-bearing; both reduce the risk of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease; and both improve mood and lift depression. But running burns more calories and boosts weight loss more efficiently than walking. And walking is lower impact, which can be an advantage for those with compromised joint integrity. You can read more about the comparison between walking and running in this article:
If done outdoors, both running and walking provide healthful sun exposure and the potential for social time, both of which are excellent for your bone health. If you’re running in place, that can also be done indoors or out, but treadmills are invariably indoors.
However, treadmills have some advantages. For one thing, they are softer and absorb more shock than hard running surfaces, such as tracks or asphalt, and there are no obstacles that could present a falling hazard. Indoor treadmills also provide a safe place to exercise in extreme weather. There is no terrain variation with treadmills, though, which means less variety in challenging your joints and muscles. And of course, treadmills don’t provide exposure to nature, which has been shown to be very healthful.
A word on elliptical machines – also indoors, these machines have some advantages and disadvantages over treadmills. For instance, elliptical machines may seem easier, so you’re more likely to work out for longer, and they are low-impact, making them a popular choice for those with painful joint conditions.
However, the low-impact characteristic is a significant disadvantage for Savers who are looking to build bone through weight-bearing, high-impact movements, which are highly effective at increasing bone strength and density.
To explore this topic further, please click on the link below:
Now back to running in place, which is part of the Plyometric Lower Body Toner. There are benefits and advantages to this form of exercise as well. Running in place hones your balance and directly targets your ankles and calves to promote strength and flexibility. This reduces the risk of injury, falls, and fracture.
Additionally, running in place fully engages all the muscles of your legs and feet, which ultimately boosts endurance and encourages bone growth throughout the lower body, including your hip joints. In fact, you’ll reap many of the benefits of jumping and hopping when you run in place because the movements are similar.
So whether you’re indoors or out, you can do the Plyometric Lower Body Toner and target those crucial joints in your hips and legs. Let’s get to it!
This exercise is typically performed for 30 seconds. Feel free to spend more or less time depending on your comfort level.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Go into a moderate squat, and then hop up quickly and bring your feet closer together.
- Immediately go into rapid running in place for 2-3 seconds. Go as fast as you can.
- Stop, place your feet shoulder-width apart again, and go into a squat for 1 or 2 seconds.
- Hop up and run in place again for another 2-3 seconds.
- Repeat this alternating between running and squatting for a total of 30 seconds.
Don’t worry if you aren’t able to run as hard and fast as the description says; just do the best you can, and your personal “version” will still have many benefits. We recommend following up with one or all of these other Weekend Challenges (or choose one or more of these instead of today’s challenge):
You can easily add these intensive moves into your daily or weekly exercise routine, especially if you feel the need to concentrate on building bone in your hips and legs. Feel free to practice these moves throughout the day, once a day, or several times a week. It’s up to you.
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I hope you have a great rest of the weekend!