I hope that all Savers who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday.
Now that we’re in the post-holiday weekend, I’m looking forward to getting back into exercising for my bones. I’m sure you’re ready, too, so I’m thrilled to bring you this weekend’s challenge: the Seated Abs And Legs Strengthener.
As the name indicates, you can do this exercise while sitting down, which makes it all the more convenient and accessible. It works the abdominals, core muscles, and legs, and we’re going to start by looking at why these areas are important in the fight against osteoporosis, including a new study on the benefits of trunk strength in older adults.
So read on and enjoy today’s exercise! You won’t even need to get up from your chair…
Trunk strength is of particular importance as we age, as we’ll see when we look at the research in a moment. A strong trunk includes the muscles of the core, back, hips, sides, and abdominals – pretty much your entire torso. Strong trunk muscles improve balance and posture, and working them boosts bone strength in the ribs, spine, and hips.
Today’s exercise also works the legs, further strengthening the hips and thighs. Preventing fractures in the hips and femur it of utmost importance, and this exercise targets these areas.
Let’s take a closer look at these muscles and the bones they strengthen, beginning with the trunk.
The abdominals encompass the muscles of your sides, back, and stomach, so they cover a significant area. These include:
- The obliques, which run along your sides and attach to your pelvic bones and ribs;
- The tansverse abdominus, which are deep core muscles that lie under the obliques and stabilize the pelvis and spine;
- The rectus abdominus, which is at the front of your torso (your “tummy muscles”); and,
- The multifidus, a muscle which lies deep in the back and connects to the lumbar vertebrae in a sort of zigzag pattern.
All of these muscles attach to bones, of course, and according to Wolff’s Law, working the muscles stimulates growth and density in the bones they attach to. The bones of the torso area include the ribs, pelvis, and thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.
Savers are well aware that density and tensile strength in these bones are paramount to preventing fracture, either from falling or compression.
The Seated Abs And Leg Strengthener also works the muscles of the legs, particularly the quadriceps, adductors, and abductors.
The quadriceps, or quads, are four-part muscles on the front of your thigh. Strong quads stabilize the knee joint, strengthen the femur, and promote balance.
The adductors move your leg inward toward the middle of the body, while the abductors move the legs outward, away from your body. In today’s exercise, you’ll be doing both, giving your upper legs a well-rounded workout.
And finally, today’s exercise works the hip flexors, aka the iliopsoas muscles, which attach at the top of the femur. They originate at the base of the spine and pelvis, and they’re an important muscle group that is crucial for balance and spinal alignment.
The bone that’s primarily targeted by this move is the femur. While this is one of the strongest bones in the human body, it’s prone to fracture if you’ve ever taken osteoporosis drugs. Ironically, bisphosphonates raise the risk of femur fracture, particularly in the femoral neck.
So have a seat, and let’s get started on strengthening these bones and muscles.
All you need for this exercise is a chair.
- Sit up straight in your chair and place your hands on the sides of it.
- Stretch your legs forward, keeping your knees straight, heels on the floor, and toes facing up.
- Bend one leg toward your chest, and then back to the starting position, alternating legs each time. Repeat about 20 times, or as many times as you comfortably can.
- Rest one minute and repeat the set three to five times.
I like to follow this exercise with the Seated Core And Oblique Strengthener because it also focuses on the trunk and torso muscles. And that’s important, because the latest research points to trunk strength as pivotal in combating issues specific to older adults.
Study Highlights The Benefits Of Trunk Strength In Balance, Fall Prevention, And Daily Activities
As the number of older adults in Western society increases, so does the incidence of falls and fractures associated with aging. In light of this, scientists are looking closely at ways to counteract the effects of aging, and a 2013 review of the data reveals some fascinating facts.
The evidence clearly points to core strength exercises as “significantly” enhancing trunk strength and spinal mobility, as well as reducing lower back pain. In fact, the researchers note that core strength training has been established as “an effective means of treating chronic low back pain.”1
The report goes on to explore the importance of trunk and core exercises in enhancing balance, preventing falls (especially by increasing the effectiveness of “corrective” movements in case of balance loss), and promoting better use of the upper and lower extremities.
And last but not least, researchers report that a strong trunk improves quality of life and daily activities:
“…exercises that have the potential to promote appropriate dorsal (e.g., multifidus, erector spinae) and ventral (e.g., transversus abdominis, internal obliques) muscle responses may improve performance of activities of daily living due to enhanced [trunk muscle strength] and core stability.1
Once again, regular, targeted exercise provides benefits that go beyond improving bone health. In the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, you’ll find many core and trunk-strengthening exercises in addition to other moves that focus on fracture-prone areas like wrists, ankles, and hips.
Densercise™ only takes 15 minutes, three times a week, yet its 52 moves are challenging, highly-effective, targeted exercise specifically designed to build bone density, enhance balance, improve coordination, and much more.
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.
How did today’s exercise go for you? Please join the conversation and share your experience with the community by leaving a comment below.
Have a great weekend!
1 Granacher, Urs, et al. “The Importance of Trunk Muscle Strength for Balance, Functional Performance, and Fall Prevention in Seniors: A Systematic Review.” Sports Medicine. April 2013. 43(7). Doi: 10.1007//s40279-013-0041-1.