I’m thrilled that the Weekend Challenges are so anticipated and enjoyed by the Save Our Bones community! Because they cover so many fitness levels and areas of the body, there’s always something for everyone.
We’ve been targeting the upper body recently, so this weekend we’re focusing on the lower body, working the core, legs, and ankles. The Standing Core And Leg Toner not only strengthens the muscles and bones in these areas, but also improves balance and coordination.
Let’s get started!
When it comes to preventing fractures, it’s important to target bones in areas of the body that are the most frequently broken in the event of a fall. Fracture prevention also includes improving balance to prevent falls from happening to begin with.
This weekend’s exercise strengthens the intricate bones of the ankles. Unfortunately, ankle fractures are on the rise, especially among women over the age of 60,1 making exercises like this one a crucial component of your fracture-prevention routine.
Most ankle fractures occur as the result of a fall. The top part of the ankle joint is composed of the lower parts of the tibia and fibula, the bones of the lower leg. These are usually the bones that break when you fracture your ankle, and healing can take some time due to the complexity of the ankle joint itself.
Also, balancing on one leg applies appropriate pressure to the ankle joint, building bone and creating muscle memory for balance.
In addition to the ankle, this exercise works the core muscles, which are very important for balance. In fact, your core muscles are used in any movement involving your torso and hips. These central muscles get a workout with The Standing Core And Leg Toner, stimulating bone growth in the hips, middle and lower spine, and ribs. Additionally, balance exercises like this one “teach” your core to keep you upright. Those muscles will kick in should you lose your balance.
The femur, which is your thigh bone, also gets targeted in this move. Avoiding femoral fractures is of particular concern for anyone who has taken bisphosphonates, which increase femoral fracture risk.
As you work the upper leg, you’ll also be using the muscles in and around the pelvis. Avoiding hip fractures is of utmost importance for anyone with low bone density, so strengthening this central part of the skeleton is crucial. And balance exercises help prevent the falls that can bring about the fracture to begin with.
When you try The Standing Core And Leg Toner, you’ll see what I mean – you’ll really feel it in your buttocks, hips, and legs. So let’s take a look at how to do it.
As you learn this exercise, it’s a good idea to stand near a wall, bed, chair, or something similar so you can catch yourself if you feel off-balance.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart.
- Raise one leg out to the side.
- Bring that same leg back down and cross it in front of the standing leg. Then bring it back out to the side and repeat.
- While the active leg makes a swinging motion, swing your arms from side to side in the opposite direction.
- Make sure you’re deliberately using your muscles to bring your leg out and back in. Don’t rely on momentum to move your leg.
- Repeat the out-and-across motion eight to 10 times (or as many times as your comfort level allows), and then switch sides and repeat.
If you’d like more of a challenge, try incorporating a one-legged squat into the movement. Here’s how:
When you bring your leg out to the side, bend the knee of the standing leg. Straighten the standing leg and come back up as you bring the moving leg back in for the cross-over.
As you might expect,exercising on a regular basis has more benefits than strengthening the bones and muscles. Here’s a study that explains more about a specific benefit that is very applicable to cold and flu season, which is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere.
Study Confirms That Exercise Builds The Immune System
When compared to randomized, sedentary controls, participants in a 2012 study exercised moderately almost every day for 12 to 15 weeks. Researchers observed “an enhanced recirculation of immunoglobulins, neutrophils, and natural killer cells” that persisted “for up to 3-h(ours) post-exercise.”2
However, the immune-enhancing effects were not temporary. Researchers went on to observe that:
“This exercise-induced surge in immune cells … improves overall surveillance against pathogens.”2
And there’s even better news from this study for those who suffer from colds and flu. As participants continued their daily exercise routine over the course 12-15 weeks, “the number of symptoms days with URTI [upper respiratory tract infection] is decreased 25%–50%”2 compared to the sedentary controls.
So when you start an exercise program, you’re doing more for your body than strengthening bones and muscle (although that’s certainly important). You’re reaping all the benefits of exercise, one of which – increased immune system strength – is just one of many! But it makes particular sense this time of year.
A bone-building exercise routine like the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System can be started anywhere, any time – even in the middle of winter at the height of cold and flu season.
The digital format of Densercise™ adds to its convenience, because it’s delivered digitally as PDF files, so you can literally start “Densercising” within minutes of placing your order!
I hope this weekend’s exercise is fun and beneficial for you. Please feel free to leave a comment about it, and to share your exercise tips and ideas with our community.
Have a great weekend!
1 Kannus P, Palvanen M, Niemi S, Parkkari J, Järvinen M. Increasing number and incidence of low-trauma ankle fractures in elderly people: Finnish statistics during 1970-2000 and projections for the future. Bone 2002;31:430-3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12231418
2 Nieman, David C., “Clinical implications of exercise immunology.” Journal of Sport and Health Science. May 2012. Volume 1, issue 1, pages 12-17. Web. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254612000075