According to intriguing research, your core and your mind share a connection that until recently was unknown. It’s fascinating to consider that core-stabilizing exercises, such as the one we’ll share with you this weekend, can have more than just the expected positive physical effects; they can also improve your psychological well-being.
Additionally, the Standing Core Stabilizer Plus strengthens your legs and glutes.
Let’s begin with a brief analysis of the study on core exercises, how they help alleviate depression and the fear of falling, and then we’ll get right into the challenge.
In an analysis of core stabilizing exercises (referred to as “CSE” in the body of the study), researchers arrived at the following conclusion:
“Relative to the control group, the core stability training group showed statistically significant overall changes after the training session: an increase in POMA [Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment] scores, faster CV [crossing velocity], lower MVHC [maximum vertical heel clearance], and a decrease in knee flexion angle. Furthermore, depression and fear of falling decreased significantly.”1
What does all this mean? Let’s unravel the terminology and take a look at why this is such a significant finding for the osteoporosis community.
Prior to the study and for six weeks afterward, researchers assessed the participants’ physical capabilities as well as their psychological functions. Volunteers underwent the Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA), which measures gait and balance abilities. Twenty of the women scored under 19, which indicates a high risk for falling and were then randomly divided into an experimental group and a control group.
All of the volunteer subjects were over the age of 65 and had no history of falls. They were all able to walk and function independently.
In addition to the POMA, the volunteers were assessed regarding crossing velocity (CV), which is how far the foot travels horizontally with each step; maximum vertical heel clearance (MVHC), which refers to the heel’s vertical distance above an object; and the angle of knee flexion (how far the knee bends).
Perhaps most significantly, the volunteers were also evaluated with regard to depression and fear – specifically, fear of falling. This is important for several reasons.
The Fear Factor
An osteoporosis or osteopenia diagnosis can be really frightening, as Savers know; and when doctors use scare tactics to get their patients to take osteoporosis drugs, it only makes the fear worse. After all, many older people already have a fear of falling due to their age, and receiving low bone density scores only makes it worse. The researchers explained this in the study:
“Fear of falling leads to a decrease in activity and low self-esteem for independent behavior and has direct negative effects that result in decreased balance and gait disorder.”1
Savers are aware that fear, and the stress it causes, can be harmful to bone health and overall health; but Savers also know that the Save Institute offers education and information to overcome the fears associated with osteoporosis, such as the suggestions in this previous article: Improve Your Bone Health Choices By Understanding The Art And Science Of Decision-Making.
And now, research reveals another fear-conquering tactic: core-strengthening exercise.
As noted above, “depression and fear of falling decreased significantly” in the study volunteers who underwent regular core-strengthening exercises (CSE).1
Now the conclusion quoted at the beginning of this article makes more sense!
What’s So Special About Core-Strengthening Exercises?
We’ve shared in the past that many forms of exercise help relieve depression and prevent falls. But CSE has a particular advantage in that it promotes trunk stability. Other research shows the effects of exercise on the fear of falling, pointing to muscle strength in the trunk as being of greater consequence than that of the legs (although leg strength is also important). This led scientists to the conclusion that strengthening the core, especially in the lower back region, improves functional stability in a significant and uniquely effective way. They found that trunk stability leads to better balance, a more stable gait, and decreased the likelihood of falling.2,3,4
This is all excellent news for Savers who wish to overcome fear and increase their confidence, fitness, and mood!
You’ll need a single weight for this exercise, preferably something around 5 pounds. If you don’t have a dumbbell, you can use any object that weighs 2 to 5 pounds, such as a large bottle of water, container of juice, and so forth.
- Hold the weight horizontally in both hands. Your palms will be facing each other from either end of the weight.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bring the weight to your chest and go down into a deep squat.
- Straighten your arms to push the weight out in front of you, and then bring it back to your chest and stand up again.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 eight to 10 times, making whatever adjustments you deem necessary to accommodate your fitness level, such as a reducing the weight (or using no weight at all), fewer repetitions, and so forth.
Here are three more highly effective core-strengthening exercises to round out your CSE workout:
Core Training Is Included In Densercise™
The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System includes more than 50 exercises designed to increase bone density, and many of them involve engaging the core. With Densercise™, you know you’re getting a well-rounded, complete workout that not only builds stronger bones, but also helps lift your mood, reduce the risk of falling, and decrease fear.
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.
As always, comments on today’s topic are welcome.
Enjoy the weekend!
1 Dae-Sik Ko, PT, PhD; Dae-In Jung, PT, PhD; Mi-Ae Jeong, PT, PhD. “Analysis of Core Stability Exercise Effect on the Physical and Psychological Function of Elderly Women Vulnerable to Falls during Obstacle Negotiation.” J Phys Ther Sci. 26. 11. (2014): 1697-1700. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4242935/
2 Carter ND, Kannus P, Khan KM. “Exercise in the prevention of falls in older people: a systematic literature review examining the rationale and the evidence.” Sports Med. 31. 6. (2001): 427-38.
3 Hicks, G.E., et al. “Trunk muscle composition as a predictor of reduced functional capacity in the health, aging and body composition study; the moderating role of back pain.” Biol Sci Med Sci. 60. 11. (2005): 1420-4.
4 Akuthota, V. and Nadler, S.F. “Core Strengthening.” Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 85. 3. (2004): S86-92.