When I was first told I had osteoporosis, I feared something I’d never been scared of before: falling. Suddenly, a simple trip or stumble could (I thought) result in a devastating fracture.

I quickly learned that there’s no reason to live in fear. Instead, I took action to regain that confident posture and gait I had when I was younger. And you can, too, when you practice bone-strengthening and balance-enhancing exercises like today’s challenge.

Why: Overcoming the fear of falling begins with addressing the muscle groups that hold you upright and improving your coordination and balance. And as you do this, the bones most prone to fracture will get stronger and you’ll feel more stable

Today’s exercise offers these multiple benefits. The Swinging Balance And Coordination Enhancer targets the muscle groups in your legs, from hip to ankle, rejuvenating the bones in these key areas as well. In addition, this exercise tones your core, a vital group of muscles in your center that hold you upright and influence just about every motion. Plus today’s exercise improves your balance and coordination.

Stronger Leg Bones

I mentioned that the Swinging Balance And Coordination Enhancer strengthens your legs. When it comes to preventing fractures, there are three main areas of concern in the leg area: the hips, femur, and ankle.

The ankle is a beautifully articulated joint, but range of motion means a bit of compromise with regard to stability. So the ankle needs special attention to increase strength and flexibility so you can recapture that spring in your step.

This exercise also strengthens the femur, a strong bone that you may not associate with fracture. But the top of the femur has a vulnerable area – the femoral neck, where the ball of the hip joint forms. Bisphosphonates (like Boniva, Fosamax, and others) greatly increase fracture risk in this area. This particular type of fracture is called atypical, because it’s not normal for a bone to simply snap while doing everyday activities.

Fractures typically occur because of force and angle of impact. In Chapter 2 of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, I discuss why so many people “fail” bone density tests, and point out that:

“Like any solid object, regardless of the ‘quality’, all bones will break when hit in a certain way. Low or high bone density is not a determining factor.”

That’s all the more reason to prevent falls, and to shift the focus to a key quality of young bones: tensile strength. That’s ultimately what prevents fractures, and exercises like today’s challenge enhance tensile strength and muscle tone.

Core Muscle Strength

If you watch a baby learn to sit up for the first time, it’s not only funny; it’s also an education in the development of the core muscles. Babies can’t balance in a sitting position until those muscles are strong enough, which usually happens around six months of age.

From that first sit-up, your body’s balance and upright position depend on the proper function of your core, which the Swinging Balance And Coordination Enhancer strengthens. These central muscle groups are crucial in keeping balance and preventing falls.
Now I want to introduce you to this wonderful exercise. Like all of the Weekend Challenges and the exercises in the Densercise™ Epidentisy Training System, you don’t need any special equipment.

How: Stand in front of a wall, chair, or other stable surface you can hold onto. For the sake of clarity, we’re going to start with the left leg and right arm, so you’ll need to hold on to the chair or wall with your left hand.

  1. Swing your left leg out and bend your right knee into a squatting position. Do not bend your left knee.
  2. At the same time as you swing your leg and bend your knee, swing your right arm out and up, to slightly above your shoulder.
  3. Now bring your right arm back down and across the front of your body, straighten your right knee, and swing your left leg inward, across the front of your right leg.
  4. Repeat 10 times or as many times as you can, then switch sides and do another set of 10 (or as many as you can).
  5. Continue doing sets of 10 and switching sides until you’ve done 3 sets of 10 on each side (as always, it’s okay to work up to this).

Advanced Version

If you’ve mastered the above moves, and your balance is in top shape, then you can try the advanced version.

The only difference in the advanced version is that you don’t hold on to anything. It’s wise to be near enough to something stable to catch yourself, but simply perform the exercise as described above with your left arm free.

More Exercises To Improve Balance

When I wrote the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, I had more than just bone density in mind. Of course, Densercise™ is designed to target and increase bone density; but it’s so much more than that.

I wanted to present exercises that include balance, because that is so crucial to preventing falls and fractures. As I pointed out above, even if your bones are dense and strong they can still break if you have a bad fall.

So when you get the fully-illustrated Densercise™ manual, you’ll find a rich variety of exercises that you can do at your own pace. It only takes 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week – but you can Densercise™ every day if you like.

With Densercise™, you can build your bones and enhance your balance, giving you that youthful confidence once again. Please click here to check it out.

Keep walking tall!

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33 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. K, Gopal Rao November 7, 2015, 3:59 am

    Hi Vivian, Hv often wondered whether a comment, if it gets a reply, either just encouragement or clarifying info, gets copied to the e-mail-id. If not, how does one chk on whether u hv replied or not. finally getting around to asking directly. Pl let me hear.

  2. Sharon September 13, 2014, 3:38 pm

    I’ve got to be the most uncoordinated person on the planet. Thanks for putting the moving image with the text instructions for this exercise. They really helped me. Ha! Thanks so much for sticking with us with all your encouragement, Vivian. We CAN do this.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 13, 2014, 5:03 pm

      Great attitude, Sharon! And yes, the illustrations do help. That’s why I created the video portion of Densercise – it helps to see the moves demonstrated. 🙂

      • Ulla December 7, 2015, 1:35 pm

        Je ne vois pas un adresse pour ceocattnr les e9crivaines mais j’aimerais vous demander s’il y a quelqu’un qui s’inte9resse e0 re9viser pour moi quand je traduit I Blame the Patriarchy vers le frane7ais? Je suis tre8s enthousiaste mais je suis anglaise alors je ne peux pas le faire sans un re9viseur. Merci beaucoup et veuillez me ceocattnr e0 veggie_ master @ hotmail.

      • Christian December 4, 2015, 10:16 am

        I haven’t purchased a DSLR yet, I’ve been lokonig for years and trying to find just the right one. Do you have a preference for a novice? I really need something light weight, small and that takes excellent pics in low light and at night.Also, do you have a photography blog that is updated regularly. I haven’t had a chance to really look on your website yet. But I would like to sign up for auto emails to your blog if you have one.gennetter

  3. Dr Rick Allen September 8, 2014, 6:48 pm

    Great exercise, especially when you consider many elderly on not only on Fosamax, etc., but also blood pressure medications that hinder their balance, making them more likely to fall. Your super Save Our Bones and Densercise programs can help them get off both of these and many more medications. Bravo! Rick Allen, DC

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 9, 2014, 1:46 pm

      Thank you for your input, Dr. Rick! Excellent point about the dizziness caused by medications, especially blood pressure drugs.

  4. irene September 8, 2014, 6:44 pm

    Vivian, I have tried many of your exercises but this is the hardest one. I cannot do it.
    I will work on it but I do not want to break my neck. Glad I go to a gym.

  5. Michelle September 8, 2014, 1:44 pm

    Hi Vivian,
    Great exercise.
    Thank you very much for helping us to stay healthy.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Michelle

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 9, 2014, 1:41 pm

      You are welcome, Michelle!

  6. Edna September 8, 2014, 1:33 pm

    Great exercise! Thank’s for your knowledge.

  7. Bea September 7, 2014, 4:02 am

    I am 83 years old and have the “forward head” type of posture (kyphosis?). I also have a slight spinal curve (scoliosis) – according to my chiropractor. I’ve tried your exercises and also use the “ski” poles on the treadmill to strengthen my back muscles while walking. What else can I do to improve my posture or am I too old and give up trying. I’m almost tempted to buy a back brace!

  8. Carole Coleman September 6, 2014, 7:33 pm

    Hi Vivian,

    I really enjoy your newsletter. You have kept me going maintaining healthy bones. I pass your information on to my friends to make sure they get the news too. But, I want you to know I tried your Crunchy Quinoa and Kale Patties. I thought they sounded really good with the added sesame seeds. However, I was not that thrilled. I’m glad I only made half of the recipe. I have other pH-balanced patties I like much better. But, thank you for the recipe. It was fun trying. I will try the Bone-Building Broccoli Slaw and the Supercharged Potato next. But, I’m going to use a sweet potato which I like better and I think is better for you then a white potato. Thanks for helping us to stay healthy. I REALLY appreciate it. Carole

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 7, 2014, 8:00 am

      Thank you for letting us know about the kale patties, Carole! Not everyone will like every recipe. 🙂 Good for you for giving it a try, and also for spreading the word about Save Our Bones. 🙂

  9. Jan D September 6, 2014, 1:36 pm

    Thank you for these Weekend Challenge emails on exercise (and all the rest) Vivian. The main thing that they do is to remind us of the importance of exercise and motivate us people who let the focus slide due to busy lives. Not to forget the encouragement that you give in such a friendly and informative way. Even though we have the Densercise programme it is all to easy to think we do not have enough time and to put it off (well I speak for myself but probably many others are the same!)
    I cannot thank you enough for all of this.
    Very best regards,
    Jan (from England)

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 6, 2014, 4:43 pm

      It’s my joy and pleasure to bring this information to you and others, Jan! I am so glad you find it encouraging as well as informative. 🙂

  10. JULIE GUTTRIDGE September 6, 2014, 11:19 am

    My doctor is very concerned that my DEXA numbers being -2.5 in L spine & -3.0 in hips, I need the meds that make me so sick & have muscle cramps in legs at night, CONSTANT feeling of nausea !! I do not want to go thru life feeling this way… Now he is talking about the once a year Reclast shot!! They ALL have the bisphosphonates in them that make me sick !! The more I read of what these drugs can possibly do to long term affects, the more scared I get !!! He said to try the Actonel.. It is $295 for a months supply !! I cannot afford that !!! Doc says that all the calcium & vitamins in the world won’t help cause it is heredity !!! Thinking about this keeps me up at night & I need my sleep !!! I am 66.. Good weight , do exercises !! Active … Just bought AlgaeCal and all that goes with it .. Just want to stick my head in the sand & not think about it !!! Julie

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 6, 2014, 1:07 pm

      Julie, remember – it’s your body and your health, and you are the one who has to deal with the consequences of taking drugs, not your doctor! No one can force you to take drugs you don’t want to, and shame on your doctor for intimidating and scaring you.

      As far as heredity is concerned, did you know you do have some control over how your genes are expressed? You might like to read my post on that:

      https://saveourbones.com/good-news-epigenetics-proves-that-youre-not-stuck-with-the-bones-you-have/

      And here’s some more reading to help calm your nerves and let you know a bit more about what your doctor is up to:

      https://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-doctor-scare-tactics/

      I hope you’ll keep doing your research and participating in the discussions here! 🙂

  11. Marlene Villar September 6, 2014, 11:07 am

    Good morning Vivian,
    Very good! I tried it this morning (advance version).
    I’ve been doing the different exercises that you shared
    with us, two of them are challenging. I feel stronger, and
    energetic when I’m consistent with my daily exercises.
    I also include tai-chi, and hula hoop. What do you think
    of hula hoop? Thank you very much Vivian.
    Take care always and have a wonderful day.
    Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 6, 2014, 1:01 pm

      I am glad you enjoyed this exercise, Marlene! I like to include exercises that vary in their level of difficulty so there’s something for everyone. 🙂

      And a hula hoop sounds like great fun!

  12. joan September 6, 2014, 10:27 am

    Hi Vivian, Thank you for the exercise, Do you have an exercise for a pinch nerve in neck or back. I can’t raise my left arm only half way up, Then pain in upper arm. I’m going to start on the leg exercise today. thank you Joan

  13. Pamela Ward September 6, 2014, 8:58 am

    Hi Vivian I recently had a nasty fall getting my foot caught around a large flowerpot I came crashing down with such force that I was convinced I had broken some bones but thanks to you and Save our Bones I am only suffering a badly bruised arm and ribs. The diet is obviously working for me and I urge any of you feeling apprehensive about giving up your medication go for it because it works! Thanks Vivian

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 6, 2014, 9:07 am

      What wonderful news, Pamela! I am sorry to hear about your fall, but overjoyed that you avoided a fracture. Keep up the good work! 😀

  14. Christine Smith September 6, 2014, 1:01 am

    The exercises that you give are so great. It is wonderful to be able to exercise without having to go to the gym. I am feeling stronger and more flexible than a few months ago, although I still walk with my head forwards too much. Trying to keep my shoulders and back straight when I walk!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 6, 2014, 8:59 am

      I understand, Christine! It’s amazing what you can do in your own home with regard to exercise. 🙂

  15. Carol K September 6, 2014, 12:56 am

    it is very easy to fall when you least expect it. i stepped backwards and the heel of my sandal tripped me. I fell onto the sidewalk and fractured a bone in my hip…….after .surgery, a few months of rehab and exercise (plus recipes from your cookbook) and i was back running around once again. Then in June, I tripped over speed bump in front of a store and broke my knee cap. 2 months later wearing a leg brace day and night that bone healed. I never had any intention of doing these things so everyone should be aware of how easy it is to break these bones ! You don’t expect to do it but it happens. So I am now adding these strength exercises to my newest recovery plan ! Wearing better shoes helps and being alert does too. We can eat right and exercise but we still have to pay attention to each activity every day !

  16. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel) September 5, 2014, 10:19 pm

    Good Evening Vivian And Fellow Commenters,

    The Weekend Challenge: Swinging Balance, And Coordination Enhancer, Looks Like A Good Exercise To Help You Maintain Good Balance With Your Legs, To Help You Keep From Falling.

    Thank You Very Much For Sharing It With Us.
    Until Next Time – Take Good Care Of Yourselves, And Stay Well!

    LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 6, 2014, 8:56 am

      You are most welcome, Leslie! Enjoy this week’s exercise and let us know how it goes! 🙂

  17. Kathy September 5, 2014, 10:15 pm

    I wish there was a picture of the person doing the exercise while holding onto the wall or chair. It seems like the left leg would hit the wall or chair. Or am I not understanding something?

    • bonnie September 6, 2014, 1:58 am

      kathy

      when using a chair i stood in back of it

      • Rachel September 6, 2014, 11:16 am

        In response to Kathy’s question, I also wondered how to incorporate using a chair in this exercise. I realized after trying it, that the hand that is placed on the hip in the advanced version of the exercise is placed on the back of a chair in front of you, making balancing easier.

        • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA September 6, 2014, 1:03 pm

          Exactly, Rachel. 🙂

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