This weekend’s challenge enhances balance and coordination by targeting the muscles in the legs, engaging the arms in abduction, and boosting coordination centers in the brain.
The Fall Preventer also increases density in the femur, a bone that’s important to strengthen for anyone who’s fighting osteopenia or osteoporosis. But it’s of particular importance if you’ve taken bisphosphonates such as Fosamax (alendronate) or Boniva (ibandronate), the most commonly prescribed osteoporosis drugs that have a long list of terrible side effects, including an increased risk of a femoral fracture.
In addition, The Fall Preventer expands the rib cage, promoting deep alkalizing breathing; and like all exercise, it contributes to the cessation of the aging cycle, which we’ll take a look at in more detail.
First, let’s look at the areas of the body targeted by The Fall Preventer, and how it promotes better balance.
How Strong Leg Muscles Enhance Balance And Prevent Fractures
As you will see, The Fall Preventer works the muscles of the upper leg, which in turn builds your femur. This is a prime consideration if you’ve ever taken bisphosphonates, because that means your risk of femoral fracture is increased.
Femoral fractures can be very painful and take a long time to heal, and along with nutritional support, regular exercise is essential for increasing the strength and resilience of your femur.
Here’s why: per Wolff’s Law, as you work the upper leg muscles, you’re stimulating bone-building cells along the thigh bone where the muscles attach, resulting in increased density.
Strong upper leg muscles are also pivotal in maintaining balance. If muscles in the legs are tight or weak, then you’re much less likely to be able to catch yourself to stop a fall. In addition, strong upper leg muscles maintain balance when you’re simply standing, walking, or otherwise engaging in everyday activities.
The Fall Preventer also works the arms and shoulders, which are surprisingly complex structures.
Arm Abduction: What It Is And Why It’s Important For Building Bone and Balance
When you raise your arm out to the side and up over your head, as in The Fall Preventer, it’s called abduction. While you may take this motion for granted, it’s really quite involved. The action itself actually has a name, the “scapulohumeral rhythm,” to describe the process of abduction.
To raise your arm over your head, your rotator cuff, deltoids, and serratus anterior muscles all engage to lift your upper arm bone (humerus), which connects to the clavicle (collarbone) and shoulder blade (scapula).
Interestingly, the connection point for the head of the humerus is called the acromion. It’s a ledge of bone on the outside part of your shoulder under your scapula. The tendons of the rotator cuff muscles join with other connective tissue and wrap around the humeral head, keeping the shoulder joint stabilized and flexible.
All of these bones in the arms and shoulders are important to strengthen in the fight against osteoporosis. As with the leg muscles, the action of muscle on the arm and shoulder bones boosts bone strength and fracture resistance. And don’t forget that the arm and shoulder muscles play into proper balance, too –strong muscles in this area are more likely to respond quickly to correct imbalance.
Arm abduction does more: it lifts and expands the ribcage, which is another area of importance.
Why An Expanded Ribcage Matters
There are a variety of reasons why your ribcage needs to be in proper expansion and alignment. First, an open ribcage leaves room for complete lung expansion, allowing for deep, alkalizing breaths. Yes, deep breaths are alkalizing, and here’s why.
When you engage in deep breaths, it prevents the buildup of carbon dioxide and lactic acid, which are both very acidifying substances. This gives your kidneys a break from filtering out the CO2 and lactic acid, freeing the water in your system to transport essential minerals to your bones. Additionally, highly oxygenated blood helps remove toxins and get oxygen to every tissue where it’s needed.
Second, an uplifted ribcage is an integral part of proper posture and the prevention of kyphosis, which often begins with hunching over and compressing the ribcage.
And finally, when your ribcage is in the proper position and you’re performing exercises to lift it, it helps build bone density in your ribs, preventing fracture.
Oxygen-rich blood also enhances cognitive ability, as does all exercise. We’re going to look at that aspect of exercise in a moment, but first let’s get to today’s exercise.
As you will see, this move can be done even in a small space, which is very helpful as we move into winter here in the Northern Hemisphere and spend more time indoors.
- Stand with your feet wide apart, since you will be lunging left and right.
- We will start with the right arm for the sake of clarity. Raise your right arm while you simultaneously bend your right knee to lunge sideways to the right.
- Come back to the center and switch arms, raising your left arm and lunging to the left.
- Repeat the left and right lunges and arm raises in a smooth, continual movement.
- Repeat about 20 lunges – 10 on each side – or fewer if your comfort level won’t allow for all 20 just yet.
If you’d like to combine this exercise with a similar move, try The Rib Fracture Preventer. It’s another Weekend Challenge that goes great with The Fall Preventer. Adding variety helps keep you motivated, which is part of offsetting the aging cycle. I’ll explain.
The Vicious Cycle You Should Avoid
It’s fairly well-known that exercise lifts mood and helps depression. But what is less well-known is that depression actually causes your body to produce a bone-damaging substance called noradrenaline.
Exercise counteracts this by a remarkable process called neurogenesis, which means the manufacture of new brain cells. That’s right – research shows that exercise can actually boost brain cell production, and it can happen in adult brains.1
You see, depression and cognitive decline can set off the “aging cycle.” You may not have thought about this before, but aging does have a cyclical element. Here’s how it works.
First, you neglect to exercise as you get older. Then, you feel tired and become less physically active. This causes your muscles to atrophy and fat to accumulate, leading to a feeling of getting old. That’s when depression can set in, making you feel even less inclined to exercise. Then, your body develops aches, pains, cardiovascular problems, and other issues related to age. This underscores the feeling that you are getting old, and the vicious cycle begins again.
How To Stop The Aging Cycle
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That’s because “Densercises” do not require expensive, complicated exercise equipment, a particular environment (like a gym), or special materials. So if depression or feeling “old” is keeping you from exercising, Densercise™ is the perfect solution! In the privacy of your own home, you can build muscles, increase bone density, and enjoy all the benefits of exercise…and that includes feeling younger, more energized, and happier!
Have a great weekend!
1 Gerd, Kempermann. “Adult neurogenesis: stem cells and neuronal development in the adult brain.” Oxford University Press. 2006. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog/101264635?report=Full
2 Berger & Hech, “Exercise, aging, and psychological well-being: The mind-body question.” In A.C. Ostrow (Ed.), Aging and motor behavior (in press). Indianapolis: Benchmark Press.