Weekend Challenge: The Hip To Ankle Strengthening Shuffle - Save Our Bones

This weekend, I can’t wait to share a fantastic weight-bearing exercise that is extremely effective at strengthening all your bones from the hip to the ankle. It’s perfect for wintertime, when you often can’t get outdoors to take a walk (or even to the gym) due to inclement weather.

We’re also going to take a look at an anthropological study that shows the importance of exercising for bone density – and what happens when humans adopt a sedentary lifestyle.

I’ll admit, I find this one pretty fun. I hope you will, too!


The hips are a key area to protect from fracture, since hip fractures are among the most debilitating sort. The Hip To Ankle Strengthening Shuffle targets the hip joints to stimulate bone growth to increase density and strength.

The legs are also vital areas to focus on for fracture resistance and to prevent falls. This weekend’s exercise also strengthens the ankles – a “weak” area that is prone to fracture – and works the muscles in the whole leg.

You will see that the motions involved in The Hip And Leg Strengthener are excellent for increasing balance as well. This is also crucial for avoiding falls that could result in breaking a bone.


The Hip To Ankle Strengthening Shuffle takes some coordination, so be sure to take a good look at the illustration and begin slowly. Wear comfortable exercise shoes to prevent slipping and to absorb shock.

Let’s begin with the left foot.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lean forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and your core muscles tight and engaged.
  3. Bend your left knee and cross your right foot behind and your left. The toes of your right foot will be pointing toward the floor.
  4. As you perform #3, bring your right arm up and across your front. Your left arm should be behind your back (think skiing).
  5. Now bring your right leg out and hop to the right, switching your arms and bringing your left foot behind your right.
  6. Repeat 20 times (10 on each side), or as many times as you comfortably can.


  • You don’t have to “hop” right away. You can step instead to get a feel for the move.
  • If you are not comfortable hopping, simply do the exercise as a side step.
  • Keep the same forward-leaning stance throughout, with your core muscles tight.

When you think about it, this exercise (like most exercises) mimics moves that were made naturally by our ancestors in their everyday lives. This move would have been practiced daily as humans dodged obstacles or wild animals, or lunged to pick up something off to the side. Research shows us that it was actually our hunter-gatherer ancestors who had it “right” when it comes to exercise.
In fact, a recent…

Study Shows That Humans Have Lost Bone Mass Over Thousands Of Years

Most of us would not consider farming to be a “sedentary” lifestyle; but according to a fascinating study out of George Washington University, farming was a much “lighter” occupation than being nomadic hunters and gatherers. 1

Study author Brian Richmond noted that:

“Despite centuries of research on the human skeleton, this is the first study to show that human skeletons have substantially lower density in joints throughout the skeleton, even in ancient farmers who actively worked the land.” 1

In other words, the modern human skeleton is far less dense than that of our ancestors. And the decrease in density can be traced to the switch from nomadic lifestyles to farming. With the former type of life, humans would walk long distances every day, hunt wild animals, sprint, climb, stoop, and be in pretty much constant motion.

In contrast, ancient farmers had seasons of work (like spring and fall) followed by slower seasons, such as summer and winter. Farming involves less varied, more repetitive motions, and with food close to home, farmers no longer had to walk or jog long distances.

In “Modern” Times, Bone Density Continues To Decrease…But It Doesn’t Have To!

Bring that forward to today, and we have less reason to move than ever. Information is at our fingertips via the internet; many jobs involve sitting all day; and when we come home, we often sit on the couch watching TV or using an electronic device.

By engaging in regular exercise such as the moves found in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, you can offset the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. As the title says, Densercise™ goes beyond (epi) bone density and even enters the cutting-edge realm of epigenetics. Research, including the study above, shows that regular exercise (or a lack of it) can actually influence genetic expression.

Together, let’s reverse the trend toward lower human bone density!

Have a great weekend!


1 Chirchir, Habiba. “Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans.” PNAS. Vol 112, no. 2, pp 366-371. November 26, 2014. Web. https://www.pnas.org/content/112/2/366.abstract

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Vincent

    Dear Vivian:
    I use a similar exercise to improve my balance for bowling by extending my arm forward and holding my position for a few seconds as if I had just released the bowling ball.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Great idea, Vincent! I can certainly see the merits in a “bowling” type of motion. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kathleen Riley

    Wonderful exercise, Vivian!! And great fun too. It is very energizing.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Glad you are enjoying it, Kathleen! I think it’s fun, too.

  3. Leopoldine

    Hi Vivian
    My cholesterol is up and I found a mild substitute which has plant sterols in it, which they claim will reduce cholesterol by 10%. Will plant sterols reduce calcium absorbtion?
    Thank you

  4. Kelsey Fickling

    It’s a great exercise Vivian, I hope I can do it well. Yes it is like speed skating, and involving arms and legs. Thanks, blessings.

  5. shula

    Looks really good.

  6. Sally Bennett

    Dear Vivian,

    Some of your exercises are very doable for someone with arthritis and also, I suffer constant pain from a failed back surgery for spinal stenosis. But this particular exercise would not be doable or good for my back. I know you mainly address osteoporosis, but would you comment on the issues I mentioned? Thank you.

  7. marge201

    Vivian, I like this a lot. Please clarify step No. 3: “Bend your left knee and cross your right foot behind and your left. The toes of your right foot will be pointing toward the floor.” You need to change “and your” to “your.” And you specifically mean don’t touch the floor with the toes of the behind foot.

  8. LynnCS

    More like speed skating than skiing…lol…not that it matters. It’s a great exercise. Thanks for posting it.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Skating is an appropriate visual for this exercise, too! I am glad you’re enjoying it.

  9. joanna

    Hi Vivian, you never mention HRT, for treatment for osteoporosis, just wondering what your thoughts are on this… jo

  10. Robert D.

    Hi Vivian,

    I notice that most of the participants of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program are women, and I was wondering if the program is mostly designed for women specifically. I am a 70 yr old man, and I’ve had been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis since 2001. I was wondering if I purchased the program, would I need to alter it to address osteoporosis from a male diagnosis of osteo. My doctors warned me about twisting my body in exercise since that could cause an injury to my bones. My current dexa scan showed that my spine is a T-score of -4.6 and hips of a T-score of -2.1. Appreciate you reply. Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Welcome, Robert! We actually have a growing number of men joining the Program. Osteoporosis is statistically more common in women, but the recommendations in the Program are applicable to both men and women. 🙂

  11. Nima

    I am not a member of Save our Bones Community,though I very much would like to but
    at present I have been on treatment for IPF with Steroids and antibiotics I do not know.
    I very much like to have help and guidance because in UK under Nationl Health older
    People do not get much help and specially if one has not good knowledge of medical
    Treatments and medicines.
    I am 78 soon will be 79, but I am very positive strong minded attend Gym and eat healthy food. How can I help when I have Arithritis,austio,and pain in my both ankles.
    I also suffer from wind,bloting and think that this Steroids does more harm than help.
    Can you help me?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Nima, you are a member of the community – you’re here! 🙂 And I encourage you to continue to participate in discussions on this site, and read all the free information here. You can take control of your own health no matter where you are located in the world!

    • Claudia


      I am 70 years old. I do belong to Save Our Bones. It is a great program. I ordered the book and it is great. If you can please get the book. I find that Drs. Really don’t have time for older women. I had to help my self. I have changed my lifestyle so much.. Well I got a little crazy over the holidays,but I am back on track now. I have osoprosis, and the Dr. Wanted me to take a dangerous medicine. I did a lot of research and that medicine is not for me. I follow Vivian’ program and I feel good.Good luck to you. Please try to get the book. Some meds out there in my opinion do more harm than good.

  12. Marlene Villar

    Good morning Vivian,
    I loved it !. I will include it in my daily routine.
    Thank you very much for sharing this excellent exercise.
    Have a wonderful day. Take care always. Marlene

  13. Rona Yates

    My doctor insists that as my osteoprosis is caused by steroids I need to take alendronic and ad cal MY DIET is nutrient filled as my SLE needs a good diet even more so as I have many food allergies. I would be interested in a response from you, as this is a big thing In my life. I attend my Physio weekly plus go to Pilates and do my exercises daily . In a quandary.
    Regards Rona Yatez

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Rona,
      Steroids can affect bone density, but you can counteract their effects with good nutrition and by following a bone health plan like the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. 🙂

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