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.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lean forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and your core muscles tight and engaged.
- 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.
- As you perform #3, bring your right arm up and across your front. Your left arm should be behind your back (think skiing).
- Now bring your right leg out and hop to the right, switching your arms and bringing your left foot behind your right.
- 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.
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