While hip and vertebrae fractures are of great concern to Savers (and rightly so!), a recent study has shown that 50% of falls end up with broken ribs.
So I am really glad to share with you today The Rib Fracture Preventer, and I know that you’ll greatly benefit from it.
In addition to strengthening your ribs, this exercise also stabilizes the thoracic vertebrae and gives you a trim and shapely waist.
Plus when your rib muscles are strong, they help you take deep breaths to alkalize your pH, which is crucial for strong and youthful bones.
Why: While rib fractures do not get the attention from the osteoporosis community that hip and vertebrae fractures do, research shows that they should – according to a 2011 study, falling precipitates rib fractures 50% of the time, and low bone mineral density is implicated even when a rib fracture results from severe trauma.1
The intercostal muscles are thin muscle bands between the ribs. There are internal and external intercostals – the internal help with exhalation, while the external work to help you draw a deep breath (a crucial aspect of maintaining balanced body pH). The intercostal muscles support your ribcage and also your upper back.
The oblique muscles also have internal and external versions. The external oblique muscles lie along your sides and abdomen, and the internal obliques lie underneath them. This muscle group works to bend and flex your torso around and to the side.
Both obliques work with the diaphragm and other muscles in the abdomen to affect inhalation and exhalation, and the internal obliques are particularly involved in exhaling.
The oblique muscles also rotate your upper body sideways, with the internal obliques working with the external ones on the opposite side as you rotate. If you’re recognizing a connection to balance, you are right – the issue of “body sway” and its role in balance and falls has been studied, with the greater degree of sway indicating the greatest likelihood for a fall.2 (More on this study below.) The intercostals and obliques play a crucial part in reducing “sway” and keeping your torso stable while walking or standing.
You may not have thought of this before, but the muscles of the ribs, sides, and abdomen actually help improve posture and prevent Dowager’s Hump (kyphosis). Here’s how.
In addition to a host of other health problems, kyphosis causes the chest and ribcage to cave in. The above muscle groups are directly involved in expanding the chest and stabilizing the ribcage to keep the thoracic vertebrae straight and strong. Also, the thoracic vertebrae – the ones involved in kyphosis – are supported in part by the muscles of the ribcage and sides.
Now grab an exercise mat or find a carpeted floor, and let’s get started!
- Lie on your back with your knees up. Move your feet as close to your bottom as possible. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Facing the ceiling, slowly raise your shoulders a few inches off the floor. You should feel it in your abs – keep your back straight (don’t curl forward).
- Without tucking your chin, stay in the raised up position and bend sideways to reach your ankle. (It’s okay if you can’t reach all the way – just reach as far as you can.)
- Repeat 20 times or as many reps as you can comfortable do.
- Lie back down and rest for a few seconds.
- Raise yourself up again and do 20 (or so) reps on the other side.
- Make sure your chin does not point downward toward your chest. Imagine holding an orange or a ball under your chin throughout the exercise.
- Don’t lift your shoulders more than a few inches off the floor.
Prevent Fractures By Improving Your Balance
Remember the study I mentioned above that had to do with body sway? This intriguing research reveals much about the nature of fractures and bone density.
Scientists reaffirmed what Savers are already well aware of: increasing bone density alone is not enough to reducing fractures, and body sway (i.e., balance) is as significant a factor in causing fractures via falls as osteopenia and osteoporosis.2
That’s why the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System includes many exercises that enhance balance.
Of course, as the name of the program implies, Densercise™ also includes exercises that are designed to target fragile areas of the skeleton with the intention of increasing density and strength.
But that’s the best part – Densercise™ promotes balance and youthful bone density at the same time, tackling osteoporosis in two key ways.
If you haven’t yet, please take a moment to look at the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, and discover more about this unique exercise program.
Enjoy the weekend!
1 Wuermser, Lisa-Ann, et al. “What Accounts for Rib Fractures in Older Adults?” Journal of Osteoporosis. 8 August 2011. Vol 2011, Article ID 457591. Web. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jos/2011/457591/
2 Wang, Fang, et al. “Body Sway Measurement for Fall Risk Assessment Using Inexpensive Webcams.” 32nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS. September, 2010. PDF. http://www.eldertech.missouri.edu/files/Papers/WangF/Body%20Sway%20Measurement%20for%20Fall%20Risk%20Assessment.pdf