Weekend Challenge: Total Lower Body Bone Builder
No matter what time of year it is, bad weather happens. In the summer, some areas experience rain almost every day, and of course wintertime brings ice, snow, and freezing temperatures in many parts of the world.
And if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s wintertime right now.
In short, weather makes it difficult to get outside and walk or run as often as you should to build your bones.
Today’s post solves this dilemma, because you’ll discover how to reap the benefits of walking and running even in the worst weather conditions. How? You can walk or run indoors.
Why: Walking and running are one of the most efficient ways to build your bones. Both weight-bearing activities are beneficial to your overall health and you don’t need any special equipment to get started.
Plus walking and running improve mood, which is also important for strong bones. Depression has been linked to bone loss, and Savers are familiar with the bone-depleting effects of chronic stress and high cortisol levels.
Constant sitting is an increasing problem in our modern world, and regular walking and running offsets the effects of sedentary lifestyles.
Walking and running make excellent use of two simple elements: your body weight and gravity. These are two critical requirements to building bone density, as proven scientifically by Wolff’s law of bone formation, since the action of muscle and gravity on bone increases bone density.
In addition, today’s exercise strengthens your core muscles, quadriceps (the top muscles of your thighs), and the flexor muscles of the hip, reducing the risk of hip and femur fractures.
No special exercise equipment is required, and as you’ll see below, you can do this anywhere, anytime.
How: Make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes that offer proper support.
- Stand near a chair or wall in case you need to catch your balance.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms bent in a “running” position.
- Raise one knee to hip height. At the same time, bring the opposite arm up toward your shoulder.
- Start at the speed that’s most comfortable for you, as if walking in place, but making sure you lift your legs up to your hips keeping the knee bent. This ensures you’re also strengthening your core muscles to support good posture and spinal alignment.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Do 10 reps on each side for a set of 20.
- Rest for a few minutes and do another set of 20.
- Repeat this cycle for as many sets as you can.
Remember, it’s okay if you have to work up to this. It’s fine to start with 4 or 5 reps at a time for a set of 8 or 10.
Advanced Version: Running Indoors
- Begin as for walking indoors – feet hip-width apart, arms “pumped”, and standing near a wall or chair. Good shoes that absorb impact are especially important for this exercise.
- Follow the same pattern of raising one leg and pumping the opposite arm, but this time, jump a bit when you lift your knee and come down on the other leg, as if running in place.
- Because this is more challenging, you might want to begin with a set of 8 (4 on each side) until you get the hang of it.
- The goal is a set of 20 reps, 10 on each side, as with walking indoors.
This exercise requires little space, but it offers many rewards that go beyond building bone density. In fact, the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System is so called because it goes above and beyond building bone density (“epi” is a Greek word meaning “beyond”).
Savers will recognize the use of this prefix in relation to epigenetics, the study of gene expression within the genetic code itself. Amazingly, weight-bearing exercises have been shown to alter gene expression.
Even if your doctor told you that osteoporosis “runs” in your family, recent studies have shown that you can control whether those genes get switched “on” or “off” as long as you perform the right kind of exercises on a regular basis1.
And that’s precisely what Densercise™ is designed to do — it flips the hidden “switch” that builds more bone with ease — and it’s all based on the latest science.
In other words, you’re not “stuck” with osteoporosis because you can overcome a family tendency with regular exercise!
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your experience with this or other Weekend Challenges by leaving a comment below.
Enjoy your weekend!
1Denham, J., et al. “Exercise: putting action into our epigenome.” Sports Medicine. 2014 Feb; 44(2): 189-209. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24163284