Weekend Challenge: Upper Body Mobility And Coordination Enhancer
This weekend’s challenge is an aerobic move that works and stretches the torso, spine, and rib cage. Its dance-like movements improve coordination and keep your heart rate up.
In addition, recent scientific research shows that not only does aerobic exercise induce a happy mood, it also helps the good mood to stick around for some time.
So besides all the bone health and other benefits, the Upper Body Mobility And Coordination Enhancer can improve your mood.
Let’s get started!
Mobility in the upper body is a key component of coordination and balance. If your upper body is stiff and your muscles tight, it will be harder to move, bend, and twist your torso to keep you upright and catch yourself from falling. Limber flexibility and strength in the upper body are very important for maintaining balance, and today’s exercise helps with that.
In addition, working the muscles in the torso means the corresponding bones will respond and increase in strength and quality. Today’s exercise is especially good for working and stretching the rib cage, which is an area of the skeleton that sometimes gets overlooked when it comes to fracture prevention.
Rib Fractures Are Surprisingly Common
While hip fractures are, understandably, the big “dread, especially among those with low bone density, rib fractures are rarely mentioned. But they are actually quite common, with research showing that half of all rib fractures are the result of falls.1
That is one of the things I really like about this weekend’s exercise – it not only helps strengthen your ribs, it also helps with coordination, so you’ll be preventing rib fractures two ways: strengthening the ribs themselves and decreasing your chance of falling.
Besides the ribs, the Upper Body Mobility And Coordination Enhancer stretches and works the upper back. The motions involved directly counteract the hunched posture and compressed vertebrae associated with kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump).
Two More Key Areas Worked In Today’s Challenge: Hips And Shoulders
The Upper Body Mobility And Coordination Enhancer involves stepping back and to the side (as you will see in a moment), thus stretching and working the muscles in the front of the hips. These are the hip flexors, and if you’ve been following our Weekend Challenges, you’re familiar with these muscles and how important they are for pelvic alignment and strength.
As you step, you’ll also be raising your arms up and bringing them down behind your back, which limbers up the shoulder joints, stretches the chest muscles, and aligns the scapulae.
Bringing your arms behind your back is a seldom-practiced motion in today’s modern society, where leaning and reaching down and forward are the norm (such as typing on computers, tapping on phones, even sitting and holding the TV remote). It is vital to bring the arms up and back to counteract the effects of these repetitive forward-leaning, shoulder-rounding motions.
And finally, let’s not forget the importance of aerobic exercise. In addition to increasing bone mineral density and enhancing memory, aerobic exercise also has a profound and positive effect on mood, as we will see in a moment.
But first, let’s look at how to do the Upper Body Mobility And Coordination Enhancer.
It’s a good idea to start slowly at first as you learn the moves.
- Begin by standing straight and tall, your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Raise your arms up over your head while stepping back with one foot. For the sake of clarity, let’s start with your right foot. As you step, bring your right foot back and to the left behind your left foot, rotating your pelvis and waist as you do. Your right toe will tap the floor behind and to your left.
- Bring the right foot back to the standing position while lowering your arms, bringing your hands behind your back.
- Raise your arms up again, and step back with your left foot.
- After you have done one step on each side, that’s one rep. Aim for 10 reps, but feel free to do more or less depending on your fitness level.
As I mentioned above, this exercise has a dance-like quality, making it fun and enjoyable. In fact, research shows that aerobic exercise in general lifts mood, and keeps you in a good mood for many hours.
Pilot Study Shows Up To 12 Hours Of Mood Enhancement From Aerobic Exercise
In order to study how long aerobic exercise affected mood, researchers reviewed participants’ mood states for various intervals following either aerobic exercise or quiet rest. The researchers found that:
“The exercise group showed significantly lower total mood disturbance immediately after and at 4, 8, and 12 hours following exercise.”2
This is significant not only because a better mood simply makes for a happier outlook, but because mood has a profound effect on bone health in multiple ways.
First, a happier mood inspires you to exercise more, thus setting a positive cycle in motion that benefits your mind, bones, and whole body.
Second, a better mood reduces cortisol levels in your blood, and cortisol reduces bone density. And finally, boosting your mood through exercise and nutrition makes it easier to stay away from bone-damaging anti-depressant drugs.
So as you can see, there are so many benefits to simple moves like today’s exercise. All these benefits and so much more are offered in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System. Designed to be practiced three days a week for 15 minutes, “Densercises” are extremely convenient. They do not require any special equipment; occasionally you’ll need something simple that you have around the house, like hand weights (water bottles or soup cans work fine) or a towel.
If you haven’t looked into Densercise™ yet, I encourage you to explore this vital aspect of bone health.
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I hope you enjoy exercising for your bones, and find this weekend’s exercise as fun as I did!
Have a great weekend!
1 Wuermser, Lisa-Ann, et al. “What Accounts for Rib Fractures in Older Adults?” Journal of Osteoporosis. 2011. Article ID 457591. (2011). Web. April 29, 2016. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jos/2011/457591/
2 Sibold, J.S. and Berg, K.M. “Mood enhancement persists for up to 12 hours following aerobic exercise: a pilot study.” Percept Mot Skills. 111. 2. (2010): 333-42. Web. April 29, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21162437