This weekend I’m thrilled to share with you a resistance exercise that tones and builds muscle while improving coordination, both of which are important for preventing falls.
The Upper/Lower Body Bone Builder And Coordination Enhancer targets the hips, thighs, glutei, shoulders, and triceps, so it covers a lot of ground.
And you'll also discover how this exercise is based on a fascinating, scientifically proven yet little-known aspect of balance enhancement.
A study from Glasgow Caledonian University found that combining activities is the key to improving balance with exercise. “…multiple exercise types appear to have the greatest impact on indirect measures of balance,”1 notes the study in its conclusion.
As Savers know, activities like walking and jogging are weight-bearing exercises with excellent benefits, but when it comes to balance enhancement specifically, multi-tasking exercises are more effective.
For example, walking while carrying something (such as weights or cans of soup) was found to be more effective at improving balance in older individuals than simply walking alone. Dancing is another fun and coordination-boosting activity that is even more beneficial by carrying or holding something while you do it.
The effectiveness of combining activities seems to lie in both cognitive enhancement and muscle tone. Balance requires the engagement of your whole body, so when you use a variety of muscle groups, as in this weekend’s exercise, it brings the whole body into play.
We’ll look at the cognitive aspect in more detail later, but first, I want to show you the exercise. It’s a lot of fun, and works both your upper and lower body.
You will need 2 small weights to perform the Upper/Lower Body Bone Builder And Coordination Enhancer. Cans of soup work fine, and as you get more comfortable and stronger, you can use larger weights if you like.
- To begin, stand with your feet together and the weights up near your shoulders. Your palms should be facing outward.
- Step to the right with your right foot, and come down into a squat.
- Stand up again and bring your left foot back in so your feet are together again. At the same time as you bring your left foot in, raise the weights above your head.
- Step out to the right again, bringing the weights back down to shoulder level as you go into the squat.
- Once again, stand up and bring your left foot in while raising the weights over your head.
- Repeat this entire exercise 10 times or however many times you are comfortable with. Basically, this move requires you to “walk” sideways across the room. If your room is too small to allow for that many reps, you can turn and continue back across the room the other way, still using your right foot.
- Switch sides (starting with the left foot) and repeat another 10 times.
- When going into the squat, keep your weight in your heels and imagine you’re sitting back into a chair. Also, when you bend down, make sure your knees are aligned with your toes.
- Go slowly at first so you keep your balance. You can try it without weights at first, just to get used to the moves.
Exercise Benefits Your Bones, Your Muscles And Your Brain
All exercise has a beneficial effect on mood and the brain, but the coordination involved in carrying objects while simultaneously moving specifically enhances those areas of the brain involved in balance.
According to a recent study, coordination exercises involve more brain activity than plain exercise. Researchers conducted two experiments: in the first, participants watched two videos, one of coordination exercises and the other of control exercises. Then, participants engaged in both the coordination exercises and the control exercises. Brain activity was measured during all of these activities, and researchers concluded that “coordination exercises contribute to the improvement of motor activities and also cognitive control.”2
This study further pointed out the importance of engaging in exercise that involves the neuromuscular system, so fitness is approached from as many angles as possible. In addition, this multi-tasking approach keeps your muscles guessing, which is vital to building muscle and improving bone density.
Your cerebellum is the area of your brain responsible for voluntary movement, and it’s also the center for higher-order thinking. Voluntary movement, decision-making, memory, language, emotion, and many other facets of human cognition and motion are interconnected.2 No wonder exercise benefits so many areas of your health!
Densercise Engages Brain And Body
In the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, you’ll find a wide variety of challenging, simple, effective moves that – in addition to building bone density – also address balance and coordination. Because DenserciseTM has a month’s worth of exercises, you will give key muscle groups a chance to rest and build (and your bones a chance to strengthen) while you work other areas.
Densercise™ makes the perfect holiday gift for yourself and loved ones. Imagine the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re preventing falls and fractures with exercises that are specifically designed to meet these goals, plus much more.
So if you haven’t yet, treat yourself and your family to a stronger, more coordinated you this season!
Have a great weekend!
1 Howe, TE, et al. “Exercise for improving balance in older people.” Cochrane Review. Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland. 2007. Web. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/joint-protection-program-for-the-lower-limb/abstract/21
2 Mochizuki, Akito A. and Kirino, Eiji. “Effects of Coordination Exercises on Brain Activation: A Functional MRI Study.” International Journal of Sport and Health Science. Vol. 6 (2008) pp 98-104. PDF. http://thepowerplatform.com/Support/Studies/Coordination%20Exercises%20on%20Brain%20Activation.pdf