Top 10 to optimize Bone Density
Bone density is of concern to women as they
reach mid-life because women have a higher rate of
osteoporosis and subsequent
fractures. Women are at greater risk because: we loose bone mass after
menopause, we start out with smaller bones, and we live longer. At about age 35, you have what is called Peak Bone
Mass--your bones are as dense and strong as they will be. Before that time, the
renewal phase was greater than the breakdown. Starting in the later thirties and
continuing into the forties and beyond, this ratio reverses, so that about 1% of
bone mass is lost each year.
Keeping a watch on
limiting alcohol, smoking and caffeine and indulging in
you can keep bones stronger, longer.
Below is a series of back, leg and arm exercises
to load your skeleton in ways that should optimize your BMD. There are also
balance exercises to help reduce your risk of falls. Between them these
exercises will reduce your risk of fracture.
Stand sideways to a chair, holding the
chair-back for support. Stand tall, with your feet slightly apart and your
weight distributed evenly between both feet. Relax your other arm by your
side. Check your pelvic tilt and lift up out of your hips.
Transfer your weight on to the leg nearest
to the chair. Slide your other foot forward, keeping your toes in contact with
the floor. Lift the extended leg about 5 cm off the floor.
Keeping both knees soft, swing the extended
leg gently backward in a controlled sweeping motion, keeping it close to your
Keep both hips facing forward as you swing
your leg forward. Do not allow your back to arch. Repeat 6 times. Turn and
repeat on the other leg.
TANDEM STAND & WALKS
1. Stand sideways to a wall and place one hand on
the wall for support. Relax your other arm by your side. Stand tall, check your
pelvic tilt and tighten your abdominals.
2. Place the foot nearest the
wall directly in front of the other so your feet from a straight line. Hold for
10 seconds. Repeat with your other foot in front. Turn to face the other
direction and repeat steps 1 and 2.
Use a wall for support. Place one foot directly
in front of the other so your feet form a straight line. Develop this movement
into continuous walking. Take 10 steps, turn slowly and repeat in the other
Stand sideways to a wall, and place one hand
on the wall for support. Relax your other arm by your side. Stand tall and
check your pelvic tilt.
Lift your heels and transfer your body
weight on to the balls of your feet.
Using the wall as support, walk 10 steps on
your toes. Then bring both feet together by stepping in with your back foot.
Lower your heels to the ground and turn around. Rise on your toes and walk 10
steps in the other direction. Turn and repeat.
Lie face-down on the floor, your legs
together, your arms by your side and your palms on the floor. Check your
Lengthen your spine and lift your shoulders,
back and head off the floor. Moving slowly and with control, count to 5 to
lower. Rest for 5 before repeating. Lift your palms just off the floor for an
FLYING BACK LIFT
Lie face-down with your forehead on your
folded hands. Check your pelvic tilt and tighten your abdominals.
Slide one palm forward along the ground.
Lengthen your opposite leg along the floor away from your body.
Tighten you buttock muscles on this side,
then lift your leg about 5 cm off the floor. Maintain this position as you
lengthen and lift your outstretched arm about 3 cm. Count to 5 to lift, hold
and count to 5 to lower. Rest, then repeat on the other side.
Lie face-down with your legs together and
your forehead on your folded hands. Check your pelvic tilt and tighten your
Lengthen one leg away from you along the
floor, tighten your buttock muscles on this side and, keeping both hips
pressed into the floor, lift your leg about 3 cm. Lengthen and left another 3
cm upward, then lower. Count to 3 to lift, hold, count to 3 to lower. Rest,
then repeat on the other side.
SIDE LEG LIFT
Lie sideways with your knees and hips at
right angles, with weight around your ankles. Rest your head on your lower arm
or a cushion for comfort. Place your other hand on the mat, opposite your
chest. Check your pelvic tilt and tighten your abdominals.
Taking care to keep your knee and foot
facing forward and slightly down, raise your top leg about 10 cm. Count to 3
to lift, hold, count to 3 to lower. Rest, then repeat. Roll over on to your
other side and repeat with your other leg.
Sit tall facing a partner, with your legs
outside her legs. Both of your must position your knees directly over your
pelvic tilt and tighten your abdominals.
Slowly press your legs inwards, as your
partner presses outwards. Count to 3 as you press, hold, count to 3 to
release. Rest, then repeat.
Rest, then change positions and repeat.
Sit toward and front of the chair with your
feet hip-width apart and your knees over knees over your ankles. Hold a
dumb-bell in an underhand grip, with your wrist horizontal and in line with
your elbow. Support your forearm with your other hand, resting it on your
thigh. lean forward slightly.
Count to 3 to curl the dumb-bell upward,
moving only your wrist hold.
Count to 3 to lower the weight until your
wrist is fully extended downward, and return it the start position. Rest, then
repeat. Repeat with your other arm.
Turn your forearm over and repeat the
exercise using an overhand grip.
Sit with your feet and legs hip-width apart.
Hold the dumb-bells in a 'thumb under' grip with your elbows bent and your
hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Your palms should face forward
with your knuckles up toward the ceiling. Check your pelvic tilt and tighten
Press the dumb-bells directly up until your
arms are as straight as possible but not locked. Count to 3 as you left, hold,
count to 3 as you lower to the start position. Rest, then repeat.
Bones need a challenge to make them strong.
Weight-bearing exercises give them that challenge by causing your bones and
muscles to work against gravity. In activities like
jogging, jumping, tennis or
soccer, your feet and legs absorb the impact of your weight against the force of
gravity. This stimulates the bones in your hips and spine, and helps to build
density and strength in the areas that are most vulnerable to the loss of bone
mass. Experts recommend moderate exercise
three to four times a week to prevent and manage osteoporosis.