One of the things I enjoy doing at the beginning of a new year or a new season is to set an intention for the days ahead. One year, I set myself to meditating regularly. Another year, I decided I would learn more about the ancient teachings of India’s science of life known as Ayurveda. This year, I am focusing on exercise — so, heads up, you’ll be hearing a lot from me about exercise in 2011!
To begin, here are a few simple bone-building exercises you can do at home during these cold winter months. After that I will reveal my own ambitious exercise goals and my plans for expanding the exercise content on my website.
Please remember, though, that if you’re unaccustomed to exercise, you should absolutely talk to your physician about it before starting, and consider working with a physical therapist or personal trainer, at least at first.
Anti-osteoporosis spine strengthener
A favorite spine strengthener is the back extension chest lift. This can be done as illustrated at right, or with your arms by your sides. An advanced version of this exercise uses a weighted backpack, as detailed in a previous blog. Do 10 repetitions a day, holding the pose each time for as long as you are comfortable. You’ll strengthen your spinal muscles and bone, and reduce spinal fracture risk.
Fracture-reducing hip exercises
Exercises that increase the ground force impact strengthen the hip bone. Heel drops, one-or two-legged hopping and jumping, jumping off a 4 to 6 inch tall box or step, and high-as-you-can-go power jumps are all great ways to stimulate leg and hip bone strength. For a short demonstration of these impact hip-builders, see the American Council on Exercise’s video.
Walking with weighted vest
For those who like to walk, you can add bone-building power to your everyday indoor and outdoor walking by wearing a weighted vest, which helps build spine and hip bones. You begin by loading the vest with just a pound or two, and gradually work up to 10% of your body weight. Scientific studies report that using a weighted vest is as good as or better than bone drugs or estrogen treatment (and without the side effects). I’ll be writing a lot more on these vests in the course of 2011.
Plans for 2011
As for my own personal exercise goals, well, they are rather ambitious and include Pilates class three times a week, seasonal skiing and golf, frequent dog walking with a weighted vest, whole body vibration three times a week, and, of course, the 100 hops most days. And my plans for web site additions? Well, when I am not exercising, my goal is to write on the potential of exercise to prevent and reverse osteoporosis. Also, there’s a new Better Bones exercise video in the works! So stay tuned, stay fit! (It’s not too late to make 2011 a year of exercise for yourself, too!)