From weeding to dusting to extra minutes waiting for the next task at work, you can make bone-building part of many of your daily routines.
The key here is mindfulness. That is, put your attention on what you are doing, even if it’s just an everyday chore, and choose to do it consciously in a way that stimulates bone. For example, adding both more impact to your step and more stretch to your upper body movements stimulate new bone growth. A third focus might be put on balance to reduce your risk of falls and fractures.
I think you’ll be surprised at how many opportunities to build bone you can find in a day. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
In the yard
• I love to work in my yard and garden, and if you drive by my house, you can see me taking breaks to hop 20 times or stomping down with vigor on mole hills and uneven patches.
• Squatting is a great exercise, so once in a while I do a full squat when picking up sticks and debris.
• Taking a moment to notice your balance is very revealing. How does it feel to slowly shift all of your weight to one leg and then to the other? Bearing the full body’s weight in one leg is a strength training exercise in itself.
• As you dust each room, focus on stretching as far as it feels comfortable — and then try extending a bit more. Again, you’ll be moving the connective tissues in your body, making tendons tug on bone and sending the message to build bone.
• If you stand on one leg as you vacuum, you’ll be doubling the weight on your leg — creating twice the impact on your bone and twice the workout on the muscles.
• Wear a weighted vest to take best bone-building advantage of the time you spend housekeeping…do less and accomplish more!
• I know women who schedule “walking meetings” with their coworkers. This works especially well for brainstorming meetings, when getting away from a desk sparks extra creativity. A good brisk walk or short stomping march at lunchtime thrills bone.
• One chair exercise is to tuck your tummy in and push your spine against the back of the chair, stretching your arms out to your side at the same time.
• While waiting for a phone call to go through or a meeting to start, I often stand and do “power” heel drops. Lift up on your toes and then drop your heels down as hard as you can.
What are your ideas for adding bone-supporting physical activities to your day? Even three 35-minute sessions a week can substantially reduce your risk of osteoporosis and needless fracture.