How to maintain bone health
By Echelle, Pure Matters
It’s imperative that we maintain bone health as it’s crucial for our general health and very important in preventing osteoporosis in our ‘golden’ and later stages in life.
Besides taking calcium supplements and ensuring that we eat those leafy greens, doing strength training to maintain bone health and density is also a very important part of the mix.
If you’re not a gym goer, it’s not impossible for you to take an active role in maintaining your strength training at home. This post is for you. The exercises below require very limited equipment.
If you have a yoga mat and a pair of light dumbbells, then you’re ready to go! The exercises below target all the major muscle groups in your body while also engaging smaller muscles–therefore making those bones work.
BACK, ABDOMINALS, HIPS, GLUTES (Bird-dog)
- Start in a hands-and-knees position on a yoga mat positioning your knees underneath your hips and the crease of your wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Your fingers should be pointing forward. Keep your eyes looking at the floor and your head in neutral position.
- Engage your core and abdominal muscles. Imagine you are tightening a corset around your waistline. Keep your spine in a neutral position; avoid any excessive sagging or arching. Pull the shoulder blades toward your hips.
- Your goal is to move the opposite arm and leg simultaneously. Begin by slowly lengthening the left leg until it is long and strong. Lift the leg off the floor until it is at or near parallel to the floor. The leg should not be lifted above hip height.
- Slowly raise and straighten right arm. Attempt to raise the arm until it is at, or near parallel, to the floor. Do not allow the shoulders to tilt upward. Keep both shoulders parallel to the floor. Your head should remain aligned with the spine throughout the movement.
- Gently lower yourself back to your starting position, maintaining balance and stability in the shoulders, pelvis, and torso.
- Repeat 10 times, then switch to opposite side and repeat 10 times.
BACK, ABDOMINALS, SHOULDERS (Front Plank)
- Begin by lying on your stomach on a yoga mat or floor with your elbows close to your sides and directly under your shoulders; palms down and fingers facing forward. Engage your abdominal (core) muscles. It should feel like you are tightening a corset around your ribs, waist, and lower torso. Contract your thigh muscles to straighten your legs strongly and flex your ankles (tucking your toes towards your shins.)
- Slowly, lift your torso and thighs off the floor or mat. Keep your torso and legs rigid. Do not allow any sagging in your ribcage or low back. Avoid hiking your hips into the air (which would make your body look like a tent) or bending the knees. Keep the shoulders away from the ears (no shrugging.) The shoulders should be directly over your elbows with your palms facing down through the entire exercise. Your eyes are looking towards the floor, and your neck neutral. Continue to breathe, keeping the abdominals strong while holding this position. Try holding this position for 5 seconds or more. As your strength increases, you can hold this up to one or two minutes.
- To release the pose, keep the torso and legs stiff as you slowly and gently lower your body back towards the mat.
LEGS, THIGHS, BACK, BUTT (Dumbbell Front Squat)
- Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, turned slightly outward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides, with your palms facing inward. Pull your shoulder blades down and back.
- Engage your core muscles and curl the dumbbells to a position where they rest on the front of your shoulders. Keep your chest up and open. Your eyes are straight forward and your head and neck in neutral position.
- Bend your hips and knees simultaneously. As your hips lower, the knees will bend and will start to shift forward slowly. Try to prevent your knees from traveling too far forward past the toes. Keep your core engaged and try to keep your back flat.
- Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not let your heels lift off the floor, or your torso round.
- Make sure that your feet do not move as your perform this exercise.
- Maintaining the position of your back, chest and head and your core engaged, exhale and return to the start position. Keep your heels firm on the floor.
- Repeat 10-12 times.
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