|We all have our postural faults, especially if we lose focus. Mine is rib flaring, that tendency to jut the bottom ribs forward in a faulty attempt to open the chest or lengthen the body. This often results in excess back tension and pain.
With mindfulness and an awareness of this tendency, I can better control this common error and so can you!
The secret is, no surprise, “connection”. I like to use the image of 2 vertical bungee cords connecting my front bottom ribs with my pelvis. Watch the video to test if you’re a rib flarer and learn 2 exercises to help fix it.
Falls are a concern for many of us, particularly for my readers with bone density concerns and those living in cold climates with slippery conditions. With 2 million preventable fractures occurring every year, don’t be a statistic. Pick up some quick and easy helpful hints here!
Studies show that just 5 minutes of daily balance training will significantly reduce your risk of falls. Practice this unique exercise designed by Teresa Maldonado Marchok, licensed physical therapist and certified Pilates instructor. Improve your bones, balance, strength and mental acuity!
Upper back-or Thoracic rotation is necessary for life activities like twisting to back up your car, golf, tennis… This video demonstrates a rotation exercise to improve your mobility in this area and avoid taking up the slack in your neck or low back.
Cultivate your strength and balance in under 3 minutes with this new fun and challenging standing kitchen counter series. Try it first without the resistance band, and when comfortable, add the resistance loop for greater challenge. Safe for those with back issues and osteoporosis. If you don’t have a loop, tie a resistance band around your thighs.
You wouldn’t believe how many times I hear – I just don’t have time to get to a fitness class as often as I want to. Here’s a quick workout that you can do in your kitchen. It’s a short, time efficient standing workout you can do in your kitchen between latte’s! This workout targets hip and leg strength, core, flexibility and balance – great for when you’re tight on time and want a quick fix! Let me know how you like it!
What do we know for sure?
Resistance exercise stimulates not only muscle but bone formation.
When you do resistance training that’s more intense than what your muscles come to expect (like lifting more than your purse), the tendons that attach muscle to bone, pull on your bones stimulating the bones to respond. Depending on your age and the workouts, “it can either increase or maintain bone mass density” according to Steven Hawkins, PhD, professor of exercise science at California Lutheran University.
Which is Better-Weights or Bands?
Resistance training in all forms is good for our bones and in one Connecticut study, it didn’t seem to matter whether you used weights or bands, they all produced positive results for bone in general. Evidence by a recent a study in Taiwan of women over 60 y/o doing resistance band training for 40 min 3x/wk for 12 weeks demonstrated that elastic resistance band exercise resulted in increased bone mineral density.
Lots of Options
There are many options out there to increase strength such as: machines at the gym, dumbbells, your own body weight and resistance bands. In my BoneSmart Pilates® Osteoporosis and Aging Strong DVD’s, I chose to use resistance bands versus weights to build muscle and bone strength for a simple reason. Bands are lightweight and portable (so you can travel with them) and they’re inexpensive compared to gym equipment.
What is weight bearing exercise?
Weight bearing exercise is exercise in which you are supporting your own body weight through your feet and legs or hands and arms. Weight bearing exercise is proven to be essential for maintaining and building bone. When we combine standing weight bearing exercise with resistance band training, we challenge our balance, agility and coordination-key components for preventing falls. Falling is a concern for us as we age, including those of us with osteopenia or osteoporosis. Remember that 1 of 2 women over 50 will have an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime (NOF) and most of those fractures result from falls.
It’s important to note that after we hit 30, our biological balance of bone building and bone breakdown tips towards bone loss. If you’re sedentary and not getting adequate weight bearing and resistance exercise, your bones will pay. Add to that the arrival of menopause, where a drop in estrogen causes a big drop in bone density and you have a recipe of swiss cheese for bones.
The good news is, studies show during post menopause that with just 2 resistance workouts per week, we can slow down or even halt our bone loss. As we age we need to be vigilant about our overall health in general and our bone health in particular.
My BoneSmart Pilates Aging Strong series targets areas of decline as we age – including hip and leg strength, spine strength, bone strength and balance. The workouts in all my DVD’s capitalize on resistance to build muscle and bone strength. With my researched approach as a physical therapist, “Movement becomes your Medicine”. The workouts are designed to be safe for people with osteoporosis, herniated discs, chronic pain or general back and joint issues.
The BoneSmart Pilates® Aging Strong Enhanced Prop Bundle that accompanies my Aging Strong Pilates DVD’s includes among other things:
- 3 resistance bands of varied strength, for increasing upper and lower body strength (and flexibility) These 5 foot long resistance bands are low-protein and powder-free, reducing skin irritation and making them ideal for sensitive users.
- 2 resistance ankle loops of light and stronger resistance. These smaller cousins of the long bands pack quite a workout for your hips and legs and because you’re not tying a long band around your ankles, there’s no risk of tripping on a loose end that could come undone.
To summarize, Bands do Build Bone. I still include hand weights and Pilates machines like the Reformer and Cadillac for my studio clients for interest and variety but there’s nothing like putting your bands and loops in a zip lock bag, slipping that into your purse and having your workout with you wherever you go!
- Make your goals specific. People proclaim, “I’m finally going to get in shape.” But what does that actually mean?
- Measure progress. “If you can measure it, you can change it” is a fundamental principal of psychology.
- Be patient. Progress is seldom linear. Some people will see rapid gains only to hit resistance later in their efforts.
- Share your goals with friends and family. Social support is critical. Yes, it takes some personal courage and vulnerability to share something that you might actually fail at, but to dramatically increase your odds of success you’ll want support from those around you.
- Schedule it. Have you ever said you can’t “find the time” to do something. Nobody finds time, we choose time. We all choose to spend our time the way we do—whether that’s eating junk food or going to a spin class. Make your new goals a priority and actually schedule them into your calendar.
- Something is better than nothing. Are you guilty of “all or nothing” thinking?
- Get up, when you slip up. Legendary coach Vince Lombardi said, “It isn’t whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” Resiliency is paramount. Don’t turn temporary failures into total meltdowns or excuses for giving up.
Rozz came to me with very kyphotic posture and a desire to not follow in her mother’s mold. Her determination has paid off. Watch her 30 second clip. She’s made dramatic improvements with strength and postural mindfulness. Way to go Rozz!
There is nothing like the stretch-eze® to give you feedback while you do your Pilates work to build bone and reverse #osteoporosis.
This individual nylon lycra stretch band developed by dance/movement therapist Kimberly Dye, is used for resistance and stretch exercises. Wrap it around your shoulders and put in your feet. Feel snug, supported, and able to press into the resistance to create a cleaner access to the intrinsic core muscles with no build up of tension.
The benefits realized from using the Stretch-eze ® resistance band are:
- supported and pain free exercise
- increased ligament strength at the joints
- increased overall body coordination
This video explores the opposite arm leg reach with the stretch-eze® to enhance connection in your body and provide sensory feedback. You can purchase a stretch-eze® on my website!