by Dr. Corey
Hey everyone, it’s Dr. Corey! In this month's newsletter I wanted to talk about ways we can keep our bones strong. With the unpredictability of what’s to come with COVID-19 and not knowing when gyms will open back up, I wanted to give everyone some weight bearing exercises to do. Weight bearing means we are only using our own body for an exercise, no added weights. Weight bearing exercises are the most important exercises we can do to help support strong bones. The reason why is the more stress we put on bone by being active causes them to become more dense so that they can support our body through rigorous exercise. We reach our peak of bone density anywhere between 25-30 years old. When we hit 40 years old, this is typically where we start to see a decrease in bone density. We can slow that process down by staying active. When I talk about weight bearing exercises I split them into several different categories, two of the most common are called low impact and high impact. Examples of low impact weight bearing exercises include walking, riding a bike, swimming and elliptical training machines. Examples of high impact weight bearing exercises include jogging, dancing, stair climbing, jump rope, hiking, tennis, and yard work. Here are some other examples of weight bearing exercises:
Sit to Stand: Think about it, do you put your hands on your legs to push yourself up? Do you put your arms to the side? These could be signs of glute and leg muscle weaknesses. Scoot/walk your hips up to the edge of the chair, then bring your toes back underneath your knees. Lean forward a little to bring your nose over your toes and push up with your legs to a standing position. To sit, bend a little at the knees to push hips back towards the chair and lower the body to a seated position. Do 3 sets of 5 repetitions each.
Standing Leg Curl: With two hands on a chair in front of you, bend your lower leg up as if you were trying to touch heel to butt, then relax and let it back down. Do 3 sets of 8 repetitions on each side.
Seated Knee Extension: Extend the lower leg till it is straight, then relax and let it back down. Do 3 sets of 8 repetitions on each side.
Standing and Lying Lateral Leg Raise: Start with your hands out in front of you or resting on your hips. Stand upright with your toes facing forward. As you lift your right leg up off the floor with the foot flexed towards your shin, inhale and shift the weight into your left foot. As you exhale, bring the leg back down to meet the left. Repeat 10-12 times, then switch to the other side.
Lie down on your right side on a mat or the floor. Your body should be in a straight line with your legs extended and feet stacked on top of each other. Place your arm straight on the floor under your head or bend your elbow and cradle your head for support. Place your left hand out front for extra support or let it rest on your leg or hip. As you exhale, gently raise your left leg off the lower leg. Stop raising your leg when you feel the muscles flex in your lower back or obliques. Inhale and lower the leg back down to meet the right leg. Stack your feet again.
Repeat 10-12 times, then switch to the other side.
Overhead Press: You can do this exercise with or without weight (for the sake of showing proper form I will show you what it looks like with weight.) With the weight rested on the upper part of your chest and your forearms perpendicular with the floor, push straight up and lock your elbow out. Then relax back to starting position. Do 4 sets of 10 repetitions.
Bicep Curls: This is an exercise that can be done with no weight to small weight. They can also be done with whatever you can hold in your hand (soup cans may work well). Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet as wide apart as your hips. Let your arms hang down at your sides with your palms forward. Pull your abdominals in, stand tall, and keep your knees slightly bent. Curl both arms upward until they're in front of your shoulders. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down. Do 4 sets of 10 repetitions.
Standing Calf Raises: Stand on the edge of a step. Stand tall with your abdominals pulled in, the balls of your feet firmly planted on the step, and your heels hanging over the edge. Raise your heels a few inches above the edge of the step so that you’re on your tiptoes. Hold the position for a moment, and then lower your heels below the platform, feeling a stretch in your calf muscles. Do 4 sets of 12 repetitions.