by Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
There are two simple home exercises that research has shown to be the best at preventing osteopenia and osteoporosis - one upper body exercise (to target the shoulder joint and it's involved bones) and one lower body exercise (to target the hip joint and it's involved bones).
Please consult a physician before beginning any exercise protocol.
1. To prevent breakdown of the shoulder joint: Incline Push Ups
How: Bring your feet about hip-distance apart at about 3-4 feet from the wall or counter. Lean forward to bring your hands to the wall or counter at a distance slightly wider than shoulder distance apart while keeping your heels on the floor, if possible. Take a breath in, as you exhale slowly lower yourself down to the wall and slowly back up.
How many: Do 10 repetitions at a time; repeat for 1-3 sets 3-7 times per week.
To increase intensity: As these become easier, move your feet farther from the wall to increase your incline. Also try these on a lower counter or on the floor to maximize the angle against gravity.
Tip from Dr. C: Keep your bottom down so your body stays in a straight line.
2. To prevent breakdown of hip joint: Squats
How: With feet a bit wider than hip distance apart, inhale and slowly lower yourself down to a squat position. As you exhale, slowly raise yourself back up to a standing position. Keep your knees tracking directly above and behind your toes at all times. Also keep chest and head up and squeeze glut muscles. How many: Do 12 repetitions at a time; repeat for 1-3 sets for 3-4 times per week.
To increase intensity: As these become easier, try moving your arms to different positions - lift them over your head, out in front of you, out to the side, hold a small weight, etc. As long as you keep your back straight and strong, these arm positions will all increase the intensity of the exercise and enhance the benefits of the exercise.
Tip from Dr. C: If balance is an issue, try doing these in front of a chair.
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