No Bones About It! Intentional Bone Building Exercises Are Key to a Healthy Body
“Ok everybody, it’s time for bone-builders!” The women in water class prepare, taking large breaths of air through their nostrils and shimmying their shoulders to activate a force inside of them that will carry them through the plyometric workout to come. The countdown begins, 2-3-4 and the water becomes frothy, wavelets smack the side of the pool sometimes heaving water onto the deck. “C’mon, make impact with the bottom of the pool!” I smack my webbed hands together to emphasize the foot strike.
Bone-building exercises are an important part of our water aerobics classes; some are even doctors’ orders for class participants. Regardless of prescription, however, weight-bearing exercises are necessary for healthy bones, and in an aquatic environment, I go the extra mile to ensure my students are well rounded in meeting their wellness goals.The term bone-builders was first introduced to me by Sarasota-based Nia instructor, Kelly Atkins. She really brought the idea of intentional time and/or specific workouts to acknowledge bone-building activities to my attention when I took one of her classes in 2012. Atkins develops entire classes around bone building through weight bearing exercises including dance, tai chi, and moving in new and creative ways that change your body’s direction. Weight-bearing does not refer to lifting weights, rather it is loading the bones with our own body weight. For example, walking offers much more weight bearing than does bicycling. In water aerobics, there is virtually no weight-bearing; therefore, making impact during shallow water activities is necessary to make the workout meet bone-building criteria. Keeping your bones healthy, meaning dense and strong, requires you to: move your body in new ways, do weight-bearing exercises, and get up onto your feet, engaging in activities that put your body weight onto your legs and feet; be aware of your gait (i.e. how you walk), and add balancing exercises to prevent bone fractures. To get an idea of powerful osteogenic exercises, have a look at Katy Santiago’s video, “Restorative Exercise for Strong Bones”. Katy Santiago, M.S. is a leading innovator and advocate for bone-building and offers easy to follow exercises to keep your skeletal system in top performance. In Vitality We Trust, Heidi Lauckhardt-Rhoades @aTweetFit