When we think of building bones we think calcium. Joints thrive with compression and decompression, bathing the joint surfaces with synovial fluid. You can help strengthen bones when your direct the appropriate amount of force through the bones, both along the axis/grain of the bone growth as well as at a variety of angles to the axis of the bones. In this movement sequence, focus first on your foot and ankle joints in preparation for standing and walking. Then concentrate on your hip joints, pelvis, and lower spine. Progress up your spine to the ribs, shoulders, arms, and neck. Practice all the movements by sitting first, then standing. Start sitting to lubricate your joints, then advance to standing in order to stimulate your bones with full weight bearing.
- Move slowly and deliberately initially.
- Accelerate the tempo without sacrificing form.
- Move delicately and easily, coaxing comfort into the movement. Do not force the movement. Repetitions:
- Between 3 and 30.
- Start with just a few. As your form improves, you can increase your tempo and your repetitions.
FOR FEET AND ANKLES
This foot massage will prepare the feet and ankles to bear weight in standing and walking and bathe the joints of the foot with synovial fluid.
- Sit in a chair, crossing your right shin over your left thigh so that both hands can reach the right foot.
- Place fingers between toes to circle ankle in each direction.
- Hands move the foot in ankle dorsi flexion and plantar flexion. If you need to modify this exercise, sit on chair, bending your right knee and placing your right foot on top of a low stool so that hands can reach foot. Instead of inserting fingers between toes, hold the forefoot with the opposite hand.
FOR PELVIS AND LUMBAR SPINE
Improve mobility of the hip joint and pelvic area for walking, recreation, dancing and sex.
- Stand with your feet at shoulder width, knees bent.
- Rather than aiming your knees and toes straight ahead, rotate outward from the hip so that your right knee and foot aim slightly to the right and your left knee and foot aim slightly to the left.
- Imagine a colored light source on your tailbone, aiming straight down to the floor. Move your pelvis as if you could draw a circle with this light source on the ground. Draw seven circles in one direction, then reverse direction. Inhale as you draw the half circle behind you. Exhale as you draw the half circle in front of you.
- Stand as if you were preparing for the pelvic circles.
- Draw a figure eight (an infinity sign) oriented on an axis that runs through your pelvis from left to right. To start, make one lobe of the eight to your right, then pass through center and draw the second lobe to your left.
- Repeat three times.
- Reverse, drawing the left lobe first, then the right lobe. Tip: Activate your deep abdominals by drawing in and up above the pubic bone. This will help decompress your lower back as you focus the movement in your hip joints and pelvis. Alternative exercise: Practice the pelvic circles and figure eights seated on top of a large exercise ball that enables your knees to be just lower than your hip joints. Hold on to a wall or some steady furniture while you get your balance.
FOR THE SHOULDER GIRDLE AND ARMS
Stimulate the shoulder joint, the rib joints, and the vertebrae joints between the shoulder blades.
- Stand or sit at a counter so that your hands can rest palms-down on the counter, elbows bent, and shoulder blades resting on the ribs, down away from the ear lobes.
- Place a cloth under each palm so that your hands can glide smoothly over the counter
- Draw a figure eight with your right palm on the counter.
- Draw a figure eight with your left palm on the counter.
- With both your right and left hands, simultaneously draw figure eights on the counter.
- As you advance, increase the size of your figure eights. Allow your ribs to move with your arms.
- Stand facing a smooth wall, knees bent, feet at shoulder width.
- Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Draw a figure 8 with your right hand. Draw a figure eight with your left hand. Draw figure eights simultaneously with your right and left hands.
- As your comfort increases, increase the size of the figure eights. Include the movements of your ribs, your spine, and shoulder blades.
- Sit down or stand and bend your elbows.
- Hold your right elbow with your left hand and your left elbow with your right hand.
- Draw figure eights in front of your chest bone, towards the wall on your right, towards the wall on your left, up above you on the ceiling.
- Draw figure eights in the air with hands clasped and elbows straight.
- Draw figure eights in the air in front of your chest bone. 3. Then aim at the floor, then up where the ceiling meets the wall, then up at the ceiling.
- Follow the movement of your hands with your nose and your eyes. Tip: Imagine the ripples that are made in a still pond when a pebble drops into the water. The movement of the water spreads in concentric rings. So too does the movement of your hands include your wrists, elbows, shoulders, shoulder blades, ribs and spine.
FOR THE VERTEBRAE JOINTS
Address the shoulder joints, the rib joints, and the joints between the vertebrae associated with the ribs. Encourage spine extension for ease in sitting and standing upright.
- Stand facing the wall, elbows bent, and palms on the wall at shoulder height. Position yourself so that your bent elbows are closer to the wall than your torso. (Your bent elbows are in front of you.)
- Imagine a light source at the center of your chest bone.
- As you inhale, aim the light source at the center of your chest bone up the wall. Follow this by sliding your palms up the wall, and your gaze up the wall also.
- As you exhale, keep your hands where they are, draw your shoulders down. Draw your abdominals in to support your lower back.
- From the top of your reach, exhale and make an arc towards your right. Inhale, return to the center. Exhale, make an arc towards your left.
- Slide your palms along the wall. Continue to lead the movement with the imagined light source on your chest bone. Modification: To decrease the difficulty, stand further from the wall.
To progress: Stand closer to the wall and slide your hands up higher. Increase the arc that your arms make to each side.