You probably know someone who’s fallen and broken a hip. But what you may not know is that it’s not just elders who fall.
The risk for breaking a hip doubles every five years after you turn fifty.
And 30% of people who fall and break a hip develop complications and die within a year.1
The good news is you can use the power of your muscles to avoid falling and breaking your hip, starting today. The fact is falling down doesn’t have to be a part of aging. You just have to decide that you’re not going to take it lying down.
It involves strengthening your quadriceps muscles.
You see, the signals to your muscles start to slow down as you get older, making it harder for your muscles to respond.
Researchers looked at how muscles respond when the brain cells that activate them – called neurons – send out electrical signals for the muscles to move.
They found that as you age, not only do muscles respond more slowly, but neurons fire less frequently.
You might think this confirms the conventional wisdom – that “slowing down” is an inevitable consequence of aging.
But it’s not true.
Studies show that quadriceps muscle strength is the number one predictor of how active, healthy and mobile you’ll stay as you get older.2
Studies also show that if you strengthen your quad muscles, it can significantly improve both neuron and muscle response.3
That means you can turn back the clock on what you were told was a feature of aging, and stay mobile and healthy as you age.
And, if you think you’re too old to get these benefits, think again. Researchers at Tufts University’s Human Nutritional Research Center studied the effects of training for power on a group between the ages of 63 and 98. Most needed hearing aids or wheelchairs.
After just ten weeks, these “elders” saw an increase in muscle strength, stamina, and stability. Many were able to walk unaided by the end of the study.4
So here’s something you can do starting right now to boost the power in your legs and hips. It’s my favorite leg workout, and the only one I do every day. They’re Dr. Sears’ Modified Hindu Squats.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Extend your arms out in front of you, parallel to the ground with your hands open and palms facing down.
- Inhale briskly and pull your hands straight back towards you as if you’re rowing.
- As you pull back, turn the wrists up and make a fist.
- At the end of the inhalation, your elbows should be behind you with both hands in a fist, palm side up.
- From this position, exhale, bend your knees and squat.
- Let your arms fall to your thighs.
- Continue exhaling and let your arms swing up as you stand back up to the starting position
Repeat at the pace of one repetition every four seconds. Once you are comfortable with the form, you can increase your speed to one squat per second. Repeat until you feel winded. Rest, recover and do two more sets.
It’s important to keep in mind that increasing your power is what makes the difference. With more strength, you’ll do a lot more for yourself than avoid injury. You’ll also boost your immune system, elevate your mood, increase your stamina, burn more fat, and even prevent chronic pain.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Thorell K, Ranstad K, Midlöv P, Borgquist L, Halling A. “Is use of fall risk-increasing drugs in an elderly population associated with an increased risk of hip fracture, after adjustment for multimorbidity level: a cohort study.” BMC Geriatr. 2014;14(1):131.
2. Swallow, Elisabeth B., et al, “Quadriceps strength predicts mortality in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” Thorax 2007;62:115-120
3. Cristopher A. Knight and Gary Kamen, “Modulation of motor unit firing rates during a complex sinusoidal force task in young and older adults,” Journal of Applied Physiology, 102(2007): 122-129.
4. Klatz R., Hormones of Youth, American Academy of Anti-Aging, Chicago 1999 p. 47–48.