Hi, Chris Wood here. I find it fascinating how sometimes the tiniest lifestyle changes can have the biggest health benefits. One such tiny change is performing the simple but effective exercise that my colleague Patrick Cox is describing in his article today. I know I’m going to start doing it today. What about you?
Editor, A Rich Life
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Do Your Heel Drops to Avoid Death by Falling
By Patrick Cox, Chief Science Officer
When epidemiologists make top 10 lists of the most common causes of death, the most surprising risk is probably accidental falls. And the statistics actually underestimate the danger.
Every year, about 3 million older people in the US receive emergency treatment for falls. However, the mortality lists only count the roughly 25,000 people who die as a direct result of falling—not the 800,000 Americans who survive a fall but are hospitalized.
For example, 300,000 people survive hip fractures but are hospitalized. More than one in five over the age of 60 will die within a year.
This is because when people get bedridden, it leads to muscular and metabolic deterioration. This can create other medical conditions called comorbidities, which are permanently increased for most patients.
Bottom line: You don’t want to be injured in a fall.
I’ve previously written about exercising your sense of balance (equilibrioception) to help avoid falls. An equally important strategy is to increase the strength of your bones so that they don’t break if you do fall.
Taking vitamin D and including calcium-rich foods in your diet are both important for bone density. Exercise, including resistance training, also helps.
Among the specific exercises designed to increase the density and strength of your bones, my favorite is heel drops. I learned about them from Dr. Mike Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and our chief medical officer here at Health and Wealth Research.
- This is a really simple exercise. Take your shoes off, rise high up on your toes, and relax to drop hard onto your heels.
You can hear the thud and feel the shock spread through your body, delivering the signals to your skeleton that it needs to get stronger.
An even better version of the exercise is to do it on just one foot at a time, alternating feet. This puts the weight of your dropping body onto only one foot, producing ever greater force.
If you do single-foot heel drops, do them where you can hold on to something if you lose your balance. But try to do them without holding on to anything, which is good for your bones and your balance. Both will improve quickly.
One reason why I like heel drops is that you can perform them anywhere, anytime, without working up too much of a sweat. They’re a great way to moderately elevate your metabolism if you’ve been sitting too long, which is more than one hour.
I suggest doing a few minutes of heel drops whenever you go to the bathroom or once an hour, whichever comes first. I typically shoot for about fifteen minutes of heel drops a day.
In the near future, protein replacement therapies will be available to replace the KLK1 and somatocrinin (Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone) that keep bones and other organs strong when we are young. This will be part of the coming anti-aging revolution.
In the meantime, do your heel drops.