Total Body Micro Workout to Strengthen Bones Before Bedtime

Published: January 24, 2022
Updated: June 1, 2022

No workout is too short. You read that right. 

Micro workouts, aka “mini workouts” or “exercise snacks,” are short, do-anywhere routines or exercises that you can spread throughout the day to build muscular and bone strength, improve mobility and balance, and even rev your metabolism.

These short efforts help break up periods of prolonged inactivity and the extensive sitting that is a risk factor for all-cause mortality1. As evening falls, we like to curl up on the couch to watch our favorite shows or lean back in the recliner to read the newspaper or a novel. We tend to tire as the sun dips below the horizon, a natural circadian response. 

But before you settle in for the night, you can squeeze in one more bout of movement to set you up for a peaceful slumber. This total body micro workout provides five bone-strengthening exercises that work your entire body — upper body, legs, core, and even your balance.

5 Bone-Strengthening Exercises to Wind Down Before Bed

While you wait for your veggies to steam or your roast to, well, roast, try these five total body bone-strengthening exercise snacks. They’re excellent stress relievers, so you’ll find it a bit easier to drift off to la-la land at night after doing these moves.

Counter Push-ups

Remember your mom saying, “No snacks before dinner, you’ll spoil your appetite”? Obviously, she never heard of exercise snacks. 

The first move is so easy peasy you can do it while steaming your veggies for dinner.

Bone Health Benefits: 

  1. This move is great for boosting core, spinal, and pelvic strength. It also improves balance and posture. 
  2. Counter push-ups help stimulate your arm bones and improve the muscles needed to push you up from the ground or push a heavy door open.
Step-by-Step Instructions:
  • Stand facing the kitchen counter.
  • Place your hands on the edge of the counter just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your arms are almost straight with a slight bend in the elbows so you don’t lock out the joints. Step your feet back far enough so that your torso and legs can remain in a straight line as you bend your elbows. 
  • Bend your elbows to slowly lower your chest towards the edge of the counter while inhaling. Keep your body straight and rigid throughout the movement.
  • Push your body away from the counter until your elbows are extended, but not locked. Exhale as you push up.
  • Keep going with slow, steady repetitions.

Single-Leg March

While you’re still at the kitchen counter, take a moment and embrace your inner drum major with some high-stepping, single-leg marches. 

Bone Health Benefits: 

The single-leg march improves balance, strengthens hips, and improves range of motion in the leg.

Step-by-Step Instructions:
  • Stand beside the kitchen counter; your hand can rest on the counter to help you balance.
  • Elongate your spine and distribute your weight evenly across both feet. Allow your toes to spread.
  • Keeping your torso upright, lift your knee towards your chest, without lifting it above your waist.
  • Hold for a 2-second count and then lower your leg down again until your toe touches the ground.
  • Repeat 10–15 times on each side.

Another bone-strengthening exercise that improves balance is the modified tree pose. Sneak it into your routine while brushing your teeth before bed. You can use the counter near the sink to support you, if needed.

Modified Tree Pose (aka Balancing on One Leg)

Bone Health Benefits: 

Balancing on one leg strengthens the hips and legs. Plus, it improves balance, posture, and focus.

Step-by-Step Instructions:
  • Start by standing upright on both feet, spread your toes, and distribute your weight evenly across both feet.
  • Establish core awareness: pelvic floor is gently lifted, navel is gently pulling towards your spine.
  • Elongate your spine as the crown of your head lifts toward the ceiling, broaden through the chest and let your shoulders relax down.
  • Using a wall or counter to support your balance if needed, pick up your left foot and place its sole on the inside edge of your right leg (at the ankle, calf, or thigh — avoid the knee). Push the left foot and right inner leg against each other for stability. Look straight ahead and focus on one spot to help you balance. 
  • Try to hold the pose for at least 30 seconds. 
  • Repeat on the other side.

You know the problem with some PJs? They’re so comfy all you want to do is go to bed as soon as you slip them on. But resist the temptation. Before you jump into bed, give your bones a boost with some forward lunges.

Forward Lunge   

Bone Health Benefits: 

Forward lunges improve balance and promote stability of the ankle, knee, and hip. They also build your strength, making it easier to go up stairs as well as get up and down from the ground.

Step-by-Step Instructions:
  • Stand close to your bed with the left side of your body facing the bed. Your feet should be about hip distance apart. The bed can be used to support your balance as you move through the exercise.
  • Take a big step forward with your right leg.
  • Lift the heel of your back (left) foot, coming onto the ball of your foot. 
  • Distribute your weight evenly between both legs (check that your feet are still about hip distance apart).
  • Inhale, and on the exhale, bend both knees, grazing the bed with your hand for support with balance if needed. The back (left) knee bends towards the floor and the front (right) knee bends until it is in line with the ankle (do not bend the front knee past the ankle). Try to touch the back knee all the way to the floor.
  • Slowly straighten both legs and bend again to repeat 10 times. 
  • Repeat 10 times on the other side.

Now that you’re near your bed, have a seat and get ready to twist your way to better bone health with the seated twist.

Seated Twist 

Bone Health Benefits: 

Regular twisting of the spine strengthens the vertebrae and retains range of motion.

Step-by-Step Instructions:
  • Sit at the edge of your bed with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
  • Gently lengthen your spine, drawing up from the crown of your head with your chin slightly tucked.
  • Rest your left hand on your right thigh and rest your right hand on the bed.
  • As you inhale, expand your belly and turn your torso slightly to the right.
  • As you exhale, draw your navel in and lift your pelvis and deepen the twist. Power this movement from your deep core muscles, rather than pushing yourself into the twist with your arms.
  • Maintain a neutral spine (avoid rounding the upper back or overarching the lower back).
  • Hold for 5 breaths (if your breathing feels strained, release the twist slightly to a point where you can breathe comfortably).
  • Release the twist slowly and repeat on the other side.

Key Takeaways

Next time life gets hectic and threatens to derail your workout plans, just break out some exercise snacks and show it who’s boss. This before bed routine plus our morning yoga micro workout and our afternoon lower body micro workout are all five minutes or less. Plus, they require zero gym time or equipment.

So turn that office, kitchen, or bedroom into a temporary fitness studio and get those bones moving. 

If you have some extra time (lucky you), try combining a couple of them. And bookmark this page for inspiration when you need to squeeze in an exercise quickie. 

I wish you all the best on your bone health journey. And please, don’t hesitate to ask questions or share your thoughts on these bone-strengthening exercises in the comments below!

I’d love to hear how YOU incorporate exercise into your everyday routine.

References

1. Van der Ploeg HP, Chey T, Korda RJ, Banks E, Bauman A. Sitting time and all-cause mortality risk in 222 497 Australian adults. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Mar 26;172(6):494-500. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2174. PMID: 22450936.

Article Comments

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  1. Gabrielle Hochberg, MHA

    June 8, 2022 , 11:42 pm

    I’ve been doing these exercises for many years and while they are great for balance and exercise, I am sure they are strengthening my body. However, I still need AlgaeCal and Strontium Boost so that I keep building bone.

  2. Betty Skelding

    June 9, 2022 , 7:41 am

    Awesome workout ,I will work on these each morning & night ,thanks for sharing I ready needed this

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,
Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, PhD - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Dr. Carole McArthur
MD, PhD - Professor of Immunology, Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City; Director of Residency Research in Pathology, Truman Medical Center.,