As we age our body goes through many changes, one of those changes is in our bones which can become weaker and frailer. Women, in particular, are susceptible to osteoporosis which is a bone disease characterized by a loss in bone mass and mineral. Osteoporosis increases the risk of fractures which can lead to many other health complications and can negatively impact a person’s quality of life. Therefore it’s of high importance to take the necessary steps to keep your bones strong and healthy.
There are many factors which can determine your bone health through aging. For starters your family history can play a role in how strong or weak your bones will become. Additionally calcium and vitamin D intake, too, plays a role in bone health. One other common factor is exercise which has been shown time and time again to be a critical factor in maintaining bone strength. Unfortunately, as we age exercise can become more difficult or other health ailments may prevent us from partaking in certain exercises which leaves our bones vulnerable.
The good news is that research has found that there is a form of exercise which is gentle enough that it can be done by anyone at any age and offers plenty of bone-strengthening benefits. That exercise is yoga.
Yoga has really gained momentum over the last little while with yoga studios popping up nearly on every corner. With the rise in popularity of yoga, doctors and researchers continue to study the benefits which yoga can offer and the latest findings confirmed that yoga can be beneficial in strengthening bones.
The latest findings are published in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation where researchers from several universities came together to study the benefits of yoga on bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis. The study followed 202 women who did a sequence of yoga every other day between 2005 and 2015.
The findings of the study found not only does yoga help improve coordination and balance but bone density improved too, specifically in the femur and spine. Furthermore, participants also had better internal support for their bones which can lower the risk of fractures in the future.
When it comes to strengthening bones it has been long known that weight-bearing exercises can help make bones stronger and yoga has been found to bear more weight on bones that gravity alone. What makes yoga a good form of exercise for bone health is the push and pull between muscle groups which causes the body to create more osteocytes – bone making cells – which allows for bone density to increase.
It is important to note that although yoga is beneficial for overall health it takes specific movements to receive the bone-strengthening benefits. Specific poses which the researchers put together for the participants were tree, triangle, warrior II, side-angle, twisted triangle, locust, bridge, supine hand-to-foot I, supine hand-to-foot II, straight-legged twist, bent-knee twist, and corpse pose. If you’re a bit confused by the names you may want to touch base with a yoga instructor to begin with and get yourself started and from there you can bring the practice into your home for further bone-strengthening.
So if you’re concerned about your weakening bones try some of the listed poses and start “om-ing” as a natural means for stronger bones.