Learn about the benefits of yoga and how it can positively affect bone health.
Bone health may not be something we think about often, but it is a crucial piece of our overall health and we should pay careful attention to it, especially as we age. For anyone diagnosed with osteoporosis or undergoing osteoporosis treatment, you may have wondered if certain exercises could improve your bone health. The answer is “yes!” Results from a study published in Top Geriatric Rehabilitation are shedding light on how the benefits of yoga can positively impact osteoporosis and improve overall bone health.
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis – which means porous bone – is a disease where bone quality and density are reduced. Osteoporosis and low bone density currently affect approximately 44 million Americans, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and spinal and hip fractures affect hundreds of thousands of people every year.
The study, which recruited 741 people between 2005 and 2015, kicked off with participants having DEXA scans of their hips and spines, along with other tests to create a baseline. They were then supplied with instructional yoga DVDs and asked to keep a journal of their yoga activity.
The benefits of yoga are vast, and the exercise is known for helping those who practice it have better coordination and balance (which ultimately helps against falling…and preventing fractures). But researchers for this study wanted to determine if specific yoga poses could increase one’s bone density by putting force on the hips and spine.
The results were promising: 227 study participants practiced the yoga routine every other day for at least two years. The median age of these participants was 68 and over 80 percent had a lower than normal bone density.
At the end of the study, the participants underwent DEXA scans, which showed significant increases in spine bone density. In addition, hip bone density also increased.
Participants were instructed to do twelve specific yoga moves for the duration of the study in order to test the influence on one’s bone health. These included:
• Tree Pose
• Triangle Pose
• Warrior II Pose
• Side-angle Pose
• Twisted Triangle Post
• Locust Pose
• Bridge Pose
• Supine Hand to Foot Pose I
• Supine Hand to Foot Pose II
• Straight-legged Twist
• Bent-knee Twist
• Corpse or Deep Relaxation Pose
For the study, each post was held for 30 seconds and then followed by a 30-second break, making the entire routine 12 minutes long. If yoga is already a part of your exercise routine, you are likely familiar with most or all of these poses.
If you are new to yoga, it may be helpful to work with a professional yoga instructor at first who can assist you in doing each pose properly in order to take advantage of the benefits.
Another benefit to yoga is just how low cost the exercise is. Once you learn how to do it properly and can step into poses correctly on your own, yoga can be done from the privacy of your own home.
“Side effects” experienced from yoga are much different than negative side effects often experienced from medications and osteoporosis treatment.
With yoga, users typically experience better posture, a greater range of motion, decreased anxiety levels, improved gait, improved balance and increased coordination. Other benefits of yoga can also include weight loss and improved muscle tone.
If you or someone you love is undergoing osteoporosis treatment and are curious about the benefits of yoga, tell him or her to look up “Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss” to learn more about the study.
You can also find out more about bone health and the benefits of yoga right here on BetterHealthKare.com.