Does Yoga Help with Bone Health?
Bones weaken naturally as you age, increasing your risk of falls and fractures. Fortunately, yoga can keep your bones strong and may even help you rebuild bone tissue.
Do You Need to Be Concerned About Bone Health?
It's not just senior citizens who need to worry about bone health. By the time you're 40, your bone mass may have begun to decrease, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. As you get older, your risk for osteoporosis increases. Osteoporosis happens when bones weaken and become less dense. If you have osteoporosis, even a minor fall can result in a broken bone.
Although the disease affects both men and women, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis. More than 8 million of the estimated 10 million people with osteoporosis are women, according to the Office on Women's Health. The Office notes that women are more likely to develop osteoporosis due to longer lifespans, hormonal changes after menopause, and smaller, thinner bones.
Unfortunately, osteoporosis can affect your bones even if you don't notice any changes in your body. In fact, you may not know you have the disease until you have a routine bone scan or break a bone.
How Yoga Improves Bone Health
Doctors recommend weight-bearing exercise, like walking, lifting weights, dancing, or racquet sports, to keep bones strong. Yoga offers another way to improve bone strength, while also enhancing flexibility.
As you perform yoga poses, your muscles and connective tissues exert pressure on the your bones. This pressure helps the bones become stronger and denser. Yoga also improves balance and will help you avoid dangerous falls.
Yoga is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels and doesn't require special equipment or training. As long as there's enough room for a yoga mat, you can catch up with your yoga routine practically anywhere.
Practicing yoga regularly offers a simple way to protect your bones. In a study published in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, bone mineral density improved in the hips, spine and femurs of 277 research participants who participated in a 12-minute, 12-pose daily yoga routine.
12 Poses for Better Spine Health
Luckily, the researchers shared the 12 poses, making it possible for you to take advantage of the bone strengthening effects of yoga. The poses include:
- Tree (Vrikasana)
- Triangle (Trikonasana)
- Warrior II (Virabhadrasana)
- Side Angle (Parsvakonasana)
- Twisted Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonosana)
- Locust (Salabhasana)
- Bridge (Setu Bandhasana)
- Supine Hand-to-Foot I (Supta Padangusthasana I)
- Supine Hand-to-Foot II (Supta Padangusthasana II)
- Straight-Legged Twist (Marichyasana II)
- Bent-Knee Twist (Matsyendrasana)
- Corpse Pose (Savasana)
It's no surprise that these specific poses were selected. Each offers important benefits for bones and muscles. For example, the tree pose helps strengthen your spine, legs, and ankles and improves balance. The warrior II pose, which looks a little like a lunge, strengthens muscles in your abdomen, core, shoulders, chest, hips and legs, according to the Yoga Journal.
The bridge, a pose that involves raising your torso off the floor while keeping your head and shoulders firmly on the mat, helps keep your spine, legs, chest, and spine strong and flexible.
These poses are most helpful when you use the proper form. Unfortunately, perfecting your form can be a little difficult if you're learning yoga from a video. When you attend a yoga class, your instructor demonstrates poses, helps you perform them correctly, and offers tips that enhance your yoga practice. Yoga classes offer a fun, supportive, welcoming environment for both novices and yoga pros alike.
Ready to improve your bone health with yoga? Contact us for information about our latest series of yoga classes.
Office of Women's Health: Osteoporosis, 2/22/2021
Yoga Journal: Warrior II Pose, 12/9/2021
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease: Bone Health and Osteoporosis: What It Means to You
WebMD: The Health Benefits of Yoga, 9/2/2022
Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation: What Is Osteoporosis and What Causes It?