“Yoga is a low-impact weight bearing activity, and weight-bearing helps us build bones. Therefore, yoga can be a great therapy for osteoporosis,” said Ashley Detterbeck, physical therapist.
A pilot study
A recent yoga study took 741 worldwide volunteers to test the correlation of yoga and bone health. Of those volunteers, 227 people did 12 assigned yoga poses daily or every other day.
At the beginning of the study, researchers collected data on participant’s bone density measurements, blood and urine chemistry and X-rays of their spines and hips.
After 10 years of practicing yoga for the study, all 227 participants showed improved bone density in the spine and femur.
The process of bone building
Osteoporosis can cause broken bones in as many as half of all women and a quarter of men older than 50.
“As we age, our bones don’t produce the amount of cells needed to be strong,” Detterbeck said.
Osteocytes are our bone-making cells.
“Any low-impact weight-bearing activities can help stimulate osteocytes, whereas high-impact weight bearing increases the risk of fracture as we age,” she said.
Yoga can be especially beneficial for those who have trouble running or riding bike.
Try these 12 yoga poses
Study participants practiced these 12 yoga poses to increase their bone density or counteract development of osteoporosis.
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Build bones with simple weight-bearing exercise
It is great to see yoga given the attention and credit it deserves for helping create bone density. However the poses suggested in the article are difficult to access for a beginner or someone who is not used to moving much, and how one does the poses is important to how much the pose helps build bone density. Alignment Yoga and other styles of yoga that emphasize action and resistance in a pose can help students access the bone building benefits.