Yoga for bone health
Exercise is very important for bone health. Bones are living tissue. If not used they will weaken, wasting away. Yoga helps to build and maintain bone density in many ways:
- When we put pressure on the bone cells, for example when we stretch, we stimulate them to produce more bone mass, thereby strengthening the bone.
- Weight bearing, e.g., in plank or downward dog, increases muscle strength which aids bones.
- Yoga’s focus on good posture and alignment aids bone strength.
- Our balance poses improve coordination, helping to prevent falls.
- Stress and anxiety are detrimental to bone health, and yoga’s role in stress management helps to reduce this.
However, there are many poses in yoga that are dangerous for people with osteoporosis or its precursor osteopenia and need to be avoided. These include:
- Forward bends that lead to flexion or rounding of the spine, including standing, seated, and lying forward bends
- Twisting yoga postures unless the spine is completely straight
- Strong backbends e.g., wheel
- Inversions e.g., headstand, shoulderstand
Yoga for bone health takes the good and leaves the rest. All the poses are safe for those with low bone density when practised under supervision while also helping to maintain strong bones in the rest of the population
NOTE: ALL EXERCISE PROGRAMMES SHOULD BE TAKEN UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A QUALIFIED INSTRUCTOR WHO HAS BEEN FULLY INFORMED OF THE CLIENT’S HEALTH STATUS