Yoga for Bone Health

Woman doing tree pose at beach

Keep Your Bones Strong with Yoga

Bone loss, an unavoidable part of getting older, starts much earlier than you may realize. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons notes that bone mass begins to decrease around age 40. As your bones get weaker over the years, you may be more likely to fall or fracture a bone. Practicing yoga regularly can help you reduce bone loss and avoid injuries.

Building Strong Bones with Yoga

Performing weight-bearing exercises keeps your bones strong and may even slow bone loss. These exercises use the effects of gravity to rebuild bone tissue and improve bone strength and density. In addition to yoga, weight-bearing exercises include walking, running, aerobics, playing racquet sports, dancing, and weight lifting.

Performing weight-bearing exercises regularly may even help you avoid bone loss due to osteoporosis. The condition causes the bones to become thinner and less dense. If you have osteoporosis, a minor fall could result in a fractured hip or another broken bone.

Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 80% of the people who have osteoporosis are women. Smaller bone sizes and lower estrogen levels after menopause make osteoporosis more common in women. Estrogen is a hormone that plays a role in fertility and heart and bone health.

If you already have osteoporosis, some weight-bearing activities, like running, playing tennis, or participating in high-intensity aerobic exercises, might not be safe for you. These activities could increase your risk of a fall or broken bone. Luckily, yoga offers a safe, effective alternative to traditional weight-bearing exercise.

According to a research study published in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, it only takes 12-minutes a day to improve the strength and density of your bones. Bone density in the spine and femur (the large bone in the thigh) improved in study participants who performed a variety of weight-bearing yoga poses every day. Eighty-three percent of the participants had been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia (lower bone density) before enrolling in the study.

Weight-Bearing Yoga Poses That Can Help You Protect Your Bones

The tree, a simple pose that builds your bones and improves balance, was one of the poses that participants in the study performed. To perform the tree, follow these instructions:

  • Start the pose with your legs together and your feet firmly planted on the floor.
  • Lift your right leg and place your foot against the inner thigh of the left leg with the knee bent. (Use your hands to position your foot correctly if needed.)
  • Place the palms of your hands together in front of your chest with the elbows out. Inhale and exhale deeply, holding the pose for five to 10 breaths. (If you feel a little wobbly, press your foot against your thigh a little harder, or hold on to a nearby wall to steady yourself.)

Other poses that study participants performed were:

  • Warrior II
  • Triangle
  • Twisted Triangle
  • Locust
  • Bridge
  • Straight-Legged Twist
  • Side-Angle
  • Supine Hand-to-Foot I
  • Supine Hand-to-Foot II
  • Bent-Knee Twist
  • Corpse Pose

Could yoga help you keep your bones strong as you grow older? During yoga classes, you'll learn poses that improve your flexibility while strengthening your bones and muscles. Not sure which yoga class is right for you? Get in touch with us and will help you choose the best option.

Sources:

National Osteoporosis Foundation: What Women Need to Know

OrthoInfo: Healthy Bones at Any Age, 7/12

Yoga International: Yoga for Osteoporosis

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss, 4/16

Healthline: Yoga for Osteoporosis: 5 Beneficial Poses

NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases: Exercise for Your Bone Health