11 Yoga Poses For Osteoporosis and Bone Density Loss: Backed by Science to Heal Brittle Bones
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 75 million people worldwide are suffering from osteoporosis. Women are often diagnosed with this condition, the prevalence increasing with age. The same statistics have revealed that this condition increases the risk for fractures, especially of the hip and spine. Millions of people suffer from low bone density as well, which is considered to be the number one risk factor for osteoporosis.
With regard to the impact risk, it is important to mention that this chronic condition can have a negative influence on the overall quality of life. As the risk of fractures increases, the person in question might suffer from pain and restriction of mobility. The osteoporosis-related disability can make one dependent on a caregiver, as one is prevented from carrying out the normal daily living activities. In turn, this can lead to depression, anxiety, and low-self esteem, all of these manifestations reinforcing the vicious circle.
Yoga and Osteoporosis
The practice of yoga might prevent the appearance of osteoporosis altogether, as the different poses one has to assume can increase bone density (in a small percentage). One of the obvious benefits is that yoga can help one develop a better balance as well as coordination; thus, the risk of falling is considerably decreased, and one is protected against possible fractures. Bone loss was especially reversed in major joints, such as the ones of the spine and femur. Yoga, as a general practice, can improve the overall quality of the bone.
From a practical perspective, yoga is a cost-advantageous form of therapy for those at risk for osteoporosis. It can help one maintain healthy bones, strengthening the muscles that support them at the same time. This practice is especially recommended for the geriatric population, as it is gentle and easy to perform. Practiced on a regular basis, yoga can reduce the intensity and frequency of back pain, allowing one to become more flexible and coordinated.
Often, osteoporosis is aggravated by a low muscle tone, especially in the spinal area. The muscles of the back weaken as we advance in age and, due to the poor postural control, the pressure on the joints accentuated. Combined with a reduced bone mass, these changes lead to a high risk of osteoporotic fractures. Yoga is the type of practice that works to strengthen the spinal muscles, reducing the overall pressure on the joints. Simultaneously, it keeps the bones strong and improves one’s postural control.
When it comes to osteoporosis, there is one other risk factor to be taken into consideration, and that is menopause. The hormonal imbalance brought on by this change can cause a reduction in the bone minerals, putting women at risk for osteoporosis and subsequent fractures. Yoga is more than recommended to menopausal and post-menopausal women, not only in relation to bone health but also for dealing with other discomforting symptoms (hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, etc.).
Perfect Yoga Routine for Preventing Osteoporosis
A gentle yoga routine can build bone density up and help you keep the risk of fractures at a safe distance. There are a number of poses you can include in your daily routine, protecting yourself against osteoporosis, as you can see for yourself below.
The tree leg pose is perfect for beginners, being easy to perform. Begin by assuming a standing position, with the arms relaxed on the sides of the body. Flex your right knee and bring the foot up the left thigh, as high as you can. Try to maintain your balance and raise your arms over your head, while inhaling (bring your palms together, keeping the elbows slightly flexed). Choose a point to fixate upon and maintain the position, making sure that your back is straight. Return to the original position and switch legs. Repeat the pose with the left leg.
Also known as the extended triangle pose, it has a therapeutic effect on osteoporotic joints, and it stretches tensed muscles at the same time. You can begin by standing, spreading your feet apart and the arms spread to the side (palms are facing down). Rotate the feet, so that the left one is turned to the right and the right out at a straight angle. For the next step, rotate your torso, making sure that the left hip comes a little bit forward. The left arm should be raised, while the right one rests on the ankle. Maintain the position, breathing in and out. Return to the original position, switch legs and repeat.
The warrior pose is one of the best choices for those who have osteoporosis, relieving backache and stretching other tense muscles. You can begin by standing, with the feet spread apart and the arms kept horizontally (palms facing down). You are to turn your feet so that the right one is slightly shifted towards the right and the left one is at a straight angle. Flex the left knee while extending the other leg, sole firmly planted on the floor. Rotate your torso, with the arms maintained horizontally. Maintain the position, breathing in and out. Return to the original position, switch legs and repeat.
The extended side angle pose is recommended for osteoporotic joints, stretching and strengthening the muscles at the same time. You can begin by assuming a standing position, with the arms parallel to the floor and the feet spread apart. Turn your feet as in the above pose and rotate the left hip, so that it is a little bit forward. One leg should be flexed, while the other one is stretched (kept backward and laterally). Bring one hand towards the floor and raise the other one towards the ceiling, following it with your gaze. Maintain the position, breathing in and out. Return to the original position, switch legs and repeat.
The revolved triangle pose is especially good for those who suffer from low back pain and sciatica, being at risk for osteoporotic fractures. You can begin by assuming a standing position, with the feet spread apart and the arms kept parallel to the floor. Rotate your torso, making sure that one leg is kept in front of the body and the other one backward. Both legs are extended. One hand should be held near the front leg, the palm resting on the floor (elbow extended). Raise the other one towards the ceiling, following it with your gaze. Maintain the position, breathing in and out. Return to the original position, switch legs and repeat.
The locust pose can strengthen the muscles of the back, as well as of the legs and arms, improving the health of the joints and keep the risk of osteoporosis down. Begin by lying down on the floor, with the face downwards. The feet should be kept together, while the arms are extended and the palms oriented towards the floor. From this position, raise your shoulders and your torso, as much as you can. Maintain the head straight and choose a fixed point to gaze upon, as it will allow you to concentrate. Remain in this position for a little bit, then return to the original one and repeat. Remember to breathe in and out throughout the pose.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
The bridge pose is particularly useful for the painful osteoporotic joints, helping with back pain and stretching the spinal muscles. You can begin this pose by lying down on the floor, with the face looking towards the ceiling. Keep the arms extended, on the side of the body. With the soles of the feet firmly planted on the floor, raise your pelvis and bring your hands together, underneath your body. Maintain the position for a little bit, then return to the original position and repeat. In performing this position, pay attention to the alignment of the knees with the hips and the torso.
Supta Padangusthasana 1 & 2
The reclining hand-to-big-toe pose, with its two variations, is excellent for those who experience stiffness in their lower back due to osteoporosis. It can also guarantee a correct alignment of the pelvis.
For the first version, begin by lying down on the floor, with the face looking towards the ceiling. The arms should be kept to the sides of the body. Raise one leg, making sure that the knee is extended. Place a rubber band on the sole of the foot and press it down with your hands. Maintain the position for a little bit, then switch legs and repeat.
The second version of this pose is recommended for more advanced yoga practitioners; from the same position, you are to maintain the knee extended but flex the leg from the hip as much as you can (bring it towards the body without flexing the knee).
The supine spine twist can help you stretch tensed spinal muscles, effectively improving the manifestations of osteoporosis. Begin by lying down on the floor, with the face looking towards the ceiling. The arms should be kept stretched, with the elbows extended. From this position, flex on the leg and rotate your torso, until the knee reaches the floor. Maintain the position until you feel a gentle stretch in the lower back, then return to the original position. Switch the legs and repeat.
Straight-legged twist pose
When it comes to poses that can be used to stretch the muscles of the spine, especially those of the lumbar area, this particular one is more than ideal. You can begin by lying down, with the face looking towards the ceiling. The arms should be kept stretched, with the elbows extended and the palms facing towards the floor. Raise both legs in the air, making sure that the knees are extended. From this position, rotate your torso and bring your feet towards the floor (hence the twist). You can repeat a set for one side or alternate the repetitions for both sides.
The corpse pose brings complete relaxation, bring pain relief in the osteoporotic joints and reducing any existent stiffness. Begin by lying down, with the face looking towards the ceiling and the arms kept on the sides of the body. The elbows are completely extended and the palms are looking towards the ceiling as well. The legs are kept with the feet spread apart, the knees are extended, and the hips relaxed. Close your eyes and try to relax, maintaining this position for as long as you want. As you will feel the tension go away, you will understand that this is a position for both the body and the mind.
Impact of osteoporosis on your relationship
When you suffer from a chronic condition, such as osteoporosis, you might also experience particular difficulties in your relationship. As you advance in age, your spouse might suffer from different age-related health problems, one of the most common ones being the prostate enlargement.
It is important to talk to your partner and find ways to stay close to one other. Once again, what matters is that you talk openly and seek out the best treatment solutions for your problems. In case of low libido, you can recommend top natural testosterone boosters to your partner.
A final note
In conclusion, these are some of the most important details you should know about osteoporosis. You can practice yoga to strengthen your bones, increase bone density and keep the risk of fractures down. Always remember that yoga can reduce muscular tension, which is a common occurrence in those who suffer from osteoporotic changes.
Dwayne Austin is a multi-faceted author, blogger & fitness instructor from Indiana, US. He has been writing blogs about men’s health and also writes Virectin Reviews. He encourages people to live a healthy lifestyle. Connect with Dwayne via Facebook and Twitter.
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