We keep being told (especially women of a certain age) that we need to improve our bone health to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. A new study suggests that yoga might be one way to help.
Osteoporosis is a common condition by which bones lose their strength and can contribute to pain and fractures. The advice is that ‘weight bearing exercise’ can improve bone strength (as well as diet and quitting smoking, amongst other things).
A recently published study, involved 227 participants practising just 12 minutes of yoga a day in a set routine. Researchers measured bone health (via a DEXA scan) at the start and end of the trial. They found that the bone density of the spine increased significantly for participants, whose average age was 68. Density of the hip bones improved too, but not as much.
Now, like any research trial, there are limitations in the research*, and it isn’t as simple as saying “Do these poses and your bones will improve”. BUT this is good news for those of us who practice yoga and have concerns that we might need to do more ‘strengthening’ via a different exercise.
The poses that were practiced are shown here, and were held for 30 seconds with a 30 second rest. You might already be familiar with them from yoga class.
So, keep practicing yoga and if you don’t already, seek out an experienced yoga teacher who can guide you.
If you already have pain or discomfort as a result of osteoporosis – feel free to contact me to discuss how yoga or osteopathic treatment can help.
In 2016 the National Osteoporosis Society www.NOS.org.uk have teamed up with the Institute of Osteopathy to help promote osteopathic treatment for sufferers.
Anji is an Osteopath and Yoga teacher specialising in Yoga for Pain, based in Ealing, West London.
* If you want to discuss the limitations of this particular study I’d be happy to go through it with you as my research training makes me try to critically appraise research papers before I share them with you. But it might not be the most interesting conversation we ever have…
Lu, Yi-Hsueh PhD et al, (2016) Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Regimen Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss, Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, April/June 2016, Vol 32