With age, bone density gradually declines, which can result in conditions like osteoporosis. Bone density refers to the number of minerals in bones, determining strength and durability. Additional factors like age, gender, genetics, lifestyle, and nutrition all impact bone health. To keep strong, healthy bones in the twilight years, yoga has been a go-to activity used by millions.
What does the science say?
Weight-bearing exercises are essential for maintaining and improving bone health. However, lifting weights and other resistance exercises can become more difficult over time. Yoga can provide the necessary weight-bearing pressure to stimulate bone growth while staying gentle on the joints. Research has shown that yoga can be an effective way to improve bone health and density. In a recent study, researchers found that practicing yoga for just 12 minutes a day over a 2-year period led to significant improvements in bone density.
Check these yoga benefits
Advantageous for both the body and mind, yoga is a form of exercise that prioritizes building strength, increasing flexibility, and improving balance. Practicing yoga can help improve bone health and density in several ways. First, yoga poses can help build strength in the bones and muscles, particularly in the hips, spine, and wrists. Yoga can also improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls and fractures. Finally, yoga can reduce stress, which can positively impact bone health.
Grow tall with tree pose
Several basic yoga poses, like tree pose, can help improve bone health. To start, stand with feet together and arms at the sides. Shift weight onto the left foot and lift the right foot off the ground. Next, place the right foot on the left thigh directly above the knee, and apply pressure by pushing the foot into the thigh. Lift arms above the head and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Try the triangle pose
Another beneficial at-home yoga exercise for bone health is the triangle pose. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Turn the left foot to the side and slightly turn the right foot inward. Stretch arms out to the sides, parallel to the ground. Reach the left hand down to the ankle, shin, or block on the floor. Extend the right arm up towards the ceiling. Maintain for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Make a bridge
While the name can sound intimidating to beginners, the bridge pose is an effective exercise for strengthening bones. Lie on the back with knees bent and feet on the ground. Place arms at the sides with palms facing down. Press feet and arms into the ground and raise the hips towards the ceiling while keeping shoulders and feet on the ground. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, then slowly lower back down.
Not your average chair
Lastly, the chair pose is a straightforward yet effective exercise for bone health. Stand with feet hip-width apart and raise the arms above the head. To perform the pose, bend the knees and lower the hips as if sitting in an invisible chair. Keep weight on the heels and make sure knees remain behind the toes. Hold for 30 seconds, then stand up straight again.
Yoga is a safe and efficient approach to enhancing bone health and decreasing the likelihood of fractures. Incorporating at-home yoga exercises into a daily routine can improve bone health and density. Always consult with a healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise program, especially if there is a history of osteoporosis or other bone-related conditions. With time, stretching and strengthening can lead to stronger bones and a better quality of life.