Many of us are eager to build bone when we learn we have bone loss. Do you fall into this category? I do, and I understand a desire for a quick and easy fix.
Bones are different. Bones are living tissue and have the ability to regenerate but it is a slow process. Have you ever broken a bone? It takes anywhere from 6-12 weeks to heal and building back bone density is no exception either. While medications may be helpful for some they still do not provide some crucial things that yoga provides. Here are three benefits in addition to building density that practicing yoga can offer.
1. Balance is important especially for someone with bone loss. Falling is the number one cause for fracture. While many osteoporosis drugs appear to increase your bone density they don’t do anything for your balance. Studies show that a person who is taking over 4 medications has a greater risk of falling due to side effects. Yoga will help to improve your balance. Yoga helps to maintain or increase range of motion, strengthen your legs and muscles and keep flexibility in the ankles.
2. Yoga can help regulate your stress levels. When we stay in a heightened alert or stressful environment our body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. While this is an important hormone having too much of it for a prolonged period creates an acidic environment. This acidic environment is bad for the health of your bones. Yoga has been shown to help reduce stress through movement, breathing practices and meditation.
3. Better posture. Many of us develop poor postural habits from time spent on computers, cell phones and driving our cars. This can cause forward head posture that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your spine. Your posture is linked to heart health, breathing, depression and balance. Good posture is important for reducing the wear and tear on your joints and is crucial if you have bone loss in your spine.
Evidence based studies show that yoga is beneficial for some people in increasing their bone density. But keep in mind your practice is much more than a bone density score. Your yoga practice is helping to improve your balance, decrease your stress and improve your posture; all important when living with bone loss. Lastly, consistency in your practice matters for those slow growing bones. More on this next month…
Live strong and at ease in your body!