When we are young, our body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone. This makes bone density increase. As we age, that process is reversed to some degree, and puts us at higher risk for fractures. People with osteoporosis have a higher degree of bone loss and can be at risk for fractures from falls or even from landing hard on the feet. Bone fractures can also come simply coughing or bending over to pick something up.
If you have osteoporosis now, or want to prevent it in the future, you can make a difference with diet and exercise.
According to the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, your diet should include
- foods rich in calcium like low fat dairy, cheese, yogurt; dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens; salmon, figs, soybeans, and pinto beans
- foods high in naturally occurring Vitamin D, such as fatty fish, and egg yolks, or Vitamin D supplements.
And you should avoid smoking and drinking excessive alcohol, both of which increase the risk of getting osteoporosis.
Physical activity for strong bones should include the following:
- strength training,
- weight-bearing aerobic activities,
- flexibility exercises done slowly, and
- stability and balance exercises
Exercises to avoid include high impact sports involving running or jogging; and bending and twisting associated with asymmetric sports–like golf, tennis, and bowling; and then, “some yoga poses”.
Most types of yoga classes in the Houston area fall into the category of some sort of “flow”. This means that the emphasis will be on movements from one posture to the next without much thought about staying in any posture with correct alignment. But if you don’t understand how to position each foot for each posture, the imbalances in the foot can travel right up the leg–and can create ankle, knee, hip, and back problems. Someone with bone fragility would not be advised to start in such a yoga class.
The best yoga for someone with osteoporosis is definitely Iyengar Yoga.
Suzy Shapiro, CIYT
- Iyengar Yoga teachers teach stability and alignment in standing poses from the very beginning. This mitigates the risk of falling and breaking a bone. You won’t find the attention to feet, ankles, shins, legs, and the alignment of bones and joints in any other method of yoga.
- Iyengar Yoga teachers utilize many different standard props. The props provide balance, support, and specific prodding to awaken dull areas.
Utthita Parsvakonasana with foot support and lateral traction
Alcove Yoga offers Iyengar Yoga classes of different levels of intensity.
- Ignite 50+ is a class for beginners over 50–perfect for anyone trying to work on bone density.
- Beginners can start in the Essentials Classes–Men’s Essentials, and Women’s Essentials. Convenient, after work times.
- Once you’ve been with us for a year, you move to Intermediate or Ageless classes. You won’t be ignored or asked to do something that is not appropriate for your age or condition. Just choose the class that is right for you.
- Get started! Visit our website at www.alcoveyoga.com
- All students must be vaccinated and wear a mask to class.