Yoga & Pilates for Osteoporosis Information Page

The Good News

Bones respond well to exercise, and it's never too late to start building up your bones.

Yoga and Pilates have some unique offerings to assist with site-specific bone-building.  For example, prone backbends tend to help improve posture and stimulate bone growth in the spine.

 

The Bad News

 

Not all yoga teachers and fitness professionals are saavy about what movements are safe for people with bone loss such as ostepenia and osteoporosis.  It is up to us to learn how to modify in group classes, find classes that are designed for us, or hire private instructors in Yoga for Osteoporosis or Pilates for Osteoporosis.

Yoga for Bone Health

I teach specific classes that eliminate unsafe movements and pack in movements that build bone, improve balance and coordination, and overall well being.  These classes draw on Pilates and the Buff Bones program.  They are stimulating enough for anyone!  Even if you don't have a bone-loss diagnosis.

 

 

Learn to Move Safely

If you have been diagnosed with bone loss, osteopenia or osteoporosis, it is time to pay attention to how you move.  Several exercises are not suitable for people with osteoporosis as they can exert strong force on relatively weak bone.

The Basics

  • No rounding the spine

  • No deep or forceful twists

  • No deep or forceful side-bends

  • No jumping or explosive loading

  • No excessive pressure on ribs such as bow pose in yoga

  • No excessive pressure on thigh bone such as pigeon pose in yoga

  • No excessive pressure on spine such as wheel or bow pose in yoga

Rounding the Spine

  • No forward bending with a round spine, such as uttanasana in yoga

  • No dynamic abdominal exercises like "crunches" sit-ups, rolling up and down through the spine

  • No lying on the back and lifting your head

  • Daily activities such as bending to pick up objects should be done with a straight spine, hip hinge

  • Lift with the legs, not the back

  • In summary, learn  how to keep your spine straight, even in simple stretches and daily activities

Twists

  • Golf swings can cause fractures because they are fast and vigorous

  • In Yoga and Pilates, deep forceful twists should be avoided.

  • Instead lift your arms up over head, sit or stand up very straight, twist slowly and mindfully, going as far as you can with your own trunk muscles.  Avoid using the arms to push or crank deeper into the twist.

Side Bends

  • Some yoga teachers encourage students to side bend "as deeply as possible."  Sometimes they encourage students to "try to get their elbow all the way to the floor."  This is not safe for many people, anyway, as it compresses the lumbar spine.

  • Lengthen spine as much as possible before side bending.

  • Side bend small, gradual, mindful.  Root down as well as reach up

Fancy Poses

If it looks fancy, uncomfortable, strenuous, it probably is. That doesn't mean you can't do anything fun in yoga anymore!  Work with a qualified teacher!

Alternatives

NO

Rounding the Spine

Deep Twists

Deep Side Bends

Deep Back Bends

Pigeon

Pressure on ribs(bow)

High Impact Exercise

Lying on back, lifting head

YES

Keep spine straight

Functional, mindful twists/no pushing or cranking

Gradual, gentle side bends

Lying on abdomen and lifting chest and limbs

Ankle to Knee stretch, functional, mindful

Lying on abdomen and lifting chest and limbs

Low impact exercise

Keep head down, find something else to do

Rule of thumb:  move gradually and mindfully

More info:

Contact me:  ckansas42@gmail.com / 718-344-1317

 

National Osteoporosis Foundation:  www.nof.org

Safe Pilates Flyer

Safe Yoga Flyer

Hip Hinge Illustration

Spine Fracture Video

Yoga with C

Chintamani Kansas

ckansas42@gmail.com

718.344.1317

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