Osteoporosis is a widespread condition in the U.S., ultimately affecting one-half of women over 50 and one-quarter of men in that age range, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) estimates. In order to prevent fractures and to improve bone health among pre-osteoporotic women, at least one therapy group is turning to yoga for good health.
Researchers recently determined that osteopenic women who perform regular yoga exercises appear to be less likely to suffer bone loss-related fractures. These results appeared in the journal Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation.
Osteopenia is a condition characterized by inadequate bone density. It can be caused by a variety of factors – poor nutrition, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity or genetic predisposition – and is the precursor to full-blown osteoporosis. The NOF states that, as with the latter condition, osteopenia is most commonly diagnosed in postmenopausal women.
In the new study, scientists led a group of geriatric women with osteopenia in weekly yoga sessions. The reseacrhers determined that these gentle exercises improved bone health in multiple ways.
"Yoga has the potential to decrease fracture risk in a geriatric population via several mechanisms, including improving balance, reducing fall risk and fear of falls, improving functioning, reducing hyperkyphosis and improving bone turnover," the team concluded.