As a teacher of Chair Yoga for seniors, I hear many stories from my students about their health. Some of my favorites are their “near fall” stories. I like when my students catch themselves before falling. I also like when they don’t have much damage after a fall. These stories are positive signs of one’s balance, strength and flexibility. They are definitely the cumulative benefits of a regular Yoga practice that includes building strong bones.
Janet, a 70-something student of mine, recently spent a day with her friend. While they walked along the harbor, her friend pointed out a new restaurant. As Janet turned to look, she tripped and landed on both arms and one knee. Although she got a bit scraped up, she had no broken bones! What a relief!
Years prior to this fall, Janet was diagnosed with Osteopenia — a reduction in bone density which can lead to Osteoporosis. Afterward, she began taking a recommended prescription drug. In addition, she incorporated Yoga and regular walks to her daily routine.
Nowadays, Janet is out of the “red zone” for Osteoporosis and no longer needs her bone medication. Even better, she wiped-out on the sidewalk with minimal repercussions. Certainly, Janet is a great example of resilience in maintaining a healthy bone density though her active lifestyle.
Bones build strength when they are called upon to perform
Julius Wolff, a 19th Century German anatomist and surgeon, developed a theory known today as Wolff’s Law. It states that a person’s bones adapt to the loads under which they are placed. In other words, if a weight is increased, the bone bearing the weight will “remodel itself over time” to better support that load. Similarly, if the load is decreased, the bone becomes weaker. It also becomes less dense. In conclusion, weight-bearing is beneficial to our bones.
Yoga moves our center of gravity by placing varying loads across the skeletal system. Accordingly, our bones respond to this stimulation. They create a kind of healthy “scaffolding for the temple” that is the physical body.
As time goes on, withstanding a fall with minimal consequences is a huge asset. Join us in building and maintaining strong, healthy bones by following our Wellness Practices for Bone Strength!