Ahead of World Yoga Day (21 June), Healthpoint Rheumatologist Points Out that Certain Postures Improve Balance and Can Build Bone Mass
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – June 19, 2019:
While yoga’s ability to reduce stress levels is well known, people are not as aware of its significant benefits for osteoporosis sufferers, says an expert at Healthpoint, a Mubadala Healthcare provider in Abu Dhabi.
Osteoporosis is a common condition that gradually weakens bones over time, making them fragile and more susceptible to breaking.
According to Dr Mohamed Aboyoussef, Head of Department of Rheumatology in the multidisciplinary Musculoskeletal Specialty Center at Healthpoint, the benefits of yoga for osteoporosis sufferers include building bone mass, and decreasing the likelihood of falls and consequent fractures.
“Research has shown that yoga exercises can actually increase bone mineral density in the spine and femur, or thigh bone,” he says.
“A recently published 10-year study of more than 700 participants found that regularly practicing a yoga routine of just 12 minutes could make a significant difference.”
Dr Aboyoussef points out that while doctors usually recommend weight-bearing exercise to osteoporosis sufferers, people often do not realize that many yoga postures, although low-impact, are weight-bearing exercises too.
He warns, however, that it is important for patients to work with an experienced instructor who is informed of their condition, due to sufferers’ increased risk of broken bones.
In addition to building or reversing loss of bone density, yoga’s other outcomes are beneficial in preventing factures from falls.
“Documented benefits of yoga include better posture, improved balance and strength, enhanced coordination, greater range of motion, and better gait. These all reduce the risk of falling, which is the main cause of all other osteoporotic fractures,” says Dr Aboyoussef.
A further potential benefit is that by reducing levels of anxiety, yoga practitioners could find it easier to cease smoking and alcohol consumption, both of which are linked to worsening osteoporosis, he says.
Osteoporosis and osteopenia affect up to 200 million people worldwide today, and around one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture due to osteoporosis, according to Dr Aboyoussef.