SLASALLE- Great questions! This is a topic near to me as I'm certified in Pilates, many forms of fitness, and just 18 hours away from my 200-hour RYT (registered yoga teacher) credential. I've worked with a client in Pilates for 3+ years who has osteoporosis, and interestingly, didn't learn much about what was safe or not safe for anyone with osteoporosis until I was deep in my four years of Pilates teacher training.
Anyone with osteoporosis should avoid A LOT of spinal movements, which is surprising because they are common in yoga and Pilates (and everyday life). The spinal movements to avoid are:
-Spinal flexion: That means any "rounding' of the spine, such as rounding forward to touch your toes, or even doing crunches. -Spinal rotation: That means no twisting from the waist, so no seated or standing twists in yoga or Pilates movements such as criss-cross. - Lateral spinal flexion: This is doing something like reverse warrior in yoga or any movement where you bring one arm/shoulder closer to your hip in a "side bending" fashion.
That's just the tip of the iceberg really. These are common movements in everyday life, not just in fitness classes. But all of them have been shown to cause problems and break down already brittle spinal bones. The key is to work in "neutral" spine at all times, so, your back "flat" or with its neutral curvature. That does mean avoiding certain common exercises and movements, but really, it means adapting.
One can do something like a "forward bend" safely without ever flexing the spine. And honestly, that's how everyone should do it anyway b/c it's safer for the back for numerous reasons. So you'd hip hinge forward, only going as far as you can with a long spine and without rounding the spine.
These movements and adaptations are, sadly, not widely known or instructed in many fitness trainings. Do not be surprised if you go to a yoga studio and the instructor knows nothing about what is safe for osteoporosis. It can make it very difficult to attend group classes if you don't know what to avoid or how to modify. But it's not impossible--it'll just take a lot of self-education. Perhaps even some one-on-one training with a physical therapist or a credentialed trainer/instructor who understands this specialty. But once you get it down, it becomes pretty easy to integrate into your daily life.
What is safe? Spinal extension: Think lying on your belly and lifting your chest. So things like cobra, upward dog, locust in yoga are a safe spinal movement for osteoporosis. Anything standing upright is safe (don't twist, don't round forward on any hamstring stretches).
I hope you find this helpful. If you search online for more info on these specific movement patterns and other keywords, I'm sure you'll find more good info on what's safe, what to avoid, etc.
*I am not aware of any research saying that these movements lead to or cause osteoporosis--they are generally unsafe for already porous bones.
Fitness Minutes: (73,852)
9,789 11/8/13 10:30 A
My apologies. That was a typo. I meant osteoporosis, as referenced by my subject topic, the actual Health News article I'm questioning (and I don't think they do baseline tests for osteoarthritis either).
My partner has osteoarthritis so that's obviously where my brain went this a.m.!!!! Some days are just like that - LOL
umm, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis are 2 quite different diseases?
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
Fitness Minutes: (73,852)
9,789 11/8/13 8:17 A
Hi Coach Denise - Thanks so much for the article.
But I'm still a bit confused, because the Health News article is tips to "prevent" osteoarthritis. So if you don't have osteoarthritis, should you be avoiding those types of spinal bends? There's so much information out there, much of it conflicting, and it's hard to know what to do, or not do, on some of this stuff. I thought yoga was supposed to be GREAT for you. I do not have osteoarthritis, or any risk of it, as far as I know. I've had my baseline bone density scan done like 5 years ago and I was fine.
There are some yoga poses that do incorporate that and for those with osteoporosis may want to avoid those types of poses. It looks like there was a study done that showed that the risk of fractures were increased with those types of spinal bends. Here's a link to the abstract for that study, if you would like read it: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22448849 .
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Fitness Minutes: (73,852)
9,789 11/7/13 2:03 P
I read this on SparkPeople Health News today. I am VERY curious as to what exactly is meant by bending the spine forward (see article below). Don't many yoga poses do that with the spine? Help!!! Thanks.
Health Tip: Exercise to Help Prevent Osteoporosis Strengthen your bones (HealthDay News) -- Osteoporosis is characterized by thin and brittle bones that are more likely to break.
The American Council on Exercise offers these suggestions to help build bone health:
-Create an exercise regimen that includes aerobic weight-bearing exercises four days per week, plus two or three days of resistance training. -Perform flexibility exercises frequently, but make sure you don't include activities that cause the spine to bend forward. -Build your muscles by walking, running or lifting weights. -Perform a variety of different exercises that you enjoy and that work different muscles. -Make sure your exercises don't cause joint pain.
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