By Dr. Rita Khanna
Prevention of osteoporosis is a reality, but it is a complete holistic plan. Osteo means bones, and porosis means porous. Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones inside the body of human beings. In this disorder, the skeleton’s bones become fragile due to excessive loss of tissues. Ladies are affected more than males by osteoporosis. This difficulty is noticed mainly in postmenopausal women who cross the age of 50 to 55.
Coping with Osteoporosis
When a person suffers from osteoporosis, the bones become susceptible to fractures, even minor injuries. It could result in cracking and collapsing the bones in the three parts of the body areas like wrists, hips, and spine. Normal bone consists of a series of thin, intersecting plates called ‘trabeculae.’ A dense shell surrounds these plates. These plates form what is called bone mass. In osteoporosis, they become filled with holes or may even totally disappear. This causes a diminution of bone mass. With the loss of bone mass, the shell also becomes thin. All these changes make the bones extremely fragile, and they can crack with the most trivial injury.
If the fracture is in the spine, the victim may feel a shooting pain that spreads from the back to the side of the body.
Repeated fractures in the spine can result in a deformed and curved spine. It may give the affected person a hunched back.
Some victims of this ailment may develop minimal trauma fractures while performing regular activities like walking or climbing stairs.
After menopause, women tend to lose bone density, and, in some cases, this leads to osteoporosis.
Some women develop osteoporosis due to their genetic structure.
People who do not get adequate amounts of calcium and Vitamin D in their diet also develop osteoporosis later.
Excess meat consumption, heavy smoking, chronic alcoholism, post-menopausal hormonal imbalances, and diminished physical activity with age increase the chances of osteoporosis.
The Yogic Approach
Prevention of osteoporosis is possible and can be treated through regular Yogasanas, with proper diet and lifestyle habits. Yogasanas help strengthen your bones and muscles, preventing the onset of this condition and providing relief from the pain. Yoga helps the prevention of osteoporosis by creating a balanced harmony between the ovaries, adrenals, parathyroids, pituitary and pineal glands, thus ensuring that the body receives a steady supply of the right hormones for maintaining bone strength and maximum health and well-being. Anyone without any fear can start with simple Yoga flexibility exercises.
To begin flexibility exercises for the prevention of osteoporosis, sit on the ground with legs stretched out straight on the ground, and exercise the parts of toes of legs, soles, ankles, leg muscles, knees, backbone and thigh bones, waist, spinal column, fingers, palms, wrists, elbows, shoulders, chest, belly and stomach, neck, eyes and muscles of the face.
To perform the flexibility exercise known as the butterfly exercise, one has to sit with legs extended in front. After that, bend both legs from the knees. Thereafter, widen both knees. Thereby heels are nearer the body and now hold the toes of both feet by both hands. Now, very slowly, move the knees in such a manner that resembles the butterfly moving its wings up and down. Heels must remain touching each other and as near to the body as possible.
This exercise, for the prevention of osteoporosis, helps the bones of the thighs and pelvic girdle; it covers the bones of the knees and joints of the legs. Now repeat this butterfly exercise by holding the knees. Heels and toes should remain touching and very near to the body. Now hold the knees and slowly press both knees downward and upward.
In the third exercise process, stretch the left leg forward; raise and lift the right leg and put it on the left thigh. Now move the right knee initially from top to bottom, bottom to top, and afterward in a round circular motion. This process must be repeated at least 16 times. In an above-described manner, now straighten the right leg; put the left leg on the right thigh.
After that, the left knee should be moved alternatively up and down, as well as down to up. After that, move the left knee in a circular motion. To establish a program for the prevention of osteoporosis, this process should also be repeated 16 times.
In addition to these flexibility exercises, even when food is consumed, one can no doubt sit in Vajrasana. In Vajrasana, keeping the legs turned behind, the bones of the knees and bones in the leg with its muscles, including the tibia-fibula and other bones, as well as ankles of the legs and fingers of the legs get a good advantage in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Certain Yogic postures are very helpful in the prevention of osteoporosis.
They are called Kati-utthana, Setubandha, Trikonasana and different types of Trikonasanas, Virikshasana (Tree pose), Suryanamaskara, Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, Dhanurasana, Chakrasana, Halasana, Paschimottanasana, Ushtrasana, Supta-vajrasana etc.
Pranayam: Omkar, Bhramaari, Nadi Shodhana, and Kapalbhati (Frontal brain cleansing breath) are also beneficial for osteoporosis.
Below is a description of Kati-utthana, Setubandha, Shalabhasana, and Supta-vajrasana:
Kati-utthana: Lie on your back, and bend your knees. Keep your feet close to your hips with hands by the side, and palms resting on the floor. Inhale slowly and push the waist upwards as much as you can without any pressure on your neck. Hold for some time while breathing normally.
Setubandhasana: From Katiutthana get into Setubandhasana.
Now support the waist by both the hands. Keep both the upper hands up to the elbow from the shoulders parallel to the ground; the hands from the elbow to the wrists should be straight at right angles. The support of the hand will be given to the waist from down under. Now straighten both the legs on the ground slowly; knees should not be bent, heels and toes should be touching the ground, legs should touch each other. In this fashion the shape of the body will resemble a fly-over bridge.
This Setubandhasana if practiced will give exercise to the joints of bones of the shoulders, bones of the elbows, and joints of the bones of wrists, fingers, whole of the spinal column, bones of the waist pertaining to the thighs, knees and ankles of the leg.
Lie in the prone position, bring the legs together, toes pointing outwards, hands by the side of the body, fists closed, and chin on the floor. Then raise both the legs slowly without bending at the knee. Do not tilt the pelvis. Hold this for some time with normal breathing, and come back down slowly.
Sit straight in Vajrasana. Keep your feet apart on the floor. Lean backwards on your right and left elbows. Now try and bend your head a back towards the floor as much as you can till you are comfortable while stretching the abdomen. Keeping the hands on the thighs, hold for some time breathing normally. Now with the help of the elbows slowly come back to the original position.
Yogic Diet for Osteoporosis:
Diet plays an important role in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. A Yogic diet of fresh fruit (orange, lemon, pineapple, papaya) and vegetables (green leafy vegetables, red beet and carrot), whole grains and high protein foods with moderate amounts of dairy products (milk, curds and milk products) will provide the calcium and other important minerals to prevent and reduce the development of osteoporosis. In particular, add omega-3 and vitamin E rich nuts, seeds and fish.
Avoid or Reduce
Beware of consuming too much salt and animal protein as these can both leach calcium from your bones. Caffeine, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks and nicotine can also deplete your body’s calcium supply and a diet high in sugar has also been linked to low bone density.
Make sure you get outdoors for your moderate daily dose of vitamin D from the Sun. While supplementing your diet with calcium and other vitamins and minerals is important to help meet your daily intake requirements, these vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, are much readily absorbed and utilized when they are obtained from the food you eat.
Prevention of osteoporosis is possible by adhering to a calcium-rich diet, Yogasana, Pranayama and regular checkups with a qualified orthopedic doctor.
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Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna’s Yogashaastra Studio.
A popular studio that helps you find natural solutions for complete health.
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Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into this discipline over 25 years ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh (India).
Dr. Rita Khanna believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, Dr. Rita Khanna has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy. She is also imparting Yoga Teachers Training.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is running a Yoga Studio in Secunderabad (Hyderabad, India).
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How can I Increase my Bone Density Naturally?
By Faye Martins and Sangeetha Saran
Bone density is an essential measure of health and well-being—especially in older adults. Low bone density can lead to osteoporosis and other medical complications, which can considerably affect the quality of life if left untreated. The good news is that there are steps you can take to help prevent or even reverse low bone density. From dietary changes to exercise habits to lifestyle modifications, there are various natural ways to increase your bone density without relying on medication or invasive procedures. Let’s explore the various natural approaches you can take to improve your bone density and stay feeling strong and healthy for years to come.
Osteoporosis is a health condition that causes bones to become weak. The condition often affects older adults but can also affect younger people. Osteoporosis can lead to serious health problems, such as broken bones.
There are many things you can do to help prevent or treat osteoporosis. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. Exercise and weight-bearing activities can also help strengthen bones. If you have osteoporosis, your doctor may prescribe medication to help keep your bones strong.
Phases of Osteoporosis
There are four main phases of osteoporosis: early, moderate, severe, and end-stage.
Early osteoporosis is when bone loss occurs, but there are no noticeable symptoms yet. This phase can last for years without treatment.
Moderate osteoporosis is when bone loss has progressed, and symptoms start to appear. These can include back pain, a hunched posture, and fractures. Treatment is essential at this stage to prevent further bone loss.
Severe osteoporosis is when bone loss is advanced, and there is a high risk of fractures. This stage often requires hospitalization and long-term care.
End-stage osteoporosis is the most severe condition, characterized by extremely low bone density and a high risk of fractures. There is no cure for osteoporosis, but treatments can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
What if I Already Have Osteoporosis?
If you have osteoporosis, there are still things you can do to help prevent the condition from worsening. First, getting enough calcium and vitamin D. You can get these nutrients from food or supplements. Be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen. Additionally, weight-bearing exercise is vital for people with osteoporosis. This type of exercise helps to strengthen bones and slow the rate of bone loss. Swimming and other non-weight-bearing exercises are also beneficial and can help improve your overall fitness level.
The Different Types of Bones
There are four main types of bones in the human body: long, short, flat, and irregular. Long bones, like those in the arms and legs, are longer than wide. Short bones, like those in the wrists and ankles, are roughly equal in length and width. Flat bones, like those in the ribs and shoulder blades, are thin and flattened. Irregular bones, like those in the spine, have a variety of shapes.
Each type of bone has a different purpose. Long bones help us move by providing leverage. Short bones protect delicate organs like the eyes and provide muscle attachment points. Flat bones act as shields for vital organs or provide support for muscles. Irregular bones give our bodies strength and stability.
The different shapes of bones also affect how strong they are. Long bones tend to be strong because they can bear weight without breaking. Short bones are less likely to break because they have a greater surface area to disperse force. Flat bones are more likely to fracture because they don’t have much depth to absorb impact. Irregular bones are the most vital type because their unique shapes make them resistant to forces from many directions.
Factors That Affect Bone Density
Many factors affect bone density. Age is the most significant factor, with bones becoming weaker and more porous. Other risk factors for low bone density and osteoporosis include a family history of the condition, being female (particularly after menopause), having a small body frame, eating disorders, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain medications (such as corticosteroids). Some chronic medical conditions can also lead to weak bones.
You can do several things to help keep your bones healthy and strong. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is crucial for bone health. Calcium is found in many foods, including milk, cheese, yogurt, leafy green vegetables, and fish with edible bones (such as sardines). Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and can be obtained from sunlight or certain foods (such as fatty fish) or supplements. Weight-bearing exercise helps to stimulate new bone growth and maintain existing bone mass.
How to Increase Bone Density Naturally
As we age, it’s not uncommon for our bone density to decrease. This can lead to an increased risk of fractures and other bone-related injuries. While some medications can help increase bone density, there are also some natural ways. Here are a few tips:
1. Eat a calcium-rich diet: Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium. Other good options include leafy green vegetables, tofu, and nuts.
2. Get enough vitamin D: Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. You can get it by spending time in the sun or taking supplements.
3. Exercise regularly: Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, and lifting weights can help to increase bone density.
4. Don’t smoke: Smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis (a condition that causes bones to become fragile).
5. Limit alcohol intake: Too much alcohol can lead to osteoporosis.
Foods That Help Increase Bone Density
You may have heard that milk is good for strong bones, but did you know other foods can also help increase bone density? Here are some foods to incorporate into your diet to help keep your bones healthy and strong:
1. Dark leafy greens: These are excellent sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K – all nutrients essential for bone health. Try incorporating spinach, kale, or Swiss chard into your diet.
2. Fish: Fish is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for bone health. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are perfect choices.
3. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds are all good sources of magnesium – another nutrient essential for bone health. Incorporate a handful of nuts, a tablespoon, or two seeds into your diet daily.
4. Beans: Beans are a great source of protein and minerals like phosphorus and calcium – both of which play a role in bone health. Black beans, kidney beans, lentils, and soybeans are all good choices to add to your diet.
5. Dairy products: Dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese are rich in calcium – an essential mineral for bone health. Choose low-fat or fat-free options whenever possible to limit saturated fat intake.
Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Bones
Many vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy bones. Calcium may be the most well-known, but vitamin D and magnesium are also important.
Getting enough calcium is crucial for bone health. The best way to get calcium is through your diet, by eating calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy green vegetables, and fish. You may need to supplement if you don’t eat enough of these foods.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. You can get vitamin D from sunlight exposure or a supplement. You may also need a higher dose of vitamin D if you have dark skin or don’t get much sun exposure.
Magnesium is another mineral that’s important for bone health. It’s in whole grains, dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. Like calcium, magnesium helps build strong bones and teeth.
Exercise for Strong Bones
It is essential to exercise for strong bones. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises help to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Walking, running, lifting weights, and playing tennis are all excellent exercises for strong bones.
If you have osteoporosis, it is essential to consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Increasing your bone density naturally is a great way to ensure healthy bones for the future. By following these simple tips, you can do just that in no time! Eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D, weight-bearing exercises like walking or running, and avoiding smoking are easy ways to ensure your bones stay strong. Take care of yourself now so you can enjoy good health later on down the road!
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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