Thursday, 08 October 2020 14:24
By Dr. Sarah Avery, DPT, PYT, RYT-200 | Families Today
Photos by Sarah Avery. Photos by Sarah Avery.

Osteoporosis affects 55 percent of the population age 50 and older in the United States. Osteoporosis is most prevalent in post-menopausal women due to hormonal changes from reduced estrogen and progesterone production.

There are also a number of factors that may also contribute to osteoporosis including certain medications, lifestyle habits (ie. diet, exercise, and sleep), and other diseases. 

Over time bones become porous and fragile due to an imbalance in the activity of osteoclasts (cells that absorb bone) and osteoblasts (cells that form bone). Osteoclast activity is higher and causes an increased rate of resorption of bone leading to porous bones. The most common sites include the low back, hips, and the long bones of the legs. When bones become porous and fragile there is a higher risk for fractures in these areas. 

There is considerable research outlining the correlation between spinal compression fractures and osteoporosis. Compression fractures affect approximately 25 percent of all postmenopausal women in the United States. The prevalence of this condition steadily increases with advancing age, reaching 40 percent in women 80 years of age. 

Posture is often dependent on our poor habits and changes that occur as we age. For example, as we age, the postural muscles of the spine tend to get weaker and the upper spine starts to curve forward, called thoracic kyphosis. When this happens, the loads through the vertebrae are no longer equal, causing most of the weight to be put through only one side of the bone. When this amount of load cannot be equally dispersed and the bone is not strong anymore, the bones will break. These compression fractures can be painful, debilitating, and decrease quality of life. 

Improving an individual’s posture requires education about how we hold our body and improving the strength of the postural muscles. Yoga is one of the key exercises that improves both posture when done consistently (4-6 months). The results of yoga include improved posture, improved balance, better coordination, greater range of motion, improved strength, and better gait. Improving posture is especially important for reducing the stress to the vertebrae associated with spinal compression fractures.

Another important factor to consider for those with osteoporosis is balance and stability. Falls among the elderly, especially those with osteoporosis, are associated with high morbidity and mortality and can involve high-cost medical intervention. In fact, falls are responsible for 90% of the growing increase in hip fractures. One out of three adults aged 65 and older fall each year. Like strength training, balance improves with practice. Challenging the balance system consistently in a safe environment improves that system, and makes you feel more confident in overcoming slips, trips, and falls that lead to fractures.

In addition to helping your posture, Yoga reduces the risk of falling, which is the main cause of fractures in women with osteoporosis. A long-term balance training program for women with osteoporosis can improve the quality of life of the individual. Yoga also helps to reduce the anxiety that may be associated with the fear of falling. 

This is why Goodemote PT has created unique and well-rounded programs that use Medical Therapeutic Yoga in a workshop setting for 4-weeks. The workshop is led by a Doctor of Physical Therapy and certified Professional Yoga Therapist can be used in conjunction with your medical treatment for your best results. 

Additionally, we have a small group training program for Osteoporosis that integrates weight lifting and yoga to give you the maximum benefit. Here are different phases of our osteoporosis program. 

Phase 1 classes are a “foundations” series in which you will learn the lifts and yoga poses in great detail. Classes are held twice per week for six weeks with no more than four people in the class. 

Each class is an hour long and begins with a movement prep to warm up the muscles and joints you will use for the lifts done that day. Weighted vests are used during the movement prep to safely and effectively load the bones of the spine and the hips. 

The last half hour of the sessions finishes with a guided yoga session that uses researched foundational poses that have been shown to improve bone mineral density, posture, and balance. The expert instructors have a working knowledge of what poses are unsafe when considering osteoporosis and will guide you through sequences that not only are safe but show you how to move better through everyday activities. 

Small class sizes ensure that you are getting the attention you need during lifting and yoga to know that you are doing the lifts and poses correctly. No experience is necessary, this is what the foundations class is all about!

Phase 2 is geared toward building confidence in participants so they can do some of the lifts and yoga on their own, while still providing guidance throughout the program. 

We have seen great improvement in confidence, strength, posture, and balance in our Osteoporosis Program as well as our Medical Therapeutic Yoga Workshops for Osteoporosis. 

Join us for the next session of the Osteoporosis Program and the Yoga Workshop, both starting in October! Our well-rounded research-based programs focus on your goals while considering your individual medical history. 

For more information go to fysiofitpt.com, call us at 518-306-6894 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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