It's said our bones peak in their density in our twenties and – like all good climaxes – it's all downhill from there. Or is it?
Sloping shoulders, height loss, back pain, hunched posture, protruding abdomen: all signs of osteoporosis, a disease that the majority of women will contend with as they age. And owing to certain factors of the way we lead our lives, it's happening to us at younger and younger ages – those being poor diet and lack of exercise of course. Osteoporosis results from bone loss, leading to fragility within the skeleton making things all-around vastly more likely to break and even spontaneously fracture – the spine, wrists and hips being most susceptible.
Fortunately for all, osteoporosis can be entirely preventable. And one perfect place to forge your prevention is on the mat – aside from your plate (Check out 10 Reasons to Banish Soda and Top Ten Healthy Foods for Women for more on that). Yoga increases flexibility, strength and coordination – simultaneously – creating an all-star form of weight-bearing exercise for taking on the plight of bone loss. Yoga also targets the glands and organs of the body resulting in a steady supply of hormones that maintain bone density – something that becomes really important during menopause. Taking a one-hour yoga class three times a week will do wonders. But if that's not accessible to you, a 20-minute daily routine is equally as effective.
Here are our picks for five awesome yoga poses to prevent osteoporosis. If you're new to yoga, begin by holding the poses for a few long, deep breaths. As you progress, begin to hold the poses for longer and longer. It's best to learn these poses with a qualified teacher, and if you've already been diagnosed with osteoporosis or its precursor osteopenia, to consult your doctor.
1. Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog
4. Virabhadrasana 2 - Warrior 2
5. Trikonasana - Triangle
2. Utkata Konasan - Goddess
3. Setu Bandhasana - Bridge