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Using Yoga to Promote Bone Health and Reduce Fracture Risk in the Geriatric Population

Balk, Judith MD, MPH; Bernardo, Lisa Marie PhD, MPH, RYT

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: April/June 2011 - Volume 27 - Issue 2 - p 116–123
doi: 10.1097/TGR.0b013e31821bff95
Yoga as Therapy

In this article, we review the literature on the applicability of Hatha Yoga for bone health in a geriatric population. We also describe our recent pilot study assessing the effects of Hatha Yoga on bone turnover markers, and we discuss the logistics and feasibility of yoga in our study population, which comprised sedentary osteopenic women. We discuss the practical lessons learned from our pilot study. Yoga has the potential to decrease fracture risk in a geriatric population via several mechanisms, including improving balance, reducing fall risk and fear of falls, improving functioning, reducing hyperkyphosis, and improving bone turnover.

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences (Dr Balk) and Department of Health and Community Systems (Dr Bernardo), University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Correspondence: Judith Balk, MD, MPH, 300 Halket St, Magee-Womens Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (jbalk@magee.edu).

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.