Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Marla Ahlgrimm on Yoga's Benefits for Osteoporosis

Marla Ahlgrimm
Osteoporosis leads to painful fractures due to loss of bone mass, according to Marla Ahlgrimm. More than 44 million Americans suffer from low bone mass, and osteoporosis is responsible for 1.5 million fractures annually. Surgery and drugs can alleviate pain, but studies have shown that exercise is the best treatment, especially low impact, bone-strengthening yoga.

Q: Who is typically at risk for developing osteoporosis?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A number of factors can increase the likelihood that a person will develop osteoporosis, including age, being female, race, low body weight, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices.

Q: How can I prevent osteoporosis?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A good preventative strategy is to do some bone-strengthening exercise, and eat a bone-healthy diet. Don’t smoke and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.

Q: Is osteoporosis painful?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Not so much in the early stages, but as osteoporosis progresses and bones become brittle and break, the pain can be severe, yes.

Q: Is yoga better for osteoporosis than conventional exercise?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes. Conventional exercise approaches have many drawbacks, including the risk of injuries and joint wear-and-tear.

Q: What poses do you recommend, in order to get the best results?

Marla Ahlgrimm: It’s always best to start with the easiest poses. Once you have mastered those, then move on to the moderately challenging ones that put more pressure on the bones. And finally, try the classic poses.

Q: What equipment is needed for yoga?

Marla Ahlgrimm: You don't need much to practice yoga. A rubber mat, towel and water is all you’ll need.

Q: How does a typical yoga class work?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Most yoga classes last for 60-75 minutes. There is a 15 minute period of breathing and warming up followed by the poses and about 15 minutes of relaxation at the end.

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