Certain cancer treatments can put you at increased risk of weak or thinning bones. That means you may have a greater chance of broken bones or fractures.
Cancer treatment-related bone loss is often more severe and happens more quickly than age-related bone loss. Even after stopping treatments, the risk of bone loss may persist. Other factors that contribute to bone loss include smoking, caffeine, long-term use of corticosteroids and high soda intake.
Exercise and physical activity can help reduce your risk of bone loss. A regular routine of moderate activity can keep your bones strong and healthy—whether you are in active treatment, on your way through survivorship or want to counter non-cancer-related causes of osteoporosis.
Weight-bearing exercises work against gravity and can increase bone density. Exercises like walking, running, jumping and low-impact aerobics stimulate bone growth and slow down bone loss.
Strength and resistance training stresses your bone, which causes the osteoblasts, or bone-forming cells, to get to work.
Yoga helps with balance, which can help you prevent falls. Yoga postures also cause muscles to pull on bone, which stimulates bone-building cells.
Balance and building bone – a win-win combination
The benefits of a regular yoga routine go beyond balance. Research shows yoga can increase bone density, primarily in the spine. It also can lead to better flexibility and make everyday movements easier.
Practice this 12-minute yoga routine every other day to protect your bones.
Here are 12 poses researchers used in their study.
- Tree Pose
- Triangle Pose
- Warrior 2
- Side Angle Pose
- Revolved Triangle Pose
- Locust Pose
- Bridge Pose
- Reclining Hand-to-Big Toe Pose
- Reclining Hand-to-Big Toe Pose 2
- Sage’s Pose/Marachi’s Pose
- Lord of the Fishes Pose
- Corpse Pose
The video is appropriate for any age and includes ways to modify poses for beginners or anyone with balance concerns.
Dr. Leah Sherman is a naturopathic doctor with Goshen Center for Cancer Care. She specializes in integrative oncology to support patients in all stages of conventional cancer treatment and beyond. Her evidence-based, natural therapies help patients manage cancer-related side effects, improve quality of life and support wellness. She is also oncology yoga certified with Yoga 4 Cancer.