Optimization of Physical Activity as a Countermeasure of Bone Loss: A 5-Year Study of Bikram Yoga Practice in Females
Sophia N. Sangiorgio, Arnob K. Mukherjee, Nicole W. Lau, Apurba Mukherjee, Prithwis Mukhopadhyay, Edward Ebramzadeh
Osteoporosis, Bone Mineral Density (BMD), Exercise
ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, the number of people diagnosed with osteoporosis has increased dramatically due to many factors. While it has been asserted that one variable associated with preserving bone health is participation in high-impact exercises, those same exercises are also well documented to damage the hip and knee joints. Therefore, the goal of the present study was to evaluate the potential benefits of a highly regimented, low impact weight-bearing exercise, Bikram Yoga. Specifically, the bone mineral content was measured using DEXA analysis of the proximal femur and lumbar spine of nine female Bikram Yoga instructors between the ages of 30 and 59, who not only participated in a minimum of 3 classes (4.5 hours) a week, but also actively taught Bikram Yoga classes. These same participants, who remained active as instructors and practitioners, were rescanned five years later. The results of the study, which focused on the percent change in individual bone mineral density over the five-year period were as follows: the premenopausal subjects showed a mean increase in BMD of 6.6% at the femoral neck, 2.0% for the total hip, and 1.0% for the total lumbar spine. In contrast, post-menopausal subjects revealed a mean decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) of ﹣6.0%, ﹣8.1%, and ﹣5.6% in the femoral neck, total hip, and total lumbar spine, respectively. Consequently, the results of this study suggest that performing Bikram Yoga may preserve, or even perhaps, increase bone mineral density in pre-menopausal women and hence, may be an effective countermeasure for preventing osteoporosis.