Bone Matters | Wesley Mission School for Seniors
It was my honour and pleasure to be holding this holiday workshop for the students at Wesley Mission’s School for Seniors. My heart was so full after today’s workshop as I saw happy souls walk away with courage and confidence in themselves both inside and out! Well done to all the speakers today and also the seniors for showing up!
It’s a common misunderstanding that bones are like ‘dead matter’. That time is your bones’ worst enemy and that there is NOTHING you can do about it.
Well, that’s NOT entirely true. In fact, bones are ALIVE and far more than the common misbelief. If they are alive, it means they need care!
Bones are organs and continue to rebuild until you die. It’s just that their growth slows down as you age. As you age, bones do lose their strength (also measured as Bone Mass Density), which is why older people are more prone to breaking their bones. And even more frequent in female than in males. However, with dedicated care, you can prevent rapid loss of bone mass and even make changes to your (perhap, rigid) posture. Age is no limitation!
For this workshop today, my audience was senior people all over 55+. The goal of the session was to help them understand that we are not ‘withering’ away with brittle bones. In contrary, the goal is to help them learn how about bone density, techniques to increase bone mass (particularly using yoga) and how correct postural alignment can be achieved over time.
I’m not going to share the presentation on this blog post but for those who are interested, send me an email for further information.
Some key takeaways from the session:
1. There are 206 bones in a fully grown adult body, representing 15-20% of body weight.
2. Our body is continuously removing OLD bone and replacing it with NEW bone through a process called ‘remodelling’, all throughout our lives.
3. Starting as early as 40 years old, the replacement of new bone becomes SLOWER than the removing. This is when bone mass density (BMD) starts decreasing.
4. BMD is the highest between 20-45 years old with men having both larger and stronger bones than women.
5. Women experience more rapid drop in BMD during their menopause years due to hormonal changes that stagnates the the speed of bone remodelling.
4. Increasing BMD is important all throughout our lives through a healthy diet and exercise.
5. Yoga is a great way to increase bone density for the senior population due to its gentle and weight-bearing nature of the physical activities. ^However, please note that common ageing osteo or rheumatoid dysfunctions can have implications on the types of yoga poses one should avoid or practise. It’s is highly recommended that you work with a trained yoga therapies for a tailored yoga program and get clearance from a certified medical practitioner.
6. The recommended calcium intake for women over 45 is 1200mg and for men over 45 is 1000mg. Vitamin D is 1000ug for both groups. A common practise is to “increase” the calcium through taking calcium oral supplements. In a healthy diet for this population should see enough of calcium intake. So, it’s best to check with your doctor (drawing bloods) to see whether supplementation is required. Meanwhile Vitamin D may be the more prominent mineral that is lacking to help with bone growth, seeing the need for supplement intake.
7. Last but not least, we spent much time discussing the important of our anatomical alignment. How our muscles will naturally recruit the correct ones and find balance when we are able to bring ourselves closer to alignment. For most people, perfect alignment is not possible. In fact, I personally believe we all suffer from some sort of chronic holding pattern. But being constantly aware of anatomical alignment properties helps us identify chronic issues we may be experiencing and alleviating symptoms of them.
8. Final note, we can trust that the bones will dry but the spirit never does. Therefore, remember always:
“A joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ” ~ Proverbs 17:22
Got more to share on this topic of yoga’s benefits for the bones? Please do comment below and be a light to the world!