Building bone density

Loosely speaking, "bone density" refers to how strong and dense your bones are. To be specific, bone density is a measure of how tightly packed the cells and molecules in a bone are. The more tightly packed the tissue is, the higher the bone density, and the healthier the bone. Low bone density increases your risk of fracturing or breaking a bone.

As they age, most people lose bone density, partly because their bodies can't absorb the calcium and minerals they need for strong bones as readily as they once could. Bone density decreases gradually in men and women starting at age 30; in women, the decrease is more pronounced after menopause because estrogen, the ovarian hormone, plays a role in maintaining strong bones.

Weight-bearing exercises such as yoga with weights help bones retain density. When you lift a weight, your muscle pulls against your bones, which makes your bones experience stress. Detecting this stress, your body sends a signal to the cells in your bones that goes something like this: "Please get stronger and denser." Isn't it nice to know that some kinds of stress are actually good for your health?

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