The skeletal system of the human body makes up 206 moveable bones in an adult designed to support movement of the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue and organs. The bones of the spine, of which there are 24 moveable vertebrae plus the tailbone (sacrum made of 5 bones fused together by age 30) and the cranial bones (fuse by age 2), are designed to protect the nervous system; the spinal cord and spinal nerves which animate and coordinate every function of the human body.
Our bones are made up of a hard shell on the outside, but the inside of the bones are spongy, porous, living tissue that is constantly making red blood cells and rebuilding itself. Bones also store minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium. Important vitamins to take for bone health include Vitamin D 1,000 IU per day and magnesium 220mg/day for women and 330mg/day for men. It is not recommended to take calcium supplements as excess calcium can be deposited in arteries and lead to narrowing of blood vessels or can lead to blood clots.
As humans age, bone density tends to decrease and it’s well known that weight bearing exercise, such as yoga, is important for bone health to increase density. It’s good to have a variation of weight bearing exercise such as walking, weight lifting, and yoga. However, the importance of yoga in keeping the joints and spine flexible should not be underestimated. As a person ages, when they stop bringing the joints through all the ranges of motion regularly, the tissues will harden and tighten. Eventually there will be a decrease in both strength and mobility, leading to more pain, injuries, and a lower quality of life. A regular yoga practice throughout life will help keep the tissues flexible, the nervous system adaptable, increase the life force energy in the body, as well as increase bone density and joint mobility.
* Photo Credit: Mikail Nilov