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Submitted by Dr. Jennifer Penrose of Penrose & Associates Physical Therapy

A statement by Cleo as I interviewed her on my “Stay Healthy Southsound Podcast.” We took a deep dive into her story and how she believes Yoga is the closest thing to a miracle for her. Cleo has had several health challenges thrown at her: cancer, arthritis, COPD, and blood clots to name just a few. She is not a candidate and never will be for knee replacements due to the blood clots. She came to Penrose & Associates Physical Therapy to learn what we could do for her. She understands that to help her arthritic knees she has to stay flexible and strong. Yet it is a delicate dance. She can’t do too much weight bearing as that will irritate her knees. This is what all knee arthritis people deal with. It hurts to exercise but yet it hurts when I don’t move!” This is where physical therapy comes in.

Jennifer Penrose from Penrose Physical Therapy headshot
Jennifer Penrose. Photo courtesy: Penrose & Associates Physical Therapy

We can help you figure out the right types of exercise, how much, which ones to avoid, and techniques to avoid overloading the knee with stairs and getting up off a chair. We fine tune what works and what doesn’t with each person. We don’t hand every knee arthritis patient the same exercises as each body structure and issues are a bit different.

Once Cleo learned those tips and tricks and what strength activities worked for her she was well on her way with her knees. She also received specific “unloader” knee arthritis braces that unload the arthritis pain in her knees as she walks around. As we wrapped up physical therapy she knew she needed something else to keep her moving and keep her accountable. She also had some back and neck arthritis as well that needed attention. That is where our yoga for arthritis and osteoporosis classes came in. She tried our class and has never looked back.

At Penrose Physical Therapy we chose specific yoga poses based on Dr. Fishman’s long studies demonstrating increased bone density with these poses. We know almost half of all women over 60 have some softening of bone and nearly 40% of men over 65 as well. It is wise for us to select specific yoga poses with modifications so that our clients with arthritis and softening of bone do not injure themselves. We keep the class sizes very small (more like group training) to allow the instructor to give individual feedback and provide a more successful experience.

You may be wondering how does yoga stimulate bone density? Bone is stimulated by force but many times the aging population cannot tolerate excessive weights or they have arthritis limiting weight bearing activities. When you perform a yoga stretch you are making the muscles pull on the bone which is a “bone stimulating force.” One muscle group pulls one way and the other pulls the other direction and this opposing force on the bone stimulates bone density. When done correctly and held for long enough you will stimulate the bone to get stronger.

Health benefits from yoga:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being
  • Help manage your symptoms of depression and anxiety that are due to difficult situations.
  • Improve balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength
  • Reduce risk factors for chronic diseases like heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Improve bone density
  • Help manage arthritis, low back pain, neck pain, asthma, and insomnia

You are welcome to attend one of our yoga classes for free when you mention this article. You have to register.  Clases are head 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, or 1 p.m. Fridays.

You are also welcome to a free physical therapy consult if you are unsure if physical therapy is the right place to start. We are happy to help. Penrose Physical Therapy is located 3 miles from Jubilee, at 1445 Galaxy Dr. NE Suite 301 in Lacey. Call 360.456.1444 or visit the Penrose Physical Therapy website for free tips and resources.

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