Yoga improves physical and mental health of older adults – Innovita Research

Yoga is a very popular physical activity, emphasizing breathing and flexibility. Believe it or not, many professional athletes, including MMA fighters, partake in yoga to improve their physical condition. Now scientists at The University of Edinburgh discovered that yoga for older adults helps maintaining better mental and physical health.

Older people could benefit a lot from yoga – it helps improving physical and mental health. Image credit: Jessmcintyre via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Yoga is so popular that wherever you live, you can pretty much find yoga classes. There are millions of yoga videos online, stores of sports equipment carry yoga mats and enthusiasts gather in groups on social media. It is quite a phenomenon with many celebrities talking about benefits of yoga and scientists confirming that this ancient practice does have numerous health benefits.

Now scientists found that people over 60 years old could enjoy anti-depression benefits, as well as improved sleep and vitality if they started doing yoga. Researchers reviewed 22 studies that had investigated the effects of yoga on physical and mental wellbeing in older adults. Scientists wanted to see if yoga offers any benefits when compared to walking or other kinds of aerobic exercise. It was also important to confirm the benefits of yoga against no movement at all. Reviewed studies included different programmes with varying duration and intensity. This is where scientists discovered numerous benefits for mental health for older adults – yoga reduced symptoms of depression, improved sleep quality and vitality.

Scientists also found numerous benefits to physical health, such as improved balance, flexibility and leg strength. These benefits were especially clear when compared to no movement at all, but even compared with other kinds of aerobic exercise and walking yoga offered a bunch of benefits. For example, yoga improved lower body strength, lower body flexibility and depression much more than other types of exercise of similar intensity.

This means that in this day and age of ageing population people should encourage elderly to partake in yoga. These activities should be promoted more, because they offer significant physical and mental health benefits. Divya Sivaramakrishnan, one of the authors of the study, said: “A large proportion of older adults are inactive, and do not meet the balance and muscle strengthening recommendations set by government and international health organisations. Based on this study, we can conclude that yoga has great potential to improve important physical and psychological outcomes in older adults. Yoga is a gentle activity that can be modified to suit those with age-related conditions and diseases”.

Yoga is a good exercise to partake in. It does not require a lot of equipment or any money to start. You can choose your degree of intensity and do it at your own pace. Also, it is a lot of fun and it is important that older adults would enjoy these activities.


Source: University of Edinburgh