Feeling stiff? You’re not alone. The ancient practice of yoga has now become the cornerstone of many people’s wellness routines. Which is little wonder considering its range of benefits include relaxation, pain relief and even lowering anxiety levels.
But that's not all. Now, new analysis by the University of Edinburgh has revealed the staggering effect that yoga can have. It found, without doubt, thatyoga improves mental and physical health in the over 60s. Could this mean that all you need to feel better is one of the best yoga mats and some time to relax?
Published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, researchers conducted a review of 22 studies that looked at the impact of yoga on mental and physical wellbeing. The focus was on participants over 60 years and above.The yoga programmes varied in duration from 30 to 90 minutes, and in length from one month to seven months.The statistical findings of the 22 studies looked at how yoga compared to other activities. These included chair aerobics and walking, as well as doing no activity.
Overall they found that, compared to doing no activity, practising yoga had helped to improve the following:
- Leg strength
- Sleep quality
- Vitality and perceived mental and physical health
And, when compared to other activities, yoga helped to improve the following:
- Lower body strength
- Lower body flexibility
Why yogaimproves mental and physical health in the over 60s
So, just why does yoga make such a difference to those in their 60s and above?“A large proportion of older adults are inactive,"says Divya Sivaramakrishnan, from the University’s Physical Activity for Health Research Centre. “This means they don’t 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.”
And, the fact that yoga is often a slow and steady exercise is one of the main reasons it can make all the difference.“Yoga is a gentle activity that can be modified to suit those with age-related conditions and diseases,” addsDivya.
More funding for the future
It was also revealed that a £1.4 million study will recruit almost 600 adults aged 65 and above who have multi-morbidity from 12 different UK locations. The study will last four years. This will focus on the effect that The British Wheel of Yoga’s Gentle Years Yoga 12-week programme can have on overall quality of life when compared to a control group.
The University of York’s Trials Unit is co-ordinating the clinical trial with Northumbria University’s Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation.
“Yoga brings wide-ranging benefits," says Associate Professor Garry Tew, from Northumbria’s Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation. “This includes an increase in strength, flexibility, balance and quality of life. Plus, reductions in stress, anxiety and depression.
“In older adults specifically, there is promising evidence that yoga can improve physical function and quality of life. But more work is needed to understand the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of yoga in older people with multi-morbidity.”
Continuing, he added: “We are also measuring participants’ use of healthcare resources. This will allow us to establish the cost-effectiveness of the yoga programme. If these results are positive, they will provide evidence for healthcare commissioners to fund yoga within the NHS.”
Sign up to our free daily email for the latest royal and entertainment news, interesting opinion, expert advice on styling and beauty trends, and no-nonsense guides to the health and wellness questions you want answered.
Miriam worked for woman&home for over five years and previously worked on the women's lifestyle magazines Woman and Woman's Own.
Prince Louis' missing finger is baffling fans in new picture
In a new photograph released by the Prince and Princess of Wales it appears that Prince Louis is missing finger - but what's really going on?
By Laura Harman Published
Prince Louis and Prince George’s special treatment that Prince William had to wait for
Prince Louis and Prince George's special treatment means they're allowed to break a royal rule at a younger age then Prince William was
By Emma Shacklock Published
11 no-strings sex apps for those who want casual sex
These are the best sex apps for commitment-free fun, plus tips from the experts to stay safe
By Emilie Lavinia Published
9 health benefits of using a vibrator, whether alone or with a partner
Your favorite sex toy can give you more of a boost than you think, here are all the benefits of a vibrator
By Faye M Smith Published
How to stop emotional eating for good, so you can build a better relationship with food
Learning how to stop emotional eating will allow you to focus on fuelling yourself up with nourishing meals...
By Lauren Hughes Last updated
What your metabolic age really says about your health (and how to calculate it)
Knowing your metabolic age can be helpful in ensuring your fitness levels are on track...
By Ali Horsfall Published
How much exercise per week do I need to do?
How much exercise per week you need to do depends on a whole variety of factors, from workout routine to sleep schedule
By Grace Walsh Published
Fitbits vs Apple Watches: what are the differences between the two?
By Amy Hunt Published
Fitbit Charge 3 vs Fitbit Charge 4: what is the difference between the older and the newer fitness tracker?
By Amy Hunt Published
Could you be addicted to your fitness tracker?
By Ali Horsfall Published