Can your elderly loved one touch their toes?
If they’re anything like 91-year-old Bernice Bates, they can. Of course, Bates has been practicing yoga for half a century and was recently named the “World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher,” by the World Academy of Records and the Guinness World Records.
According to the Associated Press, Bates admits that there must be older instructors out there. But, the fact remains, yoga has been a central part of Bates’ life for decades—while prescriptions and trips to the doctor’s office have not. Nathan Wei, MD, a rheumatologist with over 30 years of experience says there are three key components to a good workout for seniors: low impact cardio, resistance training, and stretching. An improved sense of body awareness is also often seen in people who practice yoga regularly. For a senior, this enhanced awareness can translate into an increased confidence in their ability to get around without falling. “Balance is one of the first things we start losing as we age,” Lomax says. This is why she has some of the seniors who come to her classes use chairs or a wall to help steady them in certain poses.
Research on yoga is still in its infancy, but some promising results regarding the benefits of practicing the discipline have been published.
Yoga has been shown to:
- Improve sleep quality and improve depression
- Reduce stress
- Help control blood sugar in people with diabetes
- Enhance respiratory function
- Help alleviate arthritis pain
- Increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis
- Improve balance
- Moderate chronic pain
Originally written by Anne-Marie Botek, http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/yoga-for-seniors-149296.htm