Does yoga improve fitness in older adults?

Researchers at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, reviewed the evidence to determine whether physical fitness and function benefits are achieved through the practice of yoga.

First, the details.

  • 507 studies were identified
  • 10 studies with 544 participants were included in the review.

And, the results.

  • There was large variability in yoga styles and measurement outcomes, which made it challenging to interpret results of the studies.
  • Significant findings included moderate improvements for…
    • Gait
    • Balance
    • Upper/lower body flexibility
    • Lower body strength
    • Weight loss

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Yoga may engender improvements in some components of fitness in older adults. However, more evidence is needed to determine its effectiveness as an alternative exercise to promote fitness in older adults.”

Answers.com defines physical fitness as the capacity to carry out the day’s activities, pursue recreational activities, and have the physical capability to handle emergency situations.”

I believe most people who practice yoga would confirm that yoga helps them do all of that. And, researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Denver, tell us, “The practice of yoga for fitness and wellness in gyms, community centers, and yoga studios is broadening into yoga therapy… in schools, hospitals, and community treatment centers.”

I think there’s a consensus here.

2/7/11 19:49 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.