Silver Yoga Benefits People in Nursing Homes
Silver Yoga, as a compliment to conventional therapy for dementia, improves the mental and physical health of elderly nursing home residents, according to research from Fooyin University published in a 2011 issue of International Psychogeriatrics.
What is Silver Yoga?
While you might think of yoga as trendy exercise for the young and fit, yoga is a therapeutic modality appropriate for many people regardless of their age or level of fitness. Silver yoga, also known as Silver Age Yoga, is yoga therapy for seniors. Created by yoga experts and tested for safety, the modified yoga poses in the Silver Yoga program accommodate the limited flexibility frequently found in this aging population. A typical Silver Yoga routine has four components. It starts with eight warm-up exercises, followed by seven gentle Hatha yoga poses, a relaxation pose and guided meditation.
Nursing Home Residents Do Yoga
To find out if Silver Yoga benefits people in nursing homes, the researchers enrolled 68 residents diagnosed with mild to moderate dementia – age 60 or older — living in a long-term care facility. Thirty-three participants completed three, 55-minute yoga classes per week for 12 weeks. For this study the researcher omitted the guided mediation portion of the Silver Yoga sequence to reduce the time of the class from 70 minutes to 55 minutes. The remaining 35 participants did not go to yoga classes and acted as the control group.
Silver Yoga Health Benefits
The resulting data shows Silver Yoga benefits people in nursing homes. The participants experienced both physical and mental benefits after only 12 weeks of Silver Yoga classes. These seniors also improved their muscle to fat ratio, blood pressure readings, heart function, lung function, flexibility, strength, endurance and balance. Taking Silver yoga classes also improved their emotional state by significantly reducing depression and incidences of problem behaviors.
Yoga References for Silver Yoga Benefits People in Nursing Homes
1. International Psychogeriatrics; Using Silver Yoga Exercises to Promote Physical and Mental Health of Elders with Dementia in Long-Term Care Facilities; J.T. Fan et al.; 2011.
2. Journal of Clinical Nursing; Physical Fitness of Older Adults in Senior Activity Centers After 24-Week Silver Yoga Exercises; Kuei-Min Chen et al.; 2008.
3. Silver Age Yoga: website
Feature photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net