Yoga for Seniors, as a complement to traditional therapy for dementia, increases the mental and physical well-being of retired nursing home residents, according to research from Fooyin University. The current study suggests that yoga increases the desire for relaxation and improves clinical cognition in people with dementia. Dr Janna Michaels, Fooyin’s Education and Psychological Sciences Faculty member and principal investigator of the study, said: “Senior wellness activities are some of the most effective ways of increasing mental wellbeing and health in older adults. We have previously shown that yoga for seniors has an effect on anxiety and depression. “As we were designing this study we wanted to know more about what benefits seniors received from yoga compared to relaxation, with some special focus on the effect on cognitive function. “This study was highly collaborative and the students from Fooyin were able to incorporate a practical exercise routine with yoga to test this hypothesis. I hope this research has a positive effect on other seniors.”
What is Yoga for Seniors?
While you might think of yoga as a 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 Yoga for Seniors 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.
Yoga for Seniors Health Benefits
The resulting evidence shows Yoga for Seniors helps people in nursing homes. The participants encountered both physical and mental benefits after only 12 weeks of Yoga classes. According to the study, 48 percent of the participants had a positive response to the yoga practice. Further, yoga has been shown to reduce stress, improve energy levels, boost mood and general well being. Yoga for Seniors also reduces blood pressure and increases HDL. 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 for Seniors Associated Social Impact
Yoga for Seniors now has a new group program that is specifically designed to help seniors in older homes. This group program uses Yoga from across a range of religions and traditions and forms part of the established plan of Yoga for Seniors. All yoga classes take place on the left side of the yoga mat, with an additional group at midday that meets twice a week. The classes are free.