Silver yoga improves physical fitness for seniors. You might be thinking, “Can senior citizens do yoga?” The answer is yes, with a doctor’s approval of course, according to a study from the School of Nursing at Fooyin University in Taiwan published the Journal of Clinical Nursing. This is good news for seniors who want to improve their physical fitness, but can’t or don’t want to do strenuous physical exercise.
What is Silver Yoga?
Silver Yoga is a type of yoga designed for seniors by Kuei-Min Chen and others from Fooyin University in 2007. The original 70-minute silver yoga class has four phases: a 20-minute warm-up of eight stretches followed by a five-minute rest; seven gentle Hatha yoga poses – which take 20 minutes to complete – followed by 10 minutes of relaxation; and finally 15 minutes of guided-imagery meditation.
Silver Yoga Study Participants
The participants in this Silver Yoga study included 189 people aged 60 and over, who had never done yoga of any kind. They were able bodied folks who could walk without assistance and took care of themselves in independent living situation. All participants frequently attended activities at their local senior center, such as singing and art classes.
Silver Yoga Routine
To find out if Silver Yoga improves physical fitness, researchers divided the participants in this study into three groups. The first group performed the original 70-minute Silver Yoga routine. The second group performed a 55-minute modified Silver Yoga routine, which omitted the guided-imagery meditation. The third group was the control group and did not do Silver Yoga. The yoga groups attended Silver Yoga classes led by a qualified instructor three times per week for 24 weeks. The researchers examined the participants after 12 weeks and then again at the end of the 24-week study.
Silver Yoga Results
The results confirm Silver Yoga improves physical fitness for seniors. Both yoga groups experienced significant improvements in all tested aspects of physical fitness. After both 12 and 24 weeks of Silver Yoga, the participants had better balance, could walk faster and had a lower body mass index. The data show the Silver Yoga classes resulted in improved cardiovascular function, along with increases in range of motion in the participant’s muscles and joints. The participants had lower blood pressure readings, increased lung capacity and could hold their breath longer. However, the group who did Silver Yoga without the guided-imagery meditation did not have a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure – which is the top number.