Here's Why Older Adults Should Start Doing More Yoga

Downward dog, warrior I, cobra pose — these are a few yoga poses you may find when strolling into a local yoga class. While it's widely accepted yoga does wonders for flexibility, research is starting to discover other health benefits, and how yoga affects older populations. Naturally, bodies change with age resulting in weaker stability, less mobilization, decreased flexibility and endurance, and a slower pace (per Yoga Journal). Adding yoga to your fitness regimen can be a powerful tool to help with any age-related changes.

For example, a 2001 study published in Preventive Cardiology found that yoga not only increases flexibility, but it increases muscular strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, and lung health. In a 2020 study, the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found similar results of improved body composition and cardio-respiratory fitness when they tested the effects of moderate-intensity Hatha yoga on middle-aged women with a sedentary lifestyle.

According to Yoga Journal, other health benefits include strengthening core muscles and helping with osteoporosis, arthritis, hormonal changes, insomnia, and pain.

Beginner-friendly yoga poses to do after sitting all day

Yoga's health benefits are accessible to everyone regardless of age. The Yoga in America study, created on behalf of Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, points out that adults in their 50s account for 17% of those who practice yoga, while adults aged 60 and older account for 21% (per Washington Post).

After a day spent sitting, there may be certain yoga poses worth holding. Before entering any pose, center your mind and bring awareness into your body by closing your eyes and taking deep breaths. If you've been stuck on the computer all day, start in a tabletop position (via Yoga Journal). Then gently "cat and cow" if you want to feel a deeper wrist stretch. Another excellent stretch is paschimottanasna, also called forward leg bend. Begin seated on the floor with your legs stretched out, then gently reach to touch your toes. Another pose is legs-up-the-wall or viparita karani, which is a calming position that also boosts circulation –- the perfect yoga pose for ending the day.