Yoga Can Reduce Frailty In Older People, Brigham And Women's Hospital Study Finds

Yoga may help prevent frailty in older adults, according to local researchers.

Monday, June 12th 2023, 12:32 pm

By: CBS News, News On 6


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Yoga may help prevent frailty in older adults, according to local researchers.

For 76-year-old Patricia Walden, yoga is a way life.

"My life is organized around my practice. I don't schedule anything for the morning unless I'm teaching a workshop," she told WBZ-TV.

Walden has been practicing yoga for more than 50 years and says it's given her a leg up.

"When you're doing something that's embodied and you're lifting your chest and focusing on your breath, you don't feel your age," she said.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found regular yoga practice reduces frailty in older people.

Frailty is a geriatric syndrome affecting as many as half of adults 80 and older.

"Frailty is a condition where we might decline more abruptly with something like an infection," said geriatrician Dr. Julia Loewenthal, the lead study author.

She looked at the effects of yoga on frailty markers like walking ability, handgrip, balance and lower extremity strength.

"Yoga seemed to positively impact gait or walking speed and also lower extremity strength most strongly. When people practice about 2 to 3 times a week, that seems to be an effective, what we would call 'dose' of yoga," she told WBZ.

Walden says you're never too old to try something new.

"Just give it a try. Give it two tries. And you'll get hooked," she said.

Doctors recommend looking for a trained, certified yoga instructor and ideally someone with experience working with older people. 

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