This is the first yoga study reporting the physical function adaptations in seniors. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Physical-Performance Outcomes and Biomechanical Correlates from the 32-Week Yoga Empowers Seniors Study.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016 ;2016:6921689. Epub 2016 Nov 3. PMID: 27885329
Background. Yoga Empowers Seniors Study (YESS) quantified physical demands associated with yoga performance using biomechanical methods. This study evaluated the efficacy of the program on physical function outcomes. Methods. Twenty community-dwelling older adults aged 70.7± 3.8 years attended biweekly 60-minute Hatha yoga classes for 32 weeks. Four domains of the physical measurements including (1) functional performance, (2) flexibility, (3) muscle strength, and (4) balance were taken at the baseline, 16-week and 32-week time points. Repeated-measures ANOVA omnibustests and Tukey's post hoc tests were employed to examine the differences in each outcome variable across the 3 time points. Results. Improved timed chair stands (p<0.01), 8-foot up and go (p<0.05), 2-min step test (p<0.05), and vertical reach (p = 0.05) performance were evident. Isometric knee flexor strength (p<0.05) and repetitions of the heel rise test (p<0.001) also increased following the 32-week intervention. Both flexibility and balance performance remained unchanged. Conclusions. Significant improvements in physical function and muscle-specific lower-extremity strength occur with the regular practice of a modified Hatha yoga program designed for seniors. These adaptations corresponded with the previously reported biomechanical demands of the poses.