Study suggests yoga may improve longevity indicators in older adults


Yoga has long been associated with a variety of Health benefits — and it may even boost physical abilities associated with longevity, new research suggests.

A systematic review from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that yoga improves health indicators associated with reduced frailty and increased longevity in older adults. Look at 33 coincidentally In controlled studies in 12 countries with more than 2,000 participants, researchers found with “moderate confidence” that practicing yoga improved certain markers of frailty, including walking speed, lower-limb strength and endurance.

Julia Loewenthal, a geriatrician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who was involved in the research, said this is significant because many markers of frailty are “associated with clinically meaningful outcomes such as independent living and mortality.” She said she hopes older adults “will be encouraged and empowered through this research to adopt a regimen that works for them.”

Yoga involves physical poses, breathing, and meditation, and previous studies have looked at how it can improve balance and mobility, physical function, and mental well-being in older adults. The authors of the Brigham Review say it is the first to examine the impact of yoga on frailty – a multifaceted, difficult-to-treat health problem associated with increased falls, hospitalization and morbidity, and in most countries on the forefront of the population public health The world is dealing with a rapidly aging population.

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Frailty affects 7 to 12 percent of people over the age of 65 in the United States, according to the Medical University of South Carolina. It indicates that the loosely defined condition has symptoms such as weakness, slowness, easy fatigue, low stamina, and weight loss.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital were particularly excited by the strong link between yoga and walking speed, which has a “well-established association” with survival, Loewenthal said. “Walking slower may indicate developing the vicious cycle of frailty associated with earlier death,” she said.

Although standards for optimal “yoga dosage” have not been established, the authors note that previous studies have recommended two to three one-hour sessions per week.

The Brigham researchers note that the review has limitations. The studies they examined used different yoga styles, although most were hatha-based and the duration of yoga interventions ranged from 4 to 28 weeks. Many studies also had small sample sizes.

Yoga also didn’t seem to improve hand grip, another measure associated with frailty, and there was less evidence that it improved balance, possibly because many of the studies used chair-based methods. Nor is the practice necessarily more beneficial than other forms of exercise, such as tai chi, the authors note.

“All of these practices work across multiple body systems, which is probably why they’re helpful with frailty, and they’re all healthy choices,” Loewenthal wrote, adding that more research is needed to compare different forms of exercise and their effects on frailty .

Christian Osadnik, a professor of physical therapy at Australia’s Monash University who studies frailty, said it was “difficult to draw firm conclusions” from the Brigham research. He added that the review “unfortunately did not have strong outcome evidence actually saying yoga helps, prevents, or reverses frailty.”

Still, he says the review offers an avenue for further research and could counteract the negative stigma surrounding frailty. “[Some people think that] If someone is frail, they fall into the basket “too hard” and there’s not much we can do to help them,” Osadnik said. “Such information may help us to see that there is something we can do.”

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