Chair yoga benefits seniors, those with limited mobility, disability, or acute injuries. Wheelchair yoga and gentle chair yoga strengthen body and mind, with research-backed benefits. A 2017 study published in The Journal of Geriatrics found that chair yoga participants with osteoarthritis experienced a statistically significant reduction in pain with daily activities and improvement in walking speed.

A 2012 study found that chair yoga reduced the risk of falls and moderated the anxiety many seniors felt around falling. Falling is the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. It is estimated that 50% of adults over the age of 80 fall annually. This study, along with an earlier study in 2010 conclude that chair yoga for seniors can help reduce the risk and fear of falling.

Researchers examined the effects of chair yoga on physical function, including balance and mobility and found that chair yoga significantly improved the quality of life in the participants. “We think that the physical poses we used in the chair yoga and chair-based exercise groups were an important factor in improving quality of life for the participants in our study,” said Juyoung Park, Ph.D

How this can help seniors:

Stay Active
Part of getting older is gradually slowing down. Far from the frantic pace of youth, many seniors have the unique opportunity to take their time in their daily activities. For some, injuries or chronic pain may require a slower pace or to be more intentional as they move about their day. Fortunately, chair yoga for seniors can accommodate the natural aging process while also helping those with limited mobility stay active.

Get fit and healthy with reduced risk of falls and injury
Chair yoga provides a safe environment for stretching, strengthening and flexibility while decreasing the risk of falls by using a chair. It also provides important breathing and relaxation techniques utilizing stationary poses that use isometric contraction and guided relaxation of various muscle groups.

Improve balance control 
A new study finds that a chair yoga program can help to significantly improve the balance control of older adults with Alzheimer’s, indicating that motor learning is still possible, even in people with dementia. What’s more, this study suggests that the program is not only safe and feasible but enjoyable as well.

Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:

Tip #1 – Avoid burns in the shower. Install a thermostatically controlled or pressure balance shower valve to prevent scalding.

Tip #2 – Reduce the risk of harm from adverse drug events. Keep a list of your medicines and take all medications only as directed.

Tip #3 – Reduce back strain caused by reaching.

Tip #4 – Ensure gas leaks are noticeable. Request that your gas company modifies your stove so that the gas odor is strong enough to be noticeable if your pilot light goes out.

Financial abuse affects seniors differently than younger adults. Find out how by visiting the next article.

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