The older we get, the more common frailty becomes. It's a loss of function, strength, stamina, and overall health and fitness that increases the risk of falls, hospitalizations, and early death. But a review of 33 randomized controlled trials, published online March 14, 2023, by Annals of Internal Medicine, found that yoga may offer some protection against frailty. The trials involved a total of almost 2,400 people ages 65 or older. Research teams from Harvard and elsewhere found that people who practiced yoga improved two markers of frailty — walking speed and the ability to get up from a chair — compared with people who didn't practice yoga. Many of the studies focused on the benefits of chair-based yoga. The frequency and length of yoga sessions varied. (Generally, two or three one-hour sessions per week are recommended for good health). Researchers note that yoga can be practiced at home with exercises tailored to your abilities or limitations. If you already have a regular exercise routine, such as walking and strength training, consider adding yoga into the mix for the extra benefits it may provide. You can take a class at a local YMCA, senior center, or yoga studio, or try it at home (find videos on YouTube by searching for "yoga for older adults," "chair yoga," or "yoga for seniors").
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