Yoga and Pilates are two forms of exercise that receive a lot of media attention. From Hollywood starlets toting Pilates mats around town to informal groups practicing yoga in Michigan’s parks, it seems as if the most fit people participate in one or the other. The benefits of both are well documented. Each helps to build core strength, balance and overall flexibility. But for many older adults, the idea of joining any form of exercise that requires them to lie on a mat on the ground or floor may not hold much appeal. Those living with osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease or any other physical impairment, may think it just isn’t possible for them to participate.

But finding a form of exercise that helps to improve core strength and flexibility is increasingly more important as we age. Falls remain one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in the aging population. And a lack of flexibility and core strength are leading causes of falls.

Chair Yoga can be a solution. It is yoga modified so it can be performed in a seated position, allowing older adults or those with physical limitations to realize the benefits of yoga:

  • Stronger core
  • Increased flexibility, mobility and balance
  • Improved feeling of well-being
  • Better breathing and increased oxygen intake
  • Improved relaxation response to stress
  • Weight loss and weight control

For seniors, yoga has also been shown to help manage the chronic pain and symptoms that accompany health conditions such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cardiac disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Once you check with your family physician to obtain their approval to try chair yoga, there are a few different ways you can get started. Here are a few resources you might find helpful:

  • Many senior centers across the state of Michigan offer chair yoga or similar exercise programs. You can use this search directory to find a Michigan senior center  near you.
  • Yoga for the Heart – Sitting Fit Anytime.

Do you participate in a chair yoga class at an assisted

living community or senior center in Michigan? Let us know how it is going!