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Yoga's benefits.

Q I keep reading about the benefits of yoga for older adults, but at 68 I'm not as flexible as I once was. Yoga looks uncomfortable and maybe a little painful. Is it really okay for us seniors?

A Just like aerobics can be done at a very intense pace and at a much lower intensity, yoga can include poses that are aimed at people who are very fit and flexible, with years of yoga training, as well as at people who are new to the exercise and who have limited flexibility. The typical image of someone doing yoga can be misleading, as it's often a person twisted up like a pretzel.

If you're new to yoga, you may want to look for classes in gentle Hatha yoga. I would advise taking a class--there are a growing number of classes specifically for seniors--and not rely on videos or books. Learning from a qualified yoga instructor will help reduce the risk of muscle strains or other injuries. If you're able to take yoga, I would recommend it, as this form of exercise helps improve muscle tone, balance, and strength, while also helping to relax you.

If you can't find a senior yoga class, look for a beginner's yoga class and be sure to tell the instructor if you have any physical limitations or other conditions that may affect what poses or movements you can do.

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Title Annotation:Ask The Doctor
Publication:Healthy Years
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2013
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