Yoga for Healthy Aging: Science or Hype?

Adv Geriatr Med Res. 2021;3(3):e210016. doi: 10.20900/agmr20210016. Epub 2021 Jul 13.


Yoga, one of the world's oldest health systems is receiving new attention for claims that it can contribute to healthy aging. Until recently, scientific evidence for its efficacy has relied heavily on small and poorly-designed research, but this is changing. Multiple, well-designed studies provide data showing that yoga practice has positive effects on cellular aging, mobility, balance, mental health, and prevention of cognitive decline-all areas of concern for older adults. Since the cost of implementing yoga-based community and home-based interventions is low-policymakers are also eyeing yoga practice as a cost-effective way to reduce medical costs and improve outcomes among a growing aging population. This commentary reviews the evidence for both physical and mental health benefits from yoga, as well as concerns about injuries that have been associated with certain types of yoga practice. It reveals a surprising range of yoga programs and difficulty levels that provide opportunities for almost anyone to participate and gain health benefits with practice.

Keywords: aging; mental health; physical health; yoga.