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The efficacy of yoga on improving quality of life in older adults

1 May 2008


Overall Clinical Bottom Line: Based on limited but supportive evidence of mixed quality, cost/benefit analysis, and clinical expertise, we believe yoga to be beneficial for improving quality of life in older adults. Yoga has the potential to minimize the effects of factors that negatively impact quality of life, such as pain, depression, anxiety, and disrupted sleep. There is not enough research to conclude whether yoga is more effective than tai chi or resistance training on improving quality of life. Based on our literature review, we recommend yoga for older clinical patients as a safe and effective way to maintain and improve their physical well-being, either as an adjunct to therapy or as continuation of a fitness program after discharge from physical therapy.

Clinical Scenario: We are physical therapy (PT) students intending to practice in outpatient clinics in communities where older adults are active (Hood River, OR and Sequim, WA). Yoga is a popular type of physical activity offered at many recreational centers and within physical therapy practice settings. As PTs, we are in a position to either incorporate yoga into our own clinical practices or make recommendations for participation in yoga classes to our patients. We would like to know if yoga is an effective modality to improve quality of life in older adults. Specifically, is 30 minutes of yoga, three times a week, more effective in maintaining or improving quality of life than strength training or nothing at all?


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