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Yoga After 50

Submitted by Eric Durak, MS - Wellness @ Home Workshops and The Cancer Wellness Company. For more information about Eric Durak visit:

While I believe you need to incorporate more intense forms of exercise for optimal health, such as anaerobic exercise (high intensity interval training) and strength training, there’s no doubt that milder, low-impact forms of exercise such as yoga can be an important part of a comprehensive exercise program. Yoga is particularly useful for promoting flexibility and core muscles, and has been proven beneficial if you suffer with back pain. A recent study has also shown that regular yoga classes can help improve atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).

A recent New York Times article addresses the benefits of yoga after 50, pointing out that “yoga can be practiced fully and deeply at any age.” Naturally, as your body changes, your practice will need to be modified as well. This applies to any form of exercise; always listen to your body. In the article, Dr. Loren Fishman, a back-pain specialist in Manhattan who uses yoga in his rehabilitation practice, gives the following advice:

“...[A]ging brings impairments of range, motion, strength and balance that can require modifications, even among veteran yogis, like using the support of a chair or the wall for many poses. In addition, students may begin to feel the effects of arthritis, injuries and other ailments that may require students skip certain poses altogether. Someone with osteoporosis, for example, may want to avoid headstands and poses requiring extreme spinal flexion or extension, while someone with glaucoma may want to avoid taking the head below the heart in poses like headstand, handstand, shoulder stand and standing forward bends.”

Yoga is an excellent choice for helping you improve and maintain your balance, so make sure to include one-legged standing poses. Carrie Owerko, a New York-based teacher of Iyengar yoga who was also interviewed, mentions Tree Pose and Eagle Pose as examples. If you need to use a chair or wall for support, that’s okay.

About the Author

Eric Durak is the President of Medical Health and Fitness in Santa Barbara, CA. He is the director of the Wellness @ Home program for home care professionals, and has worked his entire career in clinical exercise and The Cancer Wellness Company. Eric has produced award winning programs for wellness and fitness in diabetes, cancer, bariatrics, arthritis, and renal disease.

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© 2013, All Rights Reserved by Eric Durak, Medical Health & Fitness

Posted July 2013 on