Yoga for seniors is now a £1.4 mn research topic at an UK varsity

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person practising yoga

Researchers are studying the benefits of a specially-adapted yoga programme for older people with multiple long-term health conditions.

A major £1.4 million study investigating the benefits that yoga brings to older people with multiple long-term health conditions is about to begin at Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.

The four-year study is funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and follows evidence that people with a number of long-term health conditions are more likely to have reduced physical function, lower quality of life and life expectancy, combined with more need for support with mental health issues.

The study aims to determine both the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a specially-adapted yoga programme for older adults with multimorbidity.

The £1.4 million study is hiring about 600 adults aged 65 and above who have multi-morbidity from across 12 different locations in the UK. The main focus of the study is assessing the effect of a yoga programme on people’s overall quality of life.

In the UK, two thirds of people over the age of 65 have multimorbidity, which is defined as having two or more long-term health conditions. Conditions include diabetes, heart disease and asthma, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

The more health problems someone has, the more likely they are to consult a GP, take prescribed drugs and be admitted to hospital. Treatments associated with long-term health conditions account for 70% of NHS expenditure and further research is needed to identify cost-effective treatments for this patient group.

The study therefore aims to determine both the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a specially-adapted yoga programme for older adults with multimorbidity.

Professor George Marston, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at Northumbria University, said: “I am absolutely delighted that this project has been funded. As our society ages, finding strategies that lead to healthy old age is becoming more and more important. Garry and his team have the skills and experience to make this project into something with tangible, direct benefits for a large proportion of our society, and will have huge impact in the coming years.”

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