File this away for your next debate about Ashtanga being OK for older people

I really wanted to say “older practitioners” in the headline, but it didn’t quite fit on two lines, then.

Anyway, I’m extrapolating a little here, but I think this recent Well piece at the New York Times is pretty relevant to the Ashtanga asana practice. (Thoughts on asana coming tomorrow.) The reason is this: Ashtanga often is cited as being “an extremely vigorous” form of yoga, or very high impact, lots of stress on the wrists and elbows… you know what I mean.

It’s one of the reasons that Ashtanga and aging is such a popular topic.

So… I think this is worth adding to the reasons why Ashtanga is OK, after all:

Is there any scientific study to substantiate the claim that older people (over 45) should limit high impact exercises such as jogging, sprinting, etc.?

Actually, much of the recent science about high-impact exercise by “older people” like me — I prefer the term “seasoned,” by the way — reaches the opposite conclusion, suggesting that in many cases high-impact exercise can be beneficial for those middle aged and beyond. A seminal 2003 studyof people aged 30 to past 70, for instance, found that while sedentary adults lost about 10 percent of their maximal endurance capacity every decade, young and middle-aged athletes who regularly engaged in intense and high-impact exercise, such as running intervals, experienced a much slower decline, losing only about 5 percent of their capacity per decade until age 70, when the loss of capacity accelerated for everyone.

There is also little evidence to support the widespread belief that high-impact exercise speeds the onset of arthritis.

For the complete answer, including how high-impact exercise effects bone density, click on the link.

And then make sure you practice on Sunday.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

6 thoughts on “File this away for your next debate about Ashtanga being OK for older people”

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