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Free Yoga Helping Arkansans Stay Healthy, Active at Home

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Regular exercise is important for flexibility as a person ages. (AARP Arkansas)
Regular exercise is important for flexibility as a person ages. (AARP Arkansas)
June 2, 2020

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Staying safe at home doesn't have to mean staying still. And health experts say movement is especially important for older adults.

Sitting for long periods of time has been repeatedly linked to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer and early death. As the owner of the Floating Lotus yoga studio in Little Rock, Cassandra Benning noted that exercise also is important for flexibility as a person ages.

"Sitting and watching TV, playing a game on your phone or a jigsaw puzzle, just sitting there immersed in a seated chair and not moving around, it causes the joints to stiffen up, it causes the muscles to tighten back up, and for longevity you need to have movement," Benning said.

To help older adults and others searching for exercise programs at home, Benning has teamed up with AARP Arkansas to host Free Yoga Tuesday sessions. The events are streamed live on Facebook at 12:30 p.m. and replays of the sessions also are available.

According to federal data, nearly 3-in-4 older Americans are considered sedentary, and more than 4-in-10 get no leisure-time physical activity at all.

Benning noted without regular movement, older adults can lose muscle strength, which can affect their safety.

"You lose ability, almost, to actually pick up your feet," she said. "And so when you go across a rug that's on a flat hardwood floor, just that little bit of incline, the foot can get snagged and then next thing you know, there's a fall."

Benning said yoga exercises strengthen the core muscles, improving stability for walking and standing.

Free Yoga Tuesday sessions include both chair and floor exercises, to accommodate people with various physical abilities. Benning noted free exercise classes and videos can also be found by searching YouTube and other online video sites.

Disclosure: AARP Arkansas contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - AR