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Yoga - why you're never too old to start reaping the rewards of movement

It fights stiffness, alleviates joint pain and has a myriad of other benefits, so it's no wonder the over 70s are embracing yoga, writes Kathy Donaghy

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Donegal-based yoga teacher Elma Toland has put exercises on YouTube aimed at cocooners

Donegal-based yoga teacher Elma Toland has put exercises on YouTube aimed at cocooners

Yoga teacher Lisa Phillips with Mary. Photo: Alison O'Hanlon Photography

Yoga teacher Lisa Phillips with Mary. Photo: Alison O'Hanlon Photography

Dublin-based yoga teacher Lisa Phillips. Photo: Alison O'Hanlon Photography

Dublin-based yoga teacher Lisa Phillips. Photo: Alison O'Hanlon Photography

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Donegal-based yoga teacher Elma Toland has put exercises on YouTube aimed at cocooners

We're all moving less. Restrictions mean that our trips to the gym or to the beach for a run are pretty much off limits.

For people in their 70s, who have had to stay entirely within their homes and gardens, the challenges were even greater. The news that they are to be allowed out for brief periods of exercise and fresh air will make life a lot more bearable and the option of going for a walk will improve health and wellbeing. Experts agree that it is important for the over-70s to prioritise movement and exercise. This will allow them to re-emerge into society afterwards feeling strong and healthy, and not out of condition or weak.

In her yoga practice in Clonmany, Co Donegal, yoga teacher and therapist Elma Toland works with lots of older people. She says the danger is that older people will lose confidence and find they don't have the same dynamic level of movement in their bodies afterwards. But, she says, doing some simple yoga exercises could be hugely beneficial in allowing them to snap back to normality more easily. While she says older people may not be as supple as younger people, that doesn't mean they can't do yoga, and all exercises can be modified to fit the person.