Mom Feeling Depressed? Science Says Try Yoga

Doctors have known for quite some time that yoga is a good form of exercise for older adults. It has both physical and mental health benefits. In fact, a new study suggests that yoga may even be a great way to reduce symptoms of depression.

Yoga and Depression

Past studies have suggested that yoga is beneficial for the treatment of depression. This recent study adds more evidence to strengthen that theory. The study was led by Dr. Chris Streeter, who works as a psychiatrist at Boston University’s School of Medicine. Her research focused on the level of a chemical in the brain called gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA. Previous studies have indicated that GABA levels increase after doing yoga as much as after taking a dose of antidepressants.

The study took place over a 3-month period and involved 30 people who were diagnosed with depression. Only two of the subjects were taking antidepressants. The participants were divided into two groups. One group engaged in three 90-minute yoga classes each week and did four 30-minute sessions on their own at home. The researchers called this group the “high-dose” group. The second group, dubbed the “low-dose” group, did two 90-minute classes and three 30-minute sessions at home. Because the researchers were trying to determine how much yoga would improve depression symptoms, there was no need for a control group.

The results of the study showed that both groups had improvements in their symptoms. They felt more positive and calmer. They also said they had less physical exhaustion as well as reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. The “high-dose” group had greater benefits than the “low-dose” group, indicating that the amount of improvement is associated with the amount of time spent doing yoga.

Other Benefits of Practicing Yoga
In addition to improving symptoms of depression, yoga has many other benefits for older adults. Some of the benefits include:

  • Decrease in stress.
  • Improved body image.
  • Weight loss.
  • Improved heart health.
  • Better quality of life.
  • Less chronic pain.
  • Better sleep.
  • More flexibility and better balance.
  • Strengthens muscles.

If your older family member is interested in trying yoga, an elder care provider can help them to get started. An elder care provider can assist the senior with finding a class in their area and signing up. Elder care providers can also drive the older adult to their class and pick them up afterward. If your aging relative would prefer to practice yoga at home, an elder care provider can assist them to set up their mat and use a DVD or streaming video.


If you are considering hiring elder care in Clearfield, UT, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Ogden, UT. Call today 801-821-4535.