Yoga

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Yoga

This popular weight-bearing exercise combines breathing, called mindful breathing, and poses, sometimes called postures. About 1.6 million Americans 55 or older practice yoga or other forms of mind-body exercise [source: MSNBC], which is any exercise that relies on precise movements performed with proper breathing, control and concentration [source: The Natural Health Perspective].

Certain yoga poses target specific areas of the body. For example, warrior poses work your chest, hips and feet, while a pose such as upward-facing dog helps strengthen your back, neck and wrists. Additional benefits range from improving strength, balance and flexibility to lowering the risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.

Afraid you might not be up to back bends and other pretzel-shaped poses? Fear not. Yoga isn't only about its postures; it's a mind-body activity, which means its benefits range from physical to mental. Choose poses that work for your personal fitness level, or try a chair yoga class in which the mat is replaced with a chair and poses are modified based on how flexible you may or may not be.

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