WTHR Health & Fitness Expo: Getting fit with yoga at 83

RuAnn Glasson
Use it or lose it. Numerous studies point to a gradual decline in overall health and cognitive function with advancing age.  However, research finds seniors who challenge themselves to try new things reap significant benefits.

RuAnn Glasson, 83, embraced that idea and is now proud to be a yogi.

Square dancing is how Glasson stayed active for nearly 50 years.

"Can't do it like I used to so fast, but everything helps," she said.

That's why three years ago, she decided to pick up yoga. She began taking classes at Rosegate - American Senior Communities.

"She's that way. She is a little more adventuresome when it comes to those kinds of things," said Glasson's daughter, Diana Moore.

"Often when I tell my seniors that we are going to do yoga, they think I am going to make them get down on the floor and roll around and do awkward poses, but we pretty much do everything in the chair. We do a little bit standing up, using the chair as support but you know, it's really accessible for them," said Jessie Friskney, yoga instructor.

"I am seeing not only strength but confidence and it's something that has been amazing to watch her grow. It's almost like she is my child but she's my mother. You are proud of someone who takes advantage of opportunities that have come along, because she didn't have to," said Moore.

"It's amazing. When we started these classes and even RuAnn, she had some trouble with balance and standing on one foot but now a lot of residents here are doing tree pose," said Friskney. "They have progressed to the point where they have seen a big improvement in what they can and cannot do."

Yoga can help improve flexibility, balance and provide ways to breathe to promote calm.

"I always suggest that people give it a try. If you don't like it, you don't have to continue with it, but I really haven't met that person yet. Every person who comes and tries it sticks with it and really enjoys it," said Friskney.

"I just always feel much better when I'm through. I feel relaxed, mind and body and I just feel good when I'm done," said Glasson.

If you'd like to try a Senior Chair Yoga class, you can try one at 11 a.m. Saturday at WTHR's Health and Fitness Expo at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The classes are typically taught at nine different American Senior Communities locations across the city.

The Expo runs Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is free with the promo code HEALTH. Click for tickets!