Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

Yoga to prevent mobility limitations in older adults: feasibility of a randomized controlled trial



The loss of mobility during aging impacts independence and leads to further disability, morbidity, and reduced life expectancy. Our objective was to examine the feasibility and safety of conducting a randomized controlled trial of yoga for older adults at risk for mobility limitations.


Sedentary older adults (n = 46; age 60-89) were recruited and randomized to either yoga or a health education comparison group. Yoga sessions (60-min) occurred 2x weekly, and 90-min health education sessions occurred weekly, for 10 weeks. The primary outcomes were recruitment rate, intervention attendance, and retention at assessments. Adverse event rates and participant satisfaction were also measured. Physical performance measures of gait, balance, and strength and self-report outcome measures were administered at baseline and 10-weeks.


Recruitment lasted 6 months. Retention of participants at the 10-week follow-up was high (89% - performance measures; 98% - self-report questionnaires). Attendance was good with 82% of yoga and 74% of health education participants attending at least 50% of the sessions. No serious adverse events were reported. Patient satisfaction with the interventions was high. The mean effect size for the physical performance measures was 0.35 with some over 0.50. The mean effect size for self-report outcome measures was 0.36.


Results indicate that it is feasible to conduct a larger RCT of yoga for sedentary older adults at risk for mobility problems. The yoga and comparison interventions were safe, well accepted, and well attended. Effect sizes suggest yoga may have important benefits for this population and should be studied further.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials # NCT03544879 ; Retrospectively registered 4 June, 2018.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View