Don’t believe Yoga can help you stay fit and flexible well into old age? Then just take a look at Bernice Bates, who at 91 is still getting out her Yoga equipment on a daily basis.

The great grandmother, from Florida in the United States, has just been crowned the World’s Oldest Yoga teacher by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Despite being just nine years away from her 100th birthday, she still teaches the exercise once a week and her pupils are substantially younger than her.

She puts many of them to shame, too, since she’s more flexible than many people a third of her age.

Bernice has no health problems and takes no medication, and according to her this is because of her Yoga sessions, as well as her swimming, walking and weight lifting.

"It gives you a good outlook," she said of her daily stretching and posing.

"It involves your mind. Your mind, your body and your spirit. They all work together and they’re all coordinated.

"When you’re on a treadmill, that’s all you’re doing, and you’re tired when you’re done. We build energy in our body, we don’t take it out."

Many older people could benefit from following Bernice’s example and buying Yoga mats to get started with the practice.

Dr Fernando Branco from the Rosomoff Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centre in Miami, explained that Yoga can help to build balance, which in turn can prevent falls.

"One of the main reason why people become non-functional or even die is because of falls," he remarked. "Those things can be catastrophic when you’re 85."

So there you have it. Unroll your Yoga mat and you could boost your chances of enjoying a fit and flexible old age, just like Bernice.

Posted by Freya Harper