Inhale. Exhale. Two words often associated with the new age practice known as yoga. Yoga has become a very popular physical activity for people of all ages, especially in the younger age groups. You might even call the activity trendy. But there is a reason this exercise has grown in popularity. Yoga is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy. In fact, studies suggest yoga is one of the best forms of exercise for seniors.
If you’re unfamiliar with yoga, you probably just have weird contortion-looking poses in your head. And if that’s the case, the idea of doing yoga in your 60s or 70s seems kind of like a far-fetched idea. But don’t be discouraged. That’s one of the beauties of this ancient exercise. Yoga poses can be easily adapted to suit beginners and individuals with limited mobility – no matter your age. And once you read about some of the benefits of yoga for seniors, you’ll be ready to roll your mat out.
Enhanced Balance and Stability
Yoga is fantastic for strengthening core muscles with its slow, measured movements. This, in turn, helps to improve balance and stability. Falls are the leading cause of injury in adults, so by improving your balance, you may be preventing a future fall.
As we get older, breathing can become labored due to our respiratory systems slowing down. This can cause all types of negative effects within our bodies. The art of yoga focuses on breathing techniques to improve oxygen flow. It also encourages us to be more mindful of our breathing. In one study, older women who took a 12‑week yoga program showed improvement in respiratory function.
Chronic Pain Relief
It’s no secret that with age comes aches and pains, with much of it leading to chronic pain. Many stretches and poses used in yoga can help to alleviate this pain. The movements are gentle on muscles and joints, so it doesn’t inflict extra stress on the body. And because yoga helps to teach you how to breathe and relax, this element may help to manage chronic pain better. Several studies have found that yoga reduced pain severity in participants suffering from chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis.
Insomnia is a common issue amongst older adults. Yoga has been shown to be more effective than herbal sleep remedies. The exercises and stretches used in yoga help to relax the body and relieve stress. This includes decreasing blood pressure and putting the body at peace. Seniors who do yoga tend to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
It’s important to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Yoga for seniors offers many physical and mental benefits that extend to the entire body. If you haven’t tried yoga, give it a try. And don’t worry about not being able to do all the poses. You have to start somewhere. Try to find a yoga class for seniors in your community and get started today!