As we age, it gets harder and harder to stay active. However, staying active is not just vital to your health, it is also the key to staying independent. Your body may no longer move like it once did, but that is no excuse. Yoga is one of the best exercises for seniors in loosening limbs and strengthening muscles. It is low-impact, social, and great for your physical and mental health.
Below are some other benefits this exercise can have on your body.
One of the reasons yoga is so popular is because of how many different types there are. Whatever you are looking to get out of a class, there is a style of yoga that has been adapted to fit that purpose. In fact, chair yoga is incredibly popular among seniors who cannot move that quickly on and off the floor. If you feel comfortable with more movement, beginner yoga or Iyengar is perfect for those just starting out.
This adaptability goes for the poses as well. No matter what your current physical state is, whether you have a weak ankle or recently came out of surgery, many poses can be modified to accommodate your needs. Before you start a session, let the instructor know if you have any restrictions so they can work with you. Very Well Fit encourages yogis to not be afraid of props like blocks or straps, as they are there to help you correctly align the pose.
It Will Improve Balance
Among the many physical benefits of yoga is that it can greatly improve balance. As we age, falling becomes a large risk. According to Aging.com, an older adult falls once every 11 seconds in America. Yoga is a great method in fall prevention.
Feeling more secure on your feet will also keep you independent for longer. Not to mention that yoga will strengthen your muscles and improve your flexibility as well. Some claim that yoga can ease aches and pains too. It only takes a few weeks to feel the difference in your body.
Relax Your Mind
Yoga and meditation often go hand in hand. It’s, therefore, no surprise that they have many of the same mental health benefits. Many studies have proven that yoga and meditation can reduce depression and anxiety, as well as decrease stress. However, in seniors, it has also been shown to reduce aging and keep the mind sharp.
Practicing yoga helps keep you grounded and in the moment. For many, this can also lead them to experience a spiritual connection that allows them to better see themselves in the world. Many recovering from addiction have benefited from yoga for this reason. For many in recovery, connecting with the spiritual self is just as important as healing the physical self. Yoga is one of the best ways to connect these two sides.
Practice Where You Like
Yoga studios and classes are increasingly popular. If your town does not have a local studio, check if your senior center or rec center offers classes. Sixty and Me highly recommends taking at least four weeks of classes if you are just starting out to learn the proper alignment of poses and their names. Classes are also a great excuse to get out of the house and be social.
However, if you cannot make it to a class every day, yoga is very easy to do at home on your own. All you need is plenty of space to move around, your mat, and whatever props you use. There are plenty of videos and apps to help guide you through a session if you need it.
Strike a Pose
Do not let the 20 and 30 year olds filling the yoga studios fool you — yoga is for everyone. With all its benefits and adaptable nature, it is the perfect exercise for you to take up.
Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.
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