Yoga has so many health benefits for everyone, including seniors.
That’s right! It’s challenging yet gentle enough for people 60 and over, and there are classes for all levels.
Yoga and Seniors:
Yoga is particularly good for elderly people as even the most basic exercises can offer them a lot of benefit.
Even those who are unable to stand can perform certain yoga exercises while seated.
For those who are a little more mobile many of the exercises that they can do in Yoga will help them to become more mobile.
Or at the least more stable and coordinated which will reduce the incidence of them falling over and breaking bones or sustaining other types of injuries.
Such events can affect elderly people quite considerably and anything that can be done to reduce or eliminate these from happening will help to extend their life and improve their quality of life.
Whilst many elderly people sit for considerable periods of time throughout the day this in itself can bring about many aches and pains in the body.
Light stretching can help to reduce these muscular and joint pains.
Simple Stretching Reduces Aches And Pains:
It is well-known fact in the medical profession that the majority of people who seek assistance for their aches and pains will be able to eliminate the majority of their problems with simple stretching exercises done on a regular basis.
As pain is also a drain on energy levels there is the added benefit that even by doing a small amount of simple Yoga stretching, the elderly person can expect to have an increase in energy that will only make it all the easier to continue with the yoga exercise.
The calm and relaxation that yoga exercise also brings with it can help to reduce a lot of the frustration that elderly people begin to feel when they are unable to do the things that they would like to do.
It helps them to cope a lot better with life and to enjoy what life has to offer them.
Be Careful Injuries May Happen:
Many people are concerned that they will get injured performing yoga exercises.
For those people who have never done any stretching in their life and are relatively inflexible it can be a concern.
It is quite possible that they have already had many injuries due to their lack of flexibility.
The reality is that someone in that state will benefit more than ever from doing yoga.
They will however need to be very careful initially because, unless they are under the supervision of a trained yoga instructor.
It is possible to cause injury from over extending in the yoga poses.
Fortunately yoga can cater for all needs and all that is required is a little more care in the beginning to give the body time to adjust to what should be its natural state.
By taking your time and doing the poses slowly and not pushing the limits too far the progress should be reasonably rapid.
Less Chance of Injury:
A usual series of yoga poses and exercises will assist the body in becoming more balanced and this in itself will reduce the chance of injury.
Yoga not only helps with flexibility but it also increases strength in the body and this will help to reduce injury too.
Strengthens your bones and tones your muscle.
As you age, your bone density and muscle mass decreases, which can lead to osteoporosis.
But different yoga poses like Vriksasana (Tree Pose) and Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose), can increase balance and coordination and reduce the chances of falls and fractures.
Improves Your Mental State:
Yoga is all about the mind and body.
It’s about control and feeling good at that moment.
An essential aspect of yoga is controlling your breath.
Breathing exercises (pranayama) can help quiet the mind.
Some practices also incorporate meditation, which allows you to have more control over your thoughts and decrease judgment.
Boosts Your Mood:
Experts say that regular exercise releases endorphins, a natural mood enhancer that brings about feelings of optimism and positivity.
The best part is that you don’t have to do vigorous exercises to achieve this.
Low breathing, meditation, or small movements like walking can improve your mood.
Helps To Build Social Interactions:
If you attend a weekly yoga class, you’ll create bonds with your instructor and others.
The first is that in most cases, yoga is low impact. Hatha, Kundalini and Vinyasa yoga are all good examples of low-impact yoga that can be done safely even by complete beginners.
Increased Strength and Flexibility:
A second reason is how much yoga can improve strength, flexibility and stability.
This means less risk of slips, trips and falls, which can cause bones to break and even be life-threatening due to complications such as blood clots in the legs and pneumonia from inactivity.
Being more mobile and flexible also means greater independence well into your senior years.
A Mental Workout:
Yoga is also great for mental fitness. It improves mood, focus and concentration, especially in relation to the types of yoga which include meditation as part of their routines.
One of the biggest health challenges for the elderly tends to be pain and stiffness, such as that of arthritis.
If we feel pain when we work out, we avoid working out.
However, the less we move, the stiffer we become and the more pain we suffer.
So we work out even less, leading to a vicious cycle of pain, stiffness and lack of exercise that can leave many people house-bound or even chair-bound when they could be out making the most of their golden years.
You will find that many yoga poses can help to strengthen and stretch areas of the body that will help the injured area of the body to repair faster.
As with all forms of exercise, it is important to start safely and sensibly through slowly adding activity to your day and not trying to overdo things.
For this reason, certain types of yoga such as Bikram and Ashtanga are not a good idea.
Bikram, known as hot yoga, is not just physically demanding – it is also known as hot yoga because of the roasting conditions in the studio, with temperatures often reaching 38C/100F or more.
This can lead to dehydration and a severe strain for anyone who has heart health issues.
Finding The Right Studio For You:
If you live in a moderately large urban area, chances are you have more than one studio close by to choose from.
Other important considerations in relation to choosing the right studio for you will be the skills, qualifications and experience of the teacher.
You will naturally wish to focus on the classes themselves and how much health benefit you think you will get from them.
Check out an introductory class near you and see what a difference it can make to your health.
If you are using yoga specifically to address some problem that is already present then you might need to do specific exercises to assist in the recovery process.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this post or this site in general.
I will answer all the comments on my website personally so drop me a line below if you have any Yoga questions or comments.
I’m happy to help any way that I can.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietitian before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.