Although yoga is often thought of as an activity that is enjoyed by people who are young and fit, it is a great form of exercise that people of all ages can enjoy. And although it may seem intimidating to get into yoga at an older age, there are several benefits to doing yoga regularly as a senior. If you often struggle with joint stress, imbalance, and arthritis, then incorporating yoga into your exercise routine can help reduce some of these physical limitations.
Anyone Can Do It
No one is too old for yoga since the exercises are diverse, and the poses can be adapted to suit any body type and all ages. Other forms of exercise like running and weight-lifting are known for being hard on your body which may cause you to injure yourself if you are not careful.
However, yoga is a low-intensity form of exercise that is perfectly safe for seniors, because many of the poses are designed to reduce pain and get your muscles moving in the right way. If you want to try out yoga, you should join a beginner’s class and start with some of the basic poses. Adaptive yoga is great for seniors with mobility issues, because it allows you to partake in a yoga class, no matter what your level of ability is. For instance, chair yoga allows you to do all the yoga poses with the support of a chair. Water yoga is also a popular choice for seniors with mobility issues because it allows your body to feel weightless and it may be easier for you to move around in the water.
As you grow older, you face numerous physical challenges. For instance, you are threatened by long-term illnesses, and your body piles a few pounds. All these can present a challenge to your respiratory health. You may experience breathing difficulty and shortness of breath when you try high-intensity workouts like running or cycling. However, the breathing exercises that you are taught in yoga class can help you with your respiratory health so that you can manage these sorts of issues. Also, because yoga poses are a low-intensity exercise that improves your cardiovascular health, you should feel like you are breathing a bit easier after a few weeks of yoga.
When you get a little bit older, you may find that your joints are a lot stiffer which can make it harder for you to move. If you do not try to intervene early, you may lose the ability to perform small tasks like brushing your teeth or getting dressed. Therefore, if you want to reduce the effects of joint issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, you should join a yoga class. It is often said that motion can help when it comes to joint issues, so knowing how to move your body in the right way can help you to function better overall. Yoga also improves your range of motion and reduces injuries. The stretching and bending during yoga can improve muscle and spinal flexibility, which can make you feel more independent and able-bodied.
Calms the Mind
When practising yoga, you have to slow down your breathing and focus all your energy on the poses, to get the most out of the exercise. The quiet time helps you reflect and gives your mind a break from the stress of everyday life. When you are anxious or depressed, your body becomes frantic, and your heart rate and blood pressure skyrocket. Yoga limits the effects of stress by slowing down your heart rate, which can help to reduce your blood pressure. It can also help your body to learn to respond in a certain way to stressful situations. Also, a big part of yoga is the meditation component. Meditation helps to keep you centred and energized, which can elevate your mood and improve sleep, so yoga is great for mental health and well being as well.
The Social Aspect
Many people in their retirement years have a hard time finding friends or places where they can interact with people of their own age. Therefore, to avoid sitting around doing nothing, they usually take up new hobbies or start exercising to keep themselves busy. Yoga is a great way for seniors to connect with other people, because it allows you to get fit with others around you of a similar age and demographic. Nowadays, many yoga studios will offer senior classes, which means you can meet people your age and socialise after a yoga session. Even in most aged care facilities such as Banfields Aged Care, you will find that they offer yoga classes for the seniors who live there so that they can get exercise and meet the people that live near them. And if you’re scared or nervous about going to a class on your own, bring a friend along and you can both meet new people together.
Yoga is a great way to get active for people young and old, so you should feel discouraged if you are a senior citizen who is looking to take part in a yoga class. The key is to look around and find a class that suits your needs, so that you get the best experience that you can out of each class. If you don’t have the option to try different classes because you live in a rural area, just let the teacher know about your capabilities before the class starts, so that they can help you if you need it.
Laura Davis is a content coordinator at Banfields Aged Care. She likes to write on a range of topics and enjoys researching fun and new ideas daily to keep her content fresh. When she is not busy writing, she likes to spend her time reading and traveling the globe.