Exercise is essential to ensure a healthy, happy life. Physical activity ensures good circulation, it plays an important role in regulating mood, and it can help to manage stress. If you’re a senior, yoga can accomplish all of those for you. For information on how Yoga can improve your mental state and for information on Yoga for stress, click here.
Exercise can delay or even prevent disease. But when you wake up stiff and a set on the tennis court is out of the question, how do you ensure you get the physical exercise your body needs to remain healthy?
As a senior, exercise is an important part of a daily routine but not all exercise routines are suitable for those of us who are older. Vigorous exercise can do more harm than good and a trip to the gym can result in serious injury that takes weeks or even months to recover from. So how do you remain active and healthy as you get older? There are a number of exercises and activities that are suitable for seniors and Yoga is often top of the list. Yoga offers the opportunity to remain supple, active, and yet is gentle enough on the body not to cause harm.
Yoga is the ancient spiritual practice of using simple physical movements to unite mind, body and spirit. Poses, stretching and breathing all form part of the art of Yoga. The health benefits of this ancient practice include both physical and mental benefits. As a senior, you can benefit from the regular practice of yoga in many different ways. Yoga can essentially be used for total mind-body transformation.
Arthritis, joint pain, and general joint stiffness are part of aging. But just because they are a part of aging doesn’t mean you have to live with the pain associated with these diseases. Studies show that yoga can be beneficial in reducing pain, in improving mood and reducing stress. The practice of yoga can be especially beneficial for those who suffer from lower back pain and that is great news for seniors too since lower back pain is a common complaint as we get older. The exercises offered by Yoga also serve to strengthen and tone the body which can provide extra support for the body in the long term.
Our metabolism naturally slows down as we age. A slow metabolism often results in weight gain and a lack of energy. But yoga for seniors may be just the antidote you need to kick-start a sluggish metabolism. Some research suggests yoga can help to increase the metabolism and promote weight loss. Due to the breathing exercises, it may also promote a sense of well being including having more energy.
The breathing techniques and exercises taught in yoga have also been shown to be beneficial for those who suffer from cardiovascular complaints. Ensuring a healthy cardiovascular system is essential for continued health and well being. Improved breathing also improves circulation. Yoga may reduce blood pressure, enhance cardiac performance and strengthen cardiac function. For an introduction to Yoga as Meditation, click here.
Tips and techniques for yoga for seniors
Although yoga is an excellent way of exercising for seniors, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you dive into your local yoga class. Always consult your physician before undertaking any major changes to your diet or lifestyle. Your doctor will advise you on the type of yoga best suited for your age group and needs. Yoga may be considered gentle, but it can be strenuous and can often improve circulation, but you should consult your doctor to ensure that yoga is safe for you before you undertake a class.
Start slowly. Just because yoga is not traditionally considered as strenuous, it doesn’t mean you can’t injure yourself. Always stretch and warm up before any exercise including yoga. A good walk should loosen the limbs before a class.
Join a yoga class designed with seniors in mind. There are a lot of poses and stretches that can safely be done irrespective of age, but before trying any pose make sure you consult the trainer to ensure that the pose is suited for your circumstances and age group.
If you are not sure that yoga is for you sign up for an online course to see whether you enjoy it. The Authentic Yoga Experience Series is a great introduction to yoga and what yoga is all about and you can sign up for free at udemy.com
Yoga is about balance. Always try to keep that in mind. Don’t push a pose beyond what is comfortable for you. Take your time and allow yourself to build up your strength and endurance slowly and consistently.
Certain yoga postures help to ease post menopausal discomfort and may also help to ease hormonal fluctuations. Coupled with mood enhancement, these benefits mean that yoga may be just what older women need.
Don’t be afraid to use props or ask for props if you are part of a yoga class. For certain poses that require balance, using a chair to steady yourself or provide confidence is great advice. Avoid poses that require bending the knees beyond 90 degrees or modify these poses to suit your level of flexibility.
Yoga may be “gentle” stretching but it is nonetheless strenuous exercise. You should always ensure you remain well hydrated and follow the normal rules for eating before exercise.
See if your partner or a friend is interested in yoga. An exercise buddy is a great way to remain motivated.
Certain yoga poses are suitable for those who have osteoporosis. These poses include the tree, cobra, warrior and mountain poses. Yoga will also ultimately improve muscle tone and strength which will also support the bones in the long run.
Whether you are looking for stress relief or good general exercise, yoga is a great way to stay in shape, no matter what age you are or what you level of fitness is.