Getting older is inevitable. Old age brings with it many rewards such as maturity, wisdom, experience, knowledge, strength, and more. However, it also brings with it many challenges, most commonly physical ailments, chronic pain, risks of heart diseases, mental stress, memory impairment, feelings of loneliness and isolation, and more.
The only way to live your twilight years gracefully and dealing with the problems tactfully are eating healthy and exercising. Good food and regular exercise especially yoga can prevent many diseases, strengthen your body and immune system, and keep you in a great mental and emotional state. Its therapeutic and meditative effects have shown massive improvement in people suffering from continuous physical pains and mental disorders. Yoga is considered one of the greatest natural remedies to most of the health-related issues. Many people practicing yoga daily to restore balance in their life and body.
People often question whether yoga is for older adults or not? Truth be told! Yoga is one of the best ways to stay active and refresh mind and spirit in old age. Since it is a low impact activity, yoga for seniors is a great idea. Not only does it tone your body, it keeps your vital organs healthy, the hormonal system in balance, and maintain sound mental health.
The best part about yoga is that it is adaptable to the diverse needs of the population. People with physical disabilities, joint pains, osteoporosis, and other kinds of physical limitations and mobility restrictions can safely perform yoga. They can even benefit from incorporating it in their routine life.
Why Yoga is Good for Older Adults?
Keeps You Active:
Retirement can often lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of routine can make you laidback, lethargic, and inactive. Yoga is a gentle practice that teaches you focus and discipline. It helps you stay active without physically exerting yourself. Yoga is known for its effects on the mind and the body. Unlike other forms of workout, it does not leave you feeling exhausted. Instead, it calms your mind and makes you feel energetic.
Enhances Joint Health:
With age, the health of bones and joints deter and flexibility decreases. Yoga exercises for seniors can help reverse the process gently. It can reduce stiffness and pain in the joints and restore flexibility. For people suffering from osteoarthritis, this ancient practice is a great remedy. It is a low-impact workout that can loosen up the stiff muscles and enhance flexibility. This, in turn, can prevent chances of injury and fall.
Improves Balance and Stability:
Many yoga asanas are about maintaining balance. This enhances stability in the body, improving muscle alignment, strengthening muscles, and prevents falls and injury due to imbalance. Older adults take longer time to recover from any injury or sickness. Yoga gives muscles the power to recover faster than usual. It improves the healing response of the body and allows the body to bounce back quickly. Besides, it improves posture and range of motion. You can also expect to heal some recurring pains you have been suffering from for years.
Great for Focus, concentration, and emotional wellbeing:
Aging adults can benefit from yoga in so many unimaginable ways. Since the poses require a lot of focus and concentration, expect to enhance your ability to focus and concentrate. This will improve the quality of their life and emotional health. It expands the awareness of self. It teaches how to live in the present and establish a meaningful connection between mind, body, and the environment.
Enhances lung capacity:
Pranayama, a popular yogic therapy, is highly recommended for older adults. It includes different techniques of breathing. It is said to be immensely therapeutic for the elderly. It improves lung capacity, mental agility, blood circulation, digestion, enhances skin health, and relaxes the mind. It is great for those who are struggling to lose weight. It reduces the risk of hypertension, treats depression, strengthens the immune system, clears nasal passages, and so much more. The benefits of pranayama are endless. Experts vouch for this practice and highly recommend everyone to include it in their daily routine.
Provides opportunities for social interaction:
If yoga is performed in a group, it provides a great opportunity to meet like-minded people. Group classes are particularly beneficial for older people because it allows them to stay socially active. It gives them a sense of purpose and community. Also, performing under the supervision of an expert will help them learn techniques better.
Improves Cardiovascular health:
Deep breathing improves lung capacity, lower blood pressure, and reduce chances of hypertension. Meanwhile, meditation quiets down the mind, reduces stress, and improves the functioning of the nervous system. Consequently, all of these prevent heart diseases.
With so many benefits, this gentle practice can improve overall life quality. It will help you sleep better and improve your mood. So much can be achieved with the mindful practice of yoga. However, it is important to understand that changes won’t occur overnight, but a dedicated yoga routine will definitely do wonders.
What Kind of Yoga Should They Do?
The best thing about yoga is that it is extremely versatile. It is adaptive. The routine can be designed to suit the needs of different fitness levels of people. If you are starting to practice yoga for the first time, it is highly suggested to start with a gentle yoga practice called Hatha Yoga. Meanwhile, incorporate pranayama and meditation practice, too.
Experts suggest seniors practice yoga in a group. As a community experience, it will benefit them immensely. Performing yoga in nature is also extremely beneficial. Though it can be practiced anywhere, anytime, performing asanas in green surroundings will enhance the overall experience and oxygenate the body and brain optimally.
There is a range of sitting, standing, lying postures to choose from. As you begin your yoga journey. It is best to use props that make postures accessible. With yoga, it is easy to tailor the practice that fits each individuals’ physical capabilities.
Seniors with mobility restrictions can also perform yoga. Chair yoga and aqua yoga are highly beneficial for people suffering from arthritis and joint problems. These practices are gentle and therapeutic. It allows healing without putting too much stress on the body. People are using these yoga practices as complementary therapy along with their regular treatment, especially in the case of joint injury, fracture, arthritis, and more.
Nevertheless, it is important to speak to your doctor before you start your yoga journey. It is important especially in the cases of chronic conditions. Also, a consultation with a doctor will help you determine your fitness level and design a fitness program including mild to moderate levels of yoga exercises for seniors.
As mentioned above, yoga has healing, therapeutic, and meditative effects. It empowers you to improve your overall life and achieve joy and happiness by creating a connection between your mind and body. It helps in rejuvenating your mind, body, and spirit effortlessly. So, are you ready to try some balancing exercises for seniors and find your inner yogi?