Yoga has become a mainstream practice. It incorporates deep breathing, gentle physical movement, and, often, spiritual lessons for a holistic approach to good health. For seniors who struggle with pain, mobility issues, and other physical problems or limitations, a daily yoga practice can produce marked benefits.
Here are six of the most compelling ways in which your aging loved one can benefit from yoga.
1. It improves balance, strength, and stability.
Many yoga poses focus on balance, which is very important for preventing injury and falls. A variety of poses also promote whole-body strength, including the strength of the core muscles that keep you upright and mobile. An increase in balance and strength also helps seniors heal more quickly after an injury.
2. It improves joint health and flexibility.
The National Institutes of Health cites yoga as an effective exercise to help manage osteoarthritis. Yoga is a gentle exercise that increases joint and muscle flexibility to help stave off pain and stiffness. Flexibility and healthy joints also help prevent injury.
3. It reduces anxiety and stress and promotes wellbeing.
Yoga is a quiet, calm practice that incorporates relaxation poses and meditative components to reduce anxiety and stress. Regular yoga practice reduces the body’s fight-or-flight response, which can cause inflammation and mental distress.
4. It helps to reduce blood pressure.
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research found that regular yoga reduces oxidative stress, which is an underlying cause of high blood pressure and heart attack in aging populations.
5. It improves respiration.
Yoga promotes respiratory health through the deep, controlled breathing that accompanies each pose. A study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics found that a 12-week yoga program produced significant improvements in respiratory function among elderly women.
6. It promotes mindfulness and wellbeing.
Yoga practice is focused on slow, controlled movements, breathing, and listening to your body. It promotes a high level of body awareness, and it improves awareness of thoughts and emotions. This mindfulness enhances seniors’ connection to the environment and their community.
Yoga poses can be easily modified to suit all levels of fitness, making it an ideal exercise for seniors with limited mobility or joint, muscle, or pain issues. Yoga leaves practitioners feeling calm, relaxed, and limber, and it’s a great way for seniors to get moving.