Yoga is a wonderful practice for people of all ages,shapes and abilities. There are some health benefits of yoga that are especially important for the quality-of-life of older adults. Yoga combines physical poses with relaxation and breathing techniques designed to help improve health and well being. Practicing yoga may not directly cure diseases, but it can make a difference in treatment. Here are 7 ways that consistent yoga practice may slow down the aches, pains, and other problems associated with aging.
1) Reduced Stress & Increases Mood
The complete breathing that you learn while doing yoga can lower your heart rate and help reduce stress in many forms. In time it can even help lower blood pressure. Practicing yoga can also help relax you and in turn help you with sleep. Good sleep is crucial for both physical and mental well-being.
Practicing yoga can help reduce cortisol levels in the mind and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. These chemical changes can help you to feel less nervous and can help you to be more at ease.
2) Improved Balance & Encourages Movement
The awareness that yoga creates can help maintain a better sense of balance. In turn this can help lower the risk of falls and fractures which can be common with seniors.
It is well known that engaging in some form of regular exercise is beneficial to overall health. Yoga is a safe way to remain active and still get some exercise because it is not high impact. There are also Chair Yoga poses that those who are unable to get up and down from a mat on the floor.
3) Sharpens the Mind
Yoga has been known to help create mental calmness and overall peace and improved functioning in the brain.
4) Social interactions
You can either do yoga at home, or you could find a local yoga class. Taking a class puts you in touch with a supportive community of peers. Positive social interactions can help combat against loneliness and depression. AND who doesn’t enjoy making new friends?
5) Improves quality of sleep
Who couldn’t use a good night of sleep? All of the above mentioned benefits can help to provide better quality of sleep because of the tension relief yoga gives to your body. Yoga could also help provide some pain relief which in turn makes it easier to relax and fall asleep.
Think you are too old to give yoga a try? Check out this encouraging interview with Tao-Porchon Lynch who at the age of 98 still practices yoga regularly.
*As always, you should check with your doctor to get the okay before trying any new form of exercise your body is not used to.
Here are some great resources we found for Yoga instruction:
- Mindful Chair Yoga: Cannot perform yoga on a mat? Give chair yoga a try. Here are some fantastic videos to help you get started
- The Mat Project offers some gentle onto advanced videos for your yoga journey
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