As you grow older, it is still as important as ever to ensure that you get in some form of exercise. It is arguably even more important than when you were a little younger, especially if you want to keep up your energy levels and manage those aches and pains that often come with age.
Regular physical activity for seniors can actually help them to lead a more independent life and keeps them feeling fit and healthy.
However, it’s safe to say that as you reach ages over 60, your days of long-endurance running and more vigorous physical pursuits are long behind you.
Now, this isn’t always the case, we’ll admit, but it is common for most older people to be more comfortable with slightly more gentle options.
So, yoga might be one of the first ports of call you opt for. And it definitely should be. Yoga can have amazing benefits for older adults, such as improving flexibility and balance, as well as increasing their strength. It also has tons of mental health benefits.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at all the ways that yoga can be a great option for seniors and the benefits they can expect to receive. So, let’s get straight to it.
The Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors
Chronic Pain Relief
As you age, it can start to put real strain on your muscles and joints that often start to wear down after use throughout the years. This is where yoga can really come in handy.
There are so many different poses and stretches throughout the practice that can help to alleviate all those common aches and pains.
Stress is also linked to contributing to pain and inflammation in seniors, which again makes yoga the ideal form of exercise since it is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
And there’s actually even a study that found participants who engaged in a month’s worth of yoga found that during that time they reduced the amount of pain medication they were taking.
Insomnia is an issue for many older adults and it can affect their lives in many different ways including exacerbating preexisting health conditions.
Thankfully, yoga can help to combat this issue. Thanks to the variety of poses and breathing techniques, yoga has been known to aid better and improved sleep in most of its participants.
In fact, one study actually found that yoga was often more effective than many of the herbal sleep remedies offered on the market. Therefore, seniors who struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep could definitely benefit from practicing yoga.
Decreased Blood Pressure
As you get older, it can be scary to think about issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and other chronic health conditions that are often more prevalent in the age group. Especially considering that your body is not as strong as perhaps it once was.
Opting for yoga could have many benefits in this aspect of life since yoga is known for its incredible ability to lower your blood pressure. Some studies even show that it is more effective at lowering your blood pressure than activities such as sitting and listening to music.
Plus there is evidence that yoga can lower your blood pressure as quickly as the very first lesson. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also state that seniors participating in regular physical activity generally have lower rates of these health conditions. So it’s a win-win.
Life can be stressful at any age, and finding a way to melt that stress away will always be beneficial. But arguably, it’s even more imperative for seniors. Especially those who suffer from diseases such as Alzheimer’s that can cause a lot of stress and confusion.
The practice of yoga is known for its destressing properties as well as its ability to produce a more serene state of mind. And so for seniors that are often scared or confused, this type of exercise can be an excellent way for them to find a little more peace in their day-to-day lives.
Yes, yoga can even help those who suffer from type 2 diabetes – is there nothing that yoga can’t do? How? Well, stress is known to directly impact insulin and yoga helps to decrease stress.
Caregivers or family members that are interested in introducing yoga to individuals for diabetic management should always ensure that they are opting for poses that are senior-friendly, though, and they should also benefit the pancreas.
Usually, it is best to enlist the help of a yoga instructor who is knowledgeable about the different poses of the practice.
Better Stability & Balance
As humans age, their bones, muscles, and joints tend to become much weaker, and this can massively affect the individual’s stability and balance.
This can actually become quite dangerous for older adults too, since a fall can have more serious consequences since the bones are more brittle and likely to break and recovery can take much longer.
Therefore, trying to prevent falls due to a lack of balance and stability is absolutely imperative. The many different poses and stretches in yoga often promote better balance as they strengthen the core muscles that keep the body stable.
As we’ve mentioned before, as we age our joints and muscles tend to deteriorate and become more stiff. This is why yoga can be so beneficial to seniors since it is a gentle exercise that enables them to increase both their flexibility and range of motion.
Participating in regular yoga will help older adults restrengthen their muscles while also making them looser in terms of stiffness. And this will also help to alleviate some of those common aches and pains that come from the rigidness and stiffness of the muscles.
Another issue that many seniors face is difficulty breathing as effectively as younger adults because the respiratory systems tend to start slowing down. And the lack of oxygen can have many consequences.
But since yoga has such an emphasis on mindful breathing, it can be an invaluable technique for seniors to learn.
Throughout the practice, individuals learn how to breathe in a way that will increase the oxygen flow and studies have shown that practicing 12 weeks can actually improve respiratory function.
Yoga has many benefits and advantages for people of all ages, but it is arguably the very best form of exercise for older adults to participate in. It’s a relatively gentle option that won’t cause too much strain for the individual but it will also improve many other aspects of their life.
Yoga can actually provide newfound freedom for many older adults that are struggling with independence since it can improve their flexibility and balance.
It can also improve their sleep, and help them to manage health conditions that may hinder their quality of life.
It also has so many mental health benefits that can really help older adults. For example, it can reduce confusion and stress for those suffering from dementia.
Opting for senior yoga classes can also help combat loneliness since they can join groups with other adults and create long-lasting friendships this way.