Seniors and other people who suffer from arthritis may initially think that yoga is too hard or difficult to do. The thought of having to stretch and twist your aching body and joints into pretzel shapes might sound like too much for your body to take.
There are, however, many yoga benefits for arthritis. No matter your age or current level of activity, you can use certain poses and postures to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
By starting slowly with only the range of motion that you feel comfortable with, and by diligently practicing for just a few minutes every day, you will over time be amazed at the things you are able to get your body to do once again. Here are some of the benefits of beginning to practice yoga as a way to relieve arthritis pain.
Yoga will keep your joints from becoming stiff.
Slowly moving your joints, even if only a little bit in each direction, will help to keep the tendons and ligaments responsible for moving those joints relaxed, flexible and strong.
Yoga increases your blood flow.
Moving your body and elevating your heart rate will pump blood more quickly and efficiently to the outer parts of your body. Blood brings with it oxygen and takes away toxins. By increasing your blood flow, you are allowing your body more chances to heal itself with the natural processes it was built to use.
Yoga strengthens muscles through anaerobic activity.
Because of your arthritic pain, you may be unable to perform high impact exercises. Yoga is a very low impact exercise and works to strengthen your body and muscles through holding simple poses for a length of time, instead of pushing your body to a limit with a machine or weight.
Yoga is a whole body way to exercise.
One of the greatest benefits of yoga is that it focuses on both the mind and the body. Having the opportunity every day to slow down, focus on your breathing, and listen to your body will help you to understand your arthritis pain more. Through mindfully focusing on your body and your pain, you may find a reserve of strength and power that you never knew you had.
There are plenty of poses that are simple enough for even the most painful symptoms of arthritis. Starting slowly and carefully is very important so that you do not cause further pain or damage to your body.
Before starting any yoga practice, it is a good idea to talk with your doctor. They may have additional resources seniors can use to begin practicing yoga, like information on local classes or instructors. A quick search online or trip to your local library can also provide you with poses and postures you can use to relieve arthritis pain.
With diligent practice, and maybe some helpful accessories like a yoga therapy ball or a cushiony yoga bolster, you may find that you are able to move in ways you were never able to before!
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