Growing older doesn’t have to mean living a sedimentary life. Seniors can benefit from a consistent yoga practice. Yoga for seniors can offer many benefits. Some (muscle strength) are obvious, while others (improved memory) are a bit more surprising. Read on to discover some of the benefits of yoga for seniors.
Your bones may become stronger
In addition to gaining some flexibility and muscle endurance, yoga increases bone strength. Activity that utilizes the body’s own weight has been shown to improve the skeletal system’s ability to withstand greater pressure without heavy risk of injury (when done correctly). In particular, yoga can increase bone density which is in an important factor in managing diseases such as osteoporosis.
Because yoga develops coordination and balance too, risks of falls are simultaneously decreased, and thus, broken bones as well.
It can help you tie your shoes
It is no secret that yoga can help increase flexibility in the muscles and reduce stiffness in the joints. After a dedicated practice, many people experience a larger ranger of motion in areas like their shoulders and wrists while also noticing increased balance in their ankles and feet.
With more flexibility, it becomes easier to get up and down when tying your shoes or to get in and out of the car when making grocery trips.
You may remember better
Yoga is more than exercising or doing poses. It includes breathing practices, called pranayama, and meditative or mindfulness-based exercises. Yoga, and more specifically, meditation, helps us to become more attuned to our inner thought patterns and our exterior surroundings. Mindfulness has been shown to improve cognitive function, including areas such as working memory and attention.
Just like puzzles, learning a new language, or traveling, yoga should be added to the list of brain-boosting hobbies.
It might keep you regular
As we age, our digestive system simply becomes less efficient. It is one of the more not-so-fun things about getting wiser and growing older. Of course, there is a whole market of supplements and pharmaceuticals to alleviate constipation. However, a yoga practice in conjunction with doctor’s orders can really help speed things along and maintain a digestive schedule.
Regularity is important for our health, including our mental health. Nobody likes walking around with a suffering belly. Yoga could be another piece to the puzzle to prevent unnecessary pain.
You’ll feel relaxed and make friends
At the end of a yoga class, there is such a feeling of complete calm and peace. After lying in savasana and allowing yourself to provide space for your body and mind to be in stillness, you’ll feel like a million bucks; all shiny and new because you have fully relaxed!
Lastly, an underrated benefit of yoga, that is too often unspoken, is the truth that yoga bridges communities and enables people to form meaningful relationships. Yoga helps us to make new friends that enrich our lives. It is an amazing benefit for our overall health!
Yoga for seniors: summary
Seniors reap tons of benefits from a yoga practice. Don’t let the fear of something new stop you from trying yoga. If anything, the allure of being able to remember next week’s meeting without a reminder should be enticing!
If you’re afraid of not being able to do certain poses, don’t worry! You can modify most any pose to make it easier. You may also consider purchasing yoga straps, foam yoga blocks, bolsters, therapy balls, or yoga DVDs for beginners to help you with your practice.
Heather Horrell is a yoga teacher and perinatal professional who loves crafting and coffee.
Image credit: Creative Commons user footfun, no changes made.