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Yoga started in ancient India in different forms which include poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. It has been a way to boost physical and mental health for about 5,000 years.
Yoga practice gives us benefits that go far beyond just the physical. If you visit a yoga class you will likely find an instructor who will present meditation practice at the beginning and the end of a class.
Benefits of Yoga for Seniors
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, healthcare provider, personal trainer, yoga instructor, physical therapist, or anyone else in the medical field. This post is for information I have researched, as I have osteoporosis myself, and I want to share my own experience with this disease, and what I found out in my research.
If you’ve never tried yoga before, check out a class and experience some of the benefits of yoga for seniors. Make sure you check with your doctor or healthcare provider before you start any yoga or exercise activity, and see if you should be tested first, to see what might be best for your situation. You could do serious harm to your body and bones if you do yoga or exercise beyond a safe level that you should be doing.
Many seniors turn to yoga as a gentle way to exercise and improve joint flexibility. In addition, yoga offers people with arthritis a form of exercise that is enjoyable enough to do regularly. Benefits will not come overnight after a single yoga class.
Regularly attending at least three classes a week will allow you to enjoy yoga and the benefits it has to offer. Retirement is the perfect time to try some new things and pick up some healthier habits you may not have had time to consider in your working years.
Strengthened bones –
Yoga for seniors can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, which causes bones to become brittle or weak and puts you at risk if you have a fall to possibly fracture your wrist, spine, or hip. Death after a hip fracture may also be related to other complications such as infections, internal bleeding, stroke, or heart failure. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone can’t keep up with the decrease of bone mass and density that occurs with aging.
Enhanced balance, flexibility, mobility and strength –
Since yoga movements are slow and measured it can lead to better balance, flexibility, mobility, and strength, which can also help prevent falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors, yoga provides the tools you need to improve your mobility to get around more safely.
Alleviate aches and pains –
Yoga can help alleviate aches and pains even if you have physical limitations associated with aging. Yoga can be especially beneficial to those suffering from arthritis, and osteoarthritis, teaching you how to breathe and relax through any chronic pain you may be dealing with.
Reduced stress –
Yoga offers a relaxing way to alleviate the tension in your body, especially in your shoulders and upper back. It’s been known to help relieve some of the stresses that lead to hypertension, so you won’t need as many medications on a daily basis. Yoga also helps reduce anxiety, lowering your heart rate, blood pressure, and helping you breathe easier.
Improved sleeping habits –
Yoga for seniors can be so relaxing, that many say they are sleeping longer and more soundly, which can be an issue for older adults. People with various types of arthritis who practice yoga regularly can reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function, and lower stress and tension to promote better sleep.
Lessen the risk for depression –
Yoga is a mood-booster; and with the combination of movement, breathing, and meditation you can feel an overall sense of well-being. When yoga is done in a class setting with peers, you’re getting the benefit of staying socially active, as well.
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Physical activity – even if you don’t lose an ounce, you’ll live longer, feel healthier, and be less likely to get cancer, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis. It’s the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.
Be Physically Active Every Day –
Adults aged 65 and over should try to be physically active every day. Break up long periods of not moving with some activity, even if it is a light activity, and reduce the time sitting or lying down.
Examples of light activity include:
- moving around your home
- walking at a slow pace
- cleaning and dusting
- making the bed
You should do activities to improve strength, balance, and flexibility at least 2 days a week. To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you need a short rest before repeating the activity. There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether you’re at home or in a gym.
If you’ve fallen or are worried about falling, doing exercises to improve your strength, balance, and flexibility will help make you stronger and feel more confident on your feet. Speak to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about exercising.
Examples of muscle-strengthening activities:
Do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity In fact, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.
Your heart rate will rise with moderate activity, and you will breathe faster and feel warmer. You should be able to talk, and not sing at a moderate intensity level.
Examples of moderate intensity activities:
The vigorous-intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you’re working at this level, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.
Most moderate-intensity activities can become vigorous if you increase your effort.
Examples of vigorous activities:
Yoga Benefits For Arthritis In Seniors –
Yoga is proven to help people with arthritis, pain and stiffness, and stress and anxiety. It can help a person with arthritis build muscle strength and improve balance, says Sharon Kolasinski, MD, a professor of clinical medicine and a rheumatologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Yoga provides exercise options, and in order to have an overall health regimen, you might want to include cardiovascular exercises like walking or biking with yoga practices. Stretching exercises help improve range of motion and will help with flexibility.
Find an instructor who has arthritis experience or who will not expect you to do anything that doesn’t feel right. Move slowly and if any pose or movement causes you pain, give yourself permission to stop.
Chair yoga makes it easier for people who cannot stand for long periods or come down to the mat. If you have joint pain water yoga is a great choice. Check with your local YMCA or community pool.
On days when you’re experiencing a painful arthritis flare, do some type of physical activity to help maintain joint flexibility. You can also find your source of pain or anxiety and learn how to relax that area. In yoga, this is developing communication with your own body.
Be sure to work with your healthcare provider to make decisions about your treatment that will put you more in control. Mention any concerns and go over the pros and cons of the medications you should or shouldn’t take. Then both of you decide what’s best for you, and in doing this together it will help you stick what decision is made.
Here is a link Yoga for Arthritis: Modifying Yoga Poses for those with Arthritis a 13-minute video on yoga and stretches for arthritis done in a safe way.
6 – 10 Minute Seated Exercises And 30 Minute Chair Yoga Routine
Below are 2 routines – Seated exercises for 10 minutes and a chair yoga routine for 30 minutes. Remember to check with your doctor first to make sure you don’t have any limitations on certain movements done in these videos. Find out if there are ways to modify if you do have limitations
6 Seated Exercises in 10 minutes
Chair exercises are excellent for seniors who are frail, at risk of falling, have severe joint problems, or are wheelchair-bound.
Chair exercises are workouts that are done while seated on a regular chair with back support. The chair shouldn’t have arms, shouldn’t fold, roll, slide, or be unsteady.
The goal is to provide a steady base so seniors stay safe while moving their arms and legs during their workout.
The only equipment that’s needed is a sturdy chair, a resistance band (some may not need this), and optional ankle weights.
These six seated exercises help seniors:
- Get the heart rate up
- Improve blood circulation
- Build or maintain muscle
- Increase flexibility
- Increase range of motion
- Boosts mood
Click here Seated Exercises For Older Adults on my YouTube channel
30 Minute Chair Yoga Routine
Click here Actively Aging with Energizing Chair Yoga – Seniors get Moving with Sherry Zak Morris to see this video in my playlist on YouTube.
This routine starts with warm-up poses, then standing poses, lower body poses, Shavasana, which is a restful pose usually done at the end of the yoga class, and then Sherry, the instructor will wrap the class.
Yoga can be a great way to stay physically and mentally healthy, improve bone density, and help alleviate aches and pain if you have arthritis. It can increase strength, balance, and flexibility. The main point is to stay physically active daily, even if it might be in smaller increments.
Find activities you enjoy so you stick to a routine. Invite friends or family who can partner with you in doing this, as socializing is also a healthy habit.
I have included a few exercises and routines to help get you started – Check with your healthcare provider before you attempt these. Always be sure to protect yourself from injury.
My post is not to give you advice, but for information and opportunities that can be helpful in pursuing a way to exercise in a healthy manner. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider or physical therapist on what might be best for your age group or health problems or limitations.
I have also included some yoga and exercise videos that you can find at Amazon that could be helpful, and remember to go over these with your healthcare provider before you make any purchases to see if these will work for you.
If you found this post useful, please comment below with your feedback. Thanks!
Stay active for a more fulfilled life!
Here is another post I recently wrote on osteoporosis, that can be helpful – Osteoporosis Benefits With Yoga And Exercise
See you soon, Denise
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