Many still think of yoga as something that only young, super-flexi people can do. The truth of the matter is; you don't need to be able to twist yourself into a pretzel or flip upside down to begin incorporating a yoga practice into your day. Yoga can play a very valuable role in health care for people of all ages- even seniors!
Here are just a few ways that yoga can improve overall wellness for seniors
- Healthy bones- a gentle practice is safe for those with osteoporosis and has even proven to be effective in preventing and slowing the loss of bone density.
- Increased flexibility and stability- While there is no way to completely prevent accidental slips, yoga can help work towards avoiding falls- a huge concern among seniors and their caregivers. Over time, yoga gently increases flexibility while helping to improve balance and stability.
- Improved sleep quality- Yoga asanas, or postures, are designed to bring awareness inward to relax your mind as well as your body. A calm mind and body will fall asleep more readily and will result in a better night's sleep.
- Alleviate pain from arthritis and other conditions related to join inflammation- the breathing exercises in a yoga practice enhance well-being and help eliminate stress, which can aggravate joint pain.
- Improved heart health- many find that their blood pressure is lower after their first yoga class, and with a regular practice, that blood pressure remains at lower levels when not in class as well.
If you or your loved one is thinking about starting a yoga practice, make sure to find a class and certified instructor who can meet your needs. Starting up a new practice may come easily to some who have been fairly physically active throughout life, however, it will be important to give serious thought to the type of yoga you choose to adopt. Certain forms of yoga may be too strenuous, so always be certain to consult with a physician before beginning any new fitness routine. Most studios offer beginner classes and props like blocks or straps for modifications, and some even tailor to older adults.