Welcome to our post “10 Benefits of Yoga for Seniors, even if your 100 years old!”
It’s quite a secret! Some people a hundred or more are still practicing Yoga like this lady
Getting older presents many gifts—great wisdom, grace, maturity and experience are some. But growing older can also carry many challenges.
Physically, it becomes harder to keep extra weight off. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, over one-third of adults over 65 are obese are obese.
Risk of life-threatening illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer also increases with age. Joint stress, osteoarthritis, and other types of pain will also commonly surface as you age.
Psychologically and emotionally, seniors have a higher rate of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Memory can decline, balance can be impaired, and with that, sense of self can suffer.
Also the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease—which can impair the ability to have relationships and function in the world—doubles every five years after age 65.
With these statistics and more, the topic of aging often renders fear as birthdays pile up and you become eligible for social security. The good news is, there are so many things you can do to improve your overall health and well-being as a senior.
Healthy eating and exercise can assist in preventing disease, injury, and keeping your physical body in good shape, and meditation and brain training exercises can keep your mind sharp.
Yoga, especially the gentler restorative yoga, can also offer a wide array of health benefits—working physical and psychological wonders. Seniors, who often struggle with pain, joint stress, imbalance, osteoarthritis, and other physical limitations, can benefit from incorporating a yoga practice into their daily routine.
Here are just 10 health benefits of Yoga for seniors
1. Yoga improves Flexibility & Mobility
Regular Yoga exercises stretches and tones the muscles making them stronger. For the senior person who may be prone to stiff joints and muscles, the gentle Yoga exercises and poses will be a refreshing and gentile way to reduce those stiff joints and muscles. Not only will these muscles and joints be toned they will also be strengthened preventing further injuries down the line.
2. Yoga improves Balance & Stability
It’s a fact of life that as we get older, we will at some stage struggle with our balance and stability. But by practicing yoga we can greatly increase the age we start to totter and possibly put it off altogether. Strengthening the muscles and joints by gentle yoga poses means less chance of falling in older age, this being especially important for the senior women, who are prone to brittle bones. A hip fracture in the aged can be very serious indeed. The extra strength gained by yoga will even help recovery from illness or falls. So it’s win win win!
3. Yoga improves Joint Health & Reduces Arthritis
Targeted yoga poses, chosen for you by a qualified yoga instructor aware of your specific areas of pain, can help strengthen the joints as well as making them more flexible. Also, yoga practice can also decrease the high levels of uric acid which contribute to gout. The yoga breathing techniques will also create a calmer, less stressful senior, which all helps with pain management.
4. Yoga Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Yoga classes are calm and restorative, meaning the seniors stress or anxiety will lessen over time. This not only makes the person feel and look better, it also reduces their stress hormone Cortisol, which can cause inflammation to worsen.
5. Yoga Encourages Mindfulness
Since so much of yoga is focused on breathing and listening to your body, an added benefit is the expanded awareness of Self through practice.
As you practice yoga and become mindful of not just your body, but also of your thoughts and emotions, you will become more connected to and mindful of your environment, your community, and the world around you.
6. Yoga Reduces Heart Disease & lowers blood pressure
Yoga students are often pleasantly surprised to learn that their blood pressure is lower after their first yoga class. As they develop a regular practice of yoga, their blood pressure remains at lower levels in between classes. Plus yoga helps patients who have undergone heart surgery cope with feelings of depression, stress and anxiety.
7. Yoga Helps Manage Type 2 Diabetes
In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. This insulin-deficiency is generally related to lifestyle and stress factors. Regular yoga practice can significantly reduce stress levels.
Also, yoga practice can induce short-term improvements in fasting glucose and cholesterol levels. This effect occurs because yoga stimulates the organs which regulate metabolism.
8. Yoga Improves Strength
Adults start to lose muscle mass at around age 40, with the process accelerating around age 50. This can leave older adults feeling weaker and, if nothing is done, lead to some loss of independence later in life. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent or reverse muscle loss. As the old adage goes, you have to use it or lose it. In yoga, you challenge your muscles to support the weight of your body as you transition into different positions. Yoga exercises the muscles you don’t use every day and tones the ones you do.
9. Yoga Improves Bone Strength
Gentle weight-bearing exercises improve bone density and help to ward off Osteoporosis. Yoga uses techniques where you life your own body weight, thereby increasing your bone mass. You can also benefit from lower levels of the stress hormone Cortisol which reduces Calcium in the bones.
10. Yoga Improves Posture
Over time, people start to slouch, with their head dipping lower and lower, and their back arcing, as they age. Yoga can actually reverse this condition by repeated stretching and lengthening of the spine, a bit like straightening out if you like. Thus reversing that rounded hunched look. You will feel better and look better too.
Yoga programs can range from very simple exercises to advanced full-body movements, so don’t worry if you’re starting from scratch. Even beginner exercises help build your core strength, balance, and flexibility.
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