Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Exploring the Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

Exercise is beneficial throughout one’s life to build strength and flexibility, control weight, reduce stress, and improve overall health. By staying active, seniors can help to enhance their quality of life. Yoga is a beneficial form of exercise that can be started at any age, but can be especially appealing to the senior population. Courses may be available at the gym, a fitness or senior center, through a private instructor, or by video. There are many benefits to be gained from this gentle form of exercise:
Low-impact Movements
Yoga is all about gentle stretching and moving the body into different positions. It does not require any additional materials and can be done almost anywhere. The movements are low-impact and gentle on muscles and joints. It typically has a lower risk for injury as well while still building strength and toning muscles.
Relieves Stress
Many seniors find yoga to be a very relaxing activity. They are able to connect with their thoughts and body and feel more centered. Deep breathing and gentle stretching can reduce tension and allow them to unwind. At the same time, yoga can also provide seniors with more focus and energy. By working their whole body, they can feel more refreshed and energetic.
Increases Flexibility
There are numerous poses in yoga. From standing to sitting to laying and everything in between, it is a full body workout. The muscles and joints are gently flexed, stretched, and bent. The more active seniors stay, the more beneficial it is for supporting mobility and balance. Range of motion is increased as seniors continue practicing different moves. This can also help to improve circulation as well. Seniors may find that their joints are less stiff and they have better stability as a result of the focus and movements gained through yoga.
Improves Sleep
Some studies have shown that seniors who engage in yoga are able to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The combination of gentle movement, controlled breathing, and increased relaxation may help them to establish better sleep patterns. As a result, they may also feel more alert and awake during the day because they are more rested.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Another benefit of doing yoga is that it may help to lower blood pressure. The relaxation techniques and physical activity, when done regularly, can aid in better controlling blood pressure and leaving seniors feeling calmer. This form of exercise may also play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease in general.
Alleviates Pain
As senior age, they may develop more aches and pains, especially in their joints. By staying active and exercising their muscles, seniors can alleviate some of the discomfort they feel as their flexibility and mobility increase. Correct positioning can also improve the alignment of joints and support better posture. The more they move, the better it can help them to feel. Exercise also releases endorphins which can elevate mood and help with pain management.
Provides Socialization
Yoga can also be a beneficial form of socialization. Seniors can meet with others and develop new friendships. It is a chance for them to enjoy the company of others while doing something that they enjoy. Yoga has physical, mental, and emotional benefits and can be a great activity to keep seniors active in a safe and enjoyable way.

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