Stiff bones and joints are very common as we start to age and high quality of life is a great thing to experience as you get older. Being able to focus on having a happy life instead of worrying about health issues is a win. There are different ways for seniors to improve their quality of life and one great way is through yoga and meditation. Finding a daily exercise routine can help you to maintain independence and strength. Although it can be quite a challenge to find what types of exercise work for you and your ability, yoga for seniors can be a great option. Yoga is especially beneficial for those with joint pain, osteoporosis, limited mobility, and balance issues. Yoga offers versatile and different movements which can be adjusted based on your capabilities. If you are looking for a safe and effective way to increase your physical and mental health, then you have come to the right place. This article will go over the benefits and how you can start incorporating yoga and meditation into your daily life to promote a stress-free, healthy mind and life.
Benefits of Yoga for Seniors
Yoga is a mind-body connection. There are studies that show how yoga can improve your mental health just as much as your physical health. The different poses are called asanas, that can be modified to fit your needs and ability. Yoga is not only good for flexibility; it also can prevent health issues that may prevent themselves as we age.
- Better Balance: Most of the yoga poses that are geared toward seniors work on making the abdominal muscles stronger and improving core stability. This can be beneficial in becoming more balanced reducing the risk of falling.
- Stronger Bones: Many seniors deal with osteoporosis and arthritis, because as we age, our bones cells decrease quicker than they can produce new cells, causing brittle bones. Choosing a yoga routine that has weight-bearing postures can help keep your bones as strong as possible. Studies show that yoga can improve bone density in postmenopausal women.
- Better sleep: Seniors tend to have problems sleeping and after trying everything, the simple answer is yoga. Yoga is a form of mindfulness and being in the present moment, which can help to relax your mind. Many experience that doing yoga before bed can improve the quality of sleep.
- Enhanced breathing: One of the great healing aspects of yoga is improved breathing, providing tremendous help to seniors with lung issues. Studies found that senior women who practiced yoga three times a week for 12 weeks saw significant improvement in their respiratory function.
- Reduces anxiety and stress: Stress and anxiety can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and the list goes on. Your mind is a very powerful tool that can have a great impact on your health. Clearing your mind through yoga is an excellent way to rid yourself of stress. Over 85 percent of individuals have stated they’ve experienced reduced stress after engaging in yoga.
The Best Types of Yoga for Seniors
There are many different types of yoga to choose from based on your ability and mobility. Whether you are trying to build strength, ease your mind, improve balance, or become more flexible, there is an option for you. Always remember to do what you are capable of doing to prevent injury or strain.
Here are seven different types of yoga that may best suit you:
⦁ Hatha: If you are new to yoga, this is a great option to start with. It is very low intensity and doesn’t get your heart rate up. Hatha focuses on different breathing techniques and involves a set of different basic yoga poses. This is great for seniors and involves sitting and standing poses and an introduction to what yoga is about.
⦁ Iyengar: This type of yoga is more precise and focused on ensuring you are using proper form. This type uses props such as blocks, bolsters, incline boards, and straps to get you in correct alignment. The different props allow you to modify your positioning for comfort, making this an ideal form of yoga for those with arthritis and other chronic conditions.
⦁ Restorative: This type focuses on calming and relaxing your mind by holding positions for a longer period of time to induce relaxation and connection with your mind, body and inner self. Tension is released passively, without stretching. It is common for people to fall asleep during this type of yoga so practicing restorative yoga before bed can help those who have trouble sleeping.
⦁ Yin: Very similar to restorative yoga, but with stretching involved. During yin, you work on restoring your deep connective tissue and relieving stiffness and enhancing flexibility.
⦁ Vinyasa: Involves a series of movements that flow from one pose to another. The movements involved tend to be more fast-paced and fluid. If you are a senior who is fit and would like to engage in faster-paced type of yoga, then vinyasa would be best for you.
⦁ Ashtanga: A more advanced form of yoga for those who would like something more challenging. Ashtanga is fast paced, consisting of a predetermined set of poses that are performed the same way every time. This form is excellent for weight loss and reducing weight related health conditions.
⦁ Bikram: Also known as hot yoga. The rooms are set to a high temperature to induce sweating which rids your body of toxins. It includes a series of movements and breathing techniques that last for about 90 minutes. Bikram yoga is not recommended for those with low blood pressure, high blood pressure, or any health condition that can be triggered by heat.
Overall, yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, stiffness, and prevent many health issues. Improved breathing brings about many health benefits as well. Before you start a new workout routine, always consult a medical professional to make sure you are fit enough to exercise. This will help you choose the right type of yoga for your fitness level.