When you think of yoga, you may be imagining ultra-flexible yogis twisted into pretzel-like poses. However, yoga can be practiced in many different ways, and many online guides and videos exist to help beginners get the hang of it, whether alone or in a group. Yoga also has a wide variety of health benefits for seniors, including bone strengthening, improving balance, and alleviating aches and pains. Careage has compiled a list of benefits you’ll enjoy while practicing yoga as a senior.
Maintain Joint Mobility
Joint pain is one of the most widespread and debilitating health conditions for older adults, affecting over 50% of people over age 65. A great deal of yoga is focused on extending and relaxing joints and holding them in place. A certain type of yoga called yin yoga involves holding a pose in place for around 20 minutes, which is extremely beneficial to maintaining full range of motion in your joints.
Reduce Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is another common medical ailment that affects the senior population and can lead to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney issues, and other serious conditions. One study involved seniors practicing Iyengar yoga, which focuses on the use of props such as belts or blocks to help beginners master poses more easily and reduce the chances of injuries and muscle strains. The study showed that the seniors who practiced this form of yoga slightly improved their blood pressure after several weeks.
Medical conditions involving a loss of bone density, such as osteoporosis, commonly affect older adults. Yoga has been shown to strengthen bone density, preventing the onset of osteoporosis as well as alleviating its symptoms. However, if you are currently dealing with osteoporosis, make sure you discuss your planned yoga routine with a doctor to ensure you won’t be doing more harm than good. You should never push yourself too hard when it comes to yoga – it’s meant to be calming and relaxing, not injury-inducing.
We hope that this helped shed some light on the many health benefits of yoga. For more information or for more ideas on senior-friendly activities, visit Careage’s blog.