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April 28, 2022

Benefits of Yoga for Seniors: Boosting Physical and Mental Health


 

Aging has so many benefits — wisdom you didn’t have when you were young, well-earned laugh lines, and freedom. But as we all know, aging can also take a toll on the body and mind. We’re always told that physical activity can help stave off anxiety as well as keep the body fit, but as we age, it can become more difficult, in some cases, to even begin some sort of fitness routine!

Yoga is a gentle activity for the aging that has immense benefits in boosting both physical and mental health. A regular yoga practice can boost energy, mobility, and ease those aches and pains. When you’re feeling good, there’s a better chance of you participating in other things you love that in retirement, you finally have the freedom to do!

Let’s take a closer look at how a regular yoga practice can improve your life:

The 5 Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

1. Mood booster! While exercise in general can help boost those all-important endorphins we need to feel good, the specific combination of movement, breathing and meditation that yoga encourages promotes an even higher level of well-being.

2. Stress relief. Yoga helps the body release tension, especially in the shoulders and upper back. This sets off a domino effect of goodness in your body, including:

  • Lowered heart rate
  • Improved sleeping habits
  • Reduced anxiety levels to help stave off depression
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved breathing

3. Improve balance, flexibility, mobility, and strength. Yoga is all about slow, controlled movements and poses. By learning to utilize your core strength in yoga, you’ll become better balanced and become more likely to catch yourself from falling in the future. It’s important to stay mobile for both physical as well as mental wellness.

4. Pain Relief. Certain yoga poses can help with back pain relief and even ease arthritis symptoms. Yoga has even been known to help relieve joint pain as well as improve bone density loss that leads to osteoporosis.

5. Social interaction. As much as yoga encourages one to look inward, the act of participating in a yoga class offers seniors the opportunity to interact with their peers in a non-intimidating atmosphere.

For a more in-depth look at the benefits of yoga in seniors, a recent study at the University of Edinburgh explored how the practice can improve health in later life.

“A large proportion of older adults are inactive, and do not meet the balance and muscle strengthening recommendations set by government and international health organizations. Based on this study, we can conclude that yoga has great potential to improve important physical and psychological outcomes in older adults. Yoga is a gentle activity that can be modified to suit those with age-related conditions and diseases.”

–      Divya Sivaramakrishnan, Physical Activity for Health Research Centre

Incorporating Yoga Into Your Life

Start slow, but make it routine. It’s called a yoga “practice” for a reason! Incorporating your yoga practice into your everyday routine will help you stay consistent, and you’ll reap the health benefits over time. Take a class at a Verve Senior Living community, or check out an instructional video from the library, or search an online source such as Apple for a host of yoga resources for all levels of experience.

Remember: When embarking on any physical activity, it’s important to know your limits. Start with a gentle Hatha class first or speak with a professionally certified yoga teacher to find out what’s best for your fitness level.

Namaste!