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The 4 Key Benefits of Yoga for Seniors


Senior couple doing yoga.

Do you miss the time when you were able to bend over and touch your toes? It can occasionally seem as though your body will only slightly bend in one direction or another as you get older, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Once we reach the age of 50, there are various strategies to use to get into shape and improve our strength, balance and flexibility. That being said, you can improve these aspects gently through the traditional North Indian practice of yoga.


The History of Yoga

This ancient practice was founded nearly 5,000 years ago (although some believe it has been around for nearly 10,000 years) in Northern India to help cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation, and a higher consciousness of an individual. Today, yoga is still widely practiced across the globe, by various countries and age groups with the same ancient intent of helping an individual practice self-awareness and meditation as well as build muscle strength, promote flexibility and improve vitality.


Now, let’s discuss the four main perks that seniors can reap from including yoga in their daily routine:


Pillows and a comfortable white comforter on a bed.

1. Improve sleep and alleviate chronic pain

Aging plays a large part of why our muscles and joints seem to turn on us and that is due to all the wear and tear over our long and eventful life. These aches and pains can be relieved by a number of yoga positions and stretches. In addition, many seniors experience sleeplessness due to chronic pain. As yoga helps in soothing pain, aging adults who practice it may be able to fall asleep more quickly and get better quality of sleep throughout the night.


2. Improve blood pressure and reduce stress levels

Yoga has been shown to lower blood pressure better than relaxing activities like listening to music. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors who participate in regular yoga exercise have lower incidences of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and several other chronic health issues. Yoga soothes the body and mind, infusing you with peace and balance. This in turn can calm and even stop the body's fight-or-flight reaction during stressful situations. Slow yoga breathing is another technique that calms tension and stress, which can help seniors feel more at ease – especially those who have confusion brought on by dementia.


Stones stacked on top of each other next to the ocean.

3. Improve balance and manage diabetes

The ability of yoga to treat type 2 diabetes in aging adults may come as a surprise. Yoga influences insulin synthesis and massages the internal organs, lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. Asking qualified instructors about the best senior-friendly postures beneficial to the pancreas is a good first step if you are interested in promoting exercise for diabetes control.


Age-related decline in stability and balance increase the risk of falls when performing routine tasks. The good news is that yoga can help in avoiding these accidents by strengthening the stabilizing core muscles.


4. Improved breathing and mindfulness

Slowing respiratory systems have detrimental consequences on the entire body due to the shortage of oxygen overall. Yoga can help seniors practice breathing more mindfully. Additionally, it teaches particular breathing patterns that can boost oxygen flow within the body.


Black yoga mats rolled up in a basket.

Older adults who are transitioning into assisted living homes, in the early stages of dementia, or are simply getting used to age-related changes in their daily life routines – can all benefit from stress reduction and mindfulness techniques. Participants in yoga classes are instructed to become conscious of their thoughts and feelings.


While aging isn’t always an easy process, staying active with yoga and practicing mindfulness can help older adults age more gracefully. By opting into frequent yoga classes or simply tuning into an online video, seniors will gain many advantages that ease the effects of aging on the mind and body.

 

Check out more helpful senior lifestyle articles: here! Or, find your next healthy recipe: here!


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