Yoga was first founded in India as a spiritual discipline made up of both physical and mental practices. These practices focused on breathing, meditation, and posture. Now, yoga is practiced all around the world for both relaxation and health purposes.
Every age group can benefit from yoga in one way or another. However, seniors stand to gain the most benefit from practicing yoga. Seniors are at higher risk for certain health conditions that yoga can help prevent, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even depression.
Seniors can also suffer from conditions such as arthritis and respiratory problems. Yoga for seniors is a great way to manage symptoms that accompany these conditions. Although yoga has many benefits for seniors, here are a few benefits seniors can look forward to once they start practicing yoga.
1. Strengthen and Tone Muscles
As people age, it’s normal to experience muscle loss. Unfortunately, high-intensity workouts, like yoga for seniors that are known to build and tone muscles aren’t recommended for seniors. Yoga is a good solution for seniors who want to strengthen and tone their muscles. Yoga allows seniors to regain muscle tone while practicing safe, accessible exercises.
2. Improve Balance
For a few reasons, balance can become more challenging with age. Because most yoga poses require you to focus on your core and center of gravity, yoga can help improve your balance. Seniors who maintain or improve their balance are less likely to fall. Being at a lower risk of falling can allow seniors to live longer independently at home.
3. Improve Breathing
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is extremely common among seniors. COPD can cause people to have shortness of breath. One treatment recommendation doctors tend to give their COPD patients is physical exercise. Yoga is a great solution for this. While practicing yoga, you have to really focus on your breathing. After a while, you will be able to take longer and deeper breaths.
4. Manages Insomnia
While insomnia can affect people of any age, 50% of seniors suffer from insomnia, according to the National Institute of Health. Yoga has been proven to reduce insomnia symptoms and allow seniors to sleep better. Although insomnia has its own issues, if left untreated, it can cause even more conditions, especially for seniors.
5. Maintain a Healthy Mind
Other mental health issues seniors often suffer from are depression and dementia. Yoga for seniors has also been proven to increase serotonin levels, which can help manage and prevent depression. Yoga has also been shown to have a positive effect on dementia because of its ability to improve and maintain cognitive function.
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
Because of its calming features, yoga has been known to lower blood pressure. This is a benefit for seniors, as many seniors suffer from high blood pressure and/or a condition that is caused by high blood pressure. When seniors lower their blood pressure, they can lower their risk of having a stroke or developing serious heart conditions.
7. Improves Flexibility
In addition to improving balance skills that allow seniors to live independently, yoga can also improve flexibility. Being able to rotate at the neck and spine are important factors to being able to continue daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and driving. Specific yoga poses and transitions allow seniors to improve their bodies’ flexibility.
8. Manages Joint Pain
Arthritis is a very common condition among seniors. Arthritis can cause debilitating pain in several joints throughout the body. Yoga for seniors is a proven method of managing this chronic pain caused by arthritis.
Research continues to prove the effectiveness yoga has in both treating and preventing certain health conditions. Seniors should discuss with their doctor whether yoga is the right type of exercise for managing their health conditions.