Yoga enthusiasts have been touting its health benefits for years, and although it’s gained dominance among young and middle-aged women, there’s no reason you can’t continue to benefit from yoga as you advance into your golden years.
If anything, seniors might need yoga more than anyone else. As our bodies and minds start to deteriorate, it’s more important than ever to maintain a health regimen to help keep us as strong and active as possible for as long as possible.
Strength and Balance
There are many yoga poses that focus on strengthening our legs and core muscles, all of which are necessary for maintaining balance and preventing falls. Since falls can be a very serious risk for many seniors, anything we can do to prevent them (including regular yoga) is a good idea.
It’s no secret that our bodies tend to stiffen as we age, making some movements and daily activities increasingly difficult. Yoga focuses on flexibility in many of its poses, and has been proven to help manage osteoarthritis in women.
Physical exercise often becomes more difficult for many of us who experience reduced respiratory functions as we age. This can have far-reaching effects throughout the mind and body, making us stiffer and more prone to disease as the oxygen to various parts of our bodies becomes limited.
Recent studies have shown that yoga had a significant positive impact on the respiratory function of elderly women. Like improved flexibility, improved respiratory function will also make it easier to perform day-to-day tasks and keep up with all your favorite activities.
Seniors are at an increased risk for high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). Not only can it cause of heart disease and stroke, it has also been linked with kidney disease.
Oxidative stress is a leading cause of high blood pressure, and yoga has been shown to reduce oxidative stress in older practitioners.
Have you ever listened to a yoga instructor when they’re teaching? Their voices are always calm and measured and apparently designed to make you fall asleep, but you can’t fall asleep because you’re exercising. It’s wonderful, and when yoga is practiced on a regular basis, it has been shown to reduce the body’s sympathetic nervous system, which makes us feel less anxious.
Many studies have linked anxiety to inflammation, which in turn has been connected to a wide variety of illnesses – from diabetes to heart disease to certain types of cancer. Reducing anxiety, not only allows you to feel better and enjoy life more, it’s also an effective way to stay happy and healthy.
In addition to the physical aspect of yoga, there’s also a strong mental component. You are encouraged to focus on your breathing, which helps you build a stronger relationship with your body. The more you practice yoga, the more you become aware of your thoughts and emotions, which in turn allows you to be more mindful of and connected to everything and everyone around you. It’s a powerful feeling that makes it well worth it to spend an hour once or twice a week on yoga.
Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.
CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.