As an older adult, beginning an exercise regimen can be intimidating. This is especially true if you are out of shape or dealing with health conditions. Starting a beginner yoga practice can be a great way to get active and reduce your stress levels. This post will discuss the benefits of yoga for people over 50, from healthy joints and bones to increased flexibility and improved sleep.
You should talk to your doctor before embarking on a new exercise routine. Make sure that you are healthy enough to do yoga, and ask about any special precautions you should take.
A Gentle Yoga Practice Allows Seniors to Move without Straining
Exercise is a critical part of healthy aging, but it presents certain risks to seniors. High-intensity exercises – such as running, cycling, and weight-lifting – can put a strain on the body and lead to injuries. A gentle yoga practice is an excellent low-impact exercise option. Yoga is not only safe for older practitioners, but effective in maintaining mental and physical health.
You should contact yoga studios and gyms in your area to determine whether they offer yoga classes for beginners and/or seniors. Arrive early before your first class so that you have an opportunity to speak with your instructor about what to expect during class. Let your instructor know about any injuries or health issues you have. Never overextend yourself on your mat, and move into postures only as far as you can. Ask your instructor for help if you need it. New practitioners should also remember that they can take a seated position or child’s pose if they need to rest.
Yoga Helps Seniors Become More Flexible
Yoga involves gentle, guided stretching, which can help seniors develop greater flexibility and improve their range of motion. A limited range of motion can make older adults predisposed to falls and get in the way of daily activities. Increased flexibility can help keep seniors safe and allow them to care for themselves more independently.
Many yoga postures help with spinal flexibility. Keeping the spine flexible reduces the likelihood of stiffness and pain in the back and neck, helping you feel younger and healthier.
Yoga Promotes Good Bone and Joint Health
As you age, your bones naturally lose density and joints become stiffer. A gentle yoga practice can be effective in preventing and slowing bone density loss, and is safe for those with osteoporosis. Whether you are looking to prevent osteoporosis or relieve painful symptoms caused by an existing bone condition or fracture, yoga postures and stretches can be extremely beneficial. Regularly moving your joints can help reduce stiffness and joint tenderness.
Tell your yoga instructor about any bone conditions you have. He or she may be able to provide you with props such as blocks, straps, and inflatable balls that can help you avoid further injuries.
Yoga Keeps the Mind Sharp and Reduces Anxiety
Yoga allows you to slow down your breathing and meditate, creating a quiet time for calm reflection. Giving your mind a break from the frantic pace of everyday life can relieve stress and keep you centered and organized. Many people who practice yoga regularly report improvement in their mood and sleep patterns.
To learn more about which yoga poses can help with a variety of health conditions facing seniors, click here.
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