5 Proven Benefits of Yoga for Older Adults
Yoga is good for aging? You don’t nama-say!
The aches and pains that come with getting older are not for the weak. You used to spend an entire Saturday in the garden and feel great afterward. Now you wrestle with a dull ache for a week after reaching too high to grab a dish from the cabinet. What changed?
Prioritizing our mental and physical health is key to aging gracefully and feeling your best along the way. Regular exercise is linked to a number of benefits, like feeling more energetic, better weight management, and more restful sleep. It can ensure you maintain your independence in your golden years.
When it comes to introducing a new exercise regimen, higher-intensity cardio, like swimming or running, can feel overwhelming and scary. Lower-impact exercises like walking and yoga, however, actually pack just as big of a punch and have significant benefits to your mind and body wellness. Let’s dig into some of the benefits!
5 Benefits of Yoga for Seniors
Retirement is a great time to reconnect with yourself and try your hand at some new hobbies. Yoga, named one of the best exercises for older adults, can also be something new to add to your daily life.
Whether a beginner or expert, yoga can greatly improve your quality of life. From improving your balance, reducing pain, increasing flexibility, and improving your mood, yoga might be your new favorite exercise that doesn’t even feel like exercise (but indeed, it is). Here are some proven benefits of yoga for seniors.
Preventing the onset of osteoporosis is a growing concern among seniors. Osteoporosis occurs when your body can’t create new bone mass and density as fast as you lose it. Yoga has been shown to both prevent osteoporosis as well as relieve symptoms of osteoporosis, with a propensity to increase bone density when done consistently and correctly. This results in better balance and flexibility which can prevent falls and injury.
Stress Management and a Reduced Risk of Depression
Yoga is typically practiced in a serene environment with a focus on keeping a clear and relaxed mind as well as bringing attention to your breathing. This environment, in combination with the stretches and poses, promotes better stress management and can even reduce your risk of depression, which is another growing concern among older adults. Due to its anxiety and stress-relieving properties, yoga can be especially beneficial for older adults suffering from dementia-related confusion or frustration to feel more relaxed and comfortable.
Lower Blood Pressure
Even more than listening to music or engaging in relaxing activities, yoga is linked to lower blood pressure even after just one class! And since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that consistent physical activity can lower your rate of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and many other chronic conditions, yoga checks all the boxes to keep you looking and feeling your best as you get older!
Because yoga is relaxing and promotes a sense of peace, many report better and more sound sleep, which can promote better health and longevity in older adults! And that’s not just nama-hear-say: In a study published in the journal Alternative Therapies In Health and Medicine, researchers looked at the effectiveness of yoga in treating sleep disorders in adults older than 60. Participants in the study engaged in twice-weekly yoga classes and additional daily sessions at home. The yoga group reported significant improvements in overall sleep quality, duration, and efficiency!
As you are likely well aware, the aging process can do a number on muscles and joints that have been worn down after the long and eventful life you’ve lived. Certain yoga stretches and poses have been shown to alleviate aches and pains associated with aging and inflammation in the body.
Overall, yoga's mind and body benefits—especially for older adults—are unbeatable. Yogis, or people proficient in yoga, often use the greeting “namaste.” This literally means “to you.” So, consider adopting yoga into your schedule as a daily movement and mindfulness practice to improve everything from your mental health to hip mobility. Cheers “to you” and your health and longevity!