Age is just a number. But as the years go by, you can feel how it’s taking a toll on your body. Fortunately, a consistent Yoga practice proves beneficial to everyone, regardless of age. And for seniors, it helps you stay as physically active as possible. However, there’s more to this benefit than meets the eye.
In this article, we’ll explore nine key benefits of Yoga for seniors. Read below to see how it can help you grow old gracefully.
This article is written by Alejandra Leyva HARO Expert & Content Creator. We might add that you can choose the word you want to age with. Perhaps you want to age amazingly, you want to age radically or age fantastically?! E + C
9 Yoga Benefits for Seniors: How Yoga Helps You Grow Old Gracefully
Yoga is a form of mind-and-body exercise. It entails performing a combination of posing and breathing techniques, not to mention meditation.
For most practitioners, Yoga is a holistic approach to fostering overall health and well-being. But for some, this practice is a path to spiritual enlightenment.
According to Yogi Times, there are over 300 million yogis or yoginis globally. Around 36 million Americans are practising this regularly in the United States alone. However, the number of Yoga practitioners worldwide shows no signs of slowing down.
The good thing is that Yoga is for everyone. Almost three-fourths of Yoga practitioners are women, while the rest are men. And when it comes to age groups, have a glimpse of the percentages below:
- 18-29 years old (19%)
- 30-49 years old (38%)
- 50+ years of age (43%)
Surprisingly, almost half of the Yoga practitioners are seniors. What do the numbers imply? This means that the Yoga practice proves beneficial to older people.
What are the benefits from a regular Yoga practice?
If you’re looking for motivation to try your first Yoga Class, keep reading!
1. It strengthens your bones and muscles.
As you age, your bones become weaker and more brittle. Osteoporosis is more common among older people, this condition can make you prone to sudden and unexpected fractures. The same holds true for your muscles, as they lose strength and mass over time.
Regular Yoga practice can prevent your bones and muscles from deteriorating. Certain poses, like downward dog and chair pose, strengthen your bones and muscles. These weight-bearing exercises stimulate your bone growth and increase bone density.
Yoga poses, such as plank and chaturanga, also require upper body strength. So, they help maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle loss.
2. It enhances your strength and endurance.
As mentioned above, older age leads to bone and muscle deterioration. However, Yoga practice helps strengthen your bones and grow your muscles. As a result, it gives your body overall strength and endurance.
Many Yoga poses entail holding your body weight in specific positions for an extended period. Doing these helps build your bone and muscle strength. They also boost your overall endurance.
Nancy Mitchell, RN at Assisted Living, highlights the health benefits of regular exercise for seniors. “We hope to incorporate physical activities like Yoga into their daily grinds. We believe that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. That can ultimately improve the quality of their lives.”
3. It improves your balance and flexibility.
Your sense of balance and flexibility will slowly decline as you age. This natural occurrence affects your mobility, making it more challenging for you to perform day-to-day functions. You can prevent this from happening through gentle Yoga poses for seniors.
A perfect example is the tree pose, which is a balance pose. It requires you to stand on one foot while holding the other against your thigh. Over time, this pose helps improve your overall balance and flexibility.
Check out tree pose below (don’t worry we share lots of options!) Ready to try a class? Click here!
4. It reduces aches and alleviates pain.
Nothing is more debilitating than experiencing pain, this can become more common as you age. You might have arthritis, you might suffer from daily aches in your back. Pains in your joints, especially hands, knees, wrists, and elbows. You might just feel a general stiffness that limits your comfortable range of motion.
Here’s the good news: Yoga helps reduce joint pain. According to Cleveland Clinic, Yoga can help combat the effects of osteoarthritis. Regular posing and breathing exercises can improve your joint flexibility. They may even decrease your body’s inflammation and increase blood circulation.
5. It helps you sleep better.
Sleep problems are common issues for many people. That’s where Yoga comes in to help improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
More than 55% of practitioners said Yoga significantly improved their sleep. The breathing exercises associated with Yoga promote calmness and relaxation. Also, a slow stretching Yoga routine before bedtime helps induce drowsiness and tranquillity. Ultimately, Yoga can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
6. It boosts your energy levels.
As you grow older, your body generally deteriorates. As such, you can easily and quickly feel weak and get tired. You may no longer have the energy to perform your day-to-day activities. That’s why most health professionals recommend seniors always stay physically active.
Yoga is both a physical and mental exercise. It entails performing not only breathwork but also meditation and the physical Asana (exercises).
John Gardner, Co-Founder & CEO of Kickoff, suggests Yoga as workout training for seniors. “Sure, aging can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. However, Yoga can help boost your energy levels and overall vitality. With Yoga, nothing can stop you from staying physically active—not even aging.”
7. It reduces stress and improves mood.
As a senior, you might experience isolation and boredom as you become less involved in activities outside your home. Or you might even feel stressed out in life, which can escalate to anxiety and depression.
Yoga can help reduce your stress and improve your overall mood. How? This practice involves breathing techniques and meditation practices. For some, this mind-and-body exercise is a way to find inner peace, carve a sense of balance and acceptance of potential changes going on around you and within you.
According to MedAlerthelp, nearly 55% of practitioners commit to Yoga to reduce stress and release tension. Other reasons include the following:
- Boosting mental and physical strength (52%);
- Improving mood (43%); and,
- Dedicating more time to themselves (27%).
8. It helps prevent chronic illnesses.
As you become older, the more you become susceptible to developing diseases. In fact, chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia and arthritis, are common among seniors.
Regular Yoga practice can help prevent those health conditions mentioned above. Various studies show how Yoga helps improve cardiovascular health, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce body inflammation. Take the following research studies below:
- Controlling Type 2 diabetes: Through a 40-day Yoga practice, patients (aged 30 to 60 years) with type 2 diabetes experienced a significant decline in blood sugar levels.
- Reducing Hypertension: After three months of daily Yoga practice, patients with mild to moderate high blood pressure had a drop in blood pressure.
- Alleviating Lung Issues: After 40 days, the Yoga practice improved the patients’ lung capacity by as much as 10%.
9. It gives you a sense of purpose.
Finally, practising Yoga can give seniors a sense of purpose and meaning.
Here’s the thing: Yoga offers you a new challenge, something to look forward to almost every day. It’s a great way to stay physically active and socially engaged with people. Not just in person but online too, this is why MerryBody has an active community group along with fantastic online classes.
Yoga can really make the rest of your years the best of your years!
So why not roll out your mat and give it a try?
Guest post written by Alejandra Leyva HARO Expert & Content Creator.