the benefits of restorative yoga for aging adults
When we think of getting older, we often think of aching bones and creaky joints. But aging doesn’t always have to come with the promise of dreaded health problems. One great way to manage health as you age is through a low-impact exercise like pilates, water aerobics, and yoga.
Here are some of the best yoga poses seniors can do to maintain their health, build stronger bodies and boost their confidence. Before diving into any exercise or yoga pose, seniors should always take the proper precautions to stay safe and prevent injury during a workout.
How to practice yoga safely:
• Never force your body into an uncomfortable or painful position.
• Work at a slow pace, especially if you are a beginner.
• Adapt any position as needed (some can be done effectively from a chair).
• Wear non-restrictive clothing like soft pants and loose t-shirts.
• Consult a doctor and certified yoga trainer before beginning.
Tell a friend or loved one you’ll be exercising if you live alone.
For seniors with lower mobility, poor balance or physical disabilities, chair yoga is a great option! This form of yoga incorporates all the benefits of yoga without the instability and risk of a fall associated with traditional yoga. It also happens to work well for many seniors in wheelchairs!
The Many Benefits of Yoga for Senior Wellbeing and Health
Of course, yoga offers incredible health benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing. But for seniors, those benefits are magnified.
Stronger joints and better mobility
Studies have found yoga to be an effective tool for managing pain in women with knee osteoarthritis. Yoga works to improve flexibility and strengthen muscles, which can reduce
Lower blood pressure levels
Hypertension is a common concern with seniors, but yoga has been found to help! High blood pressure is often caused by high levels of oxidative stress, which is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. For those who practice yoga regularly, oxidative stress seems to be much lower, thereby reducing blood pressure.
Better lung function and respiratory system
Another common problem among seniors is asthma and COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Luckily, yoga can help. Studies have found that yoga positively impacts respiratory function, decreases respiratory rate and even decreases heart rate, improving overall lung function.
Improved mental health and clarity
With more than half of seniors over 55 reporting a mental health concern, depression is a big deal for older adults. Yoga has been found to have a positive impact on both mood and mental health and has even been found to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and general stress.
Now that you know how great yoga can be for seniors of all ages, health levels, and abilities, take a look at 7 fun restorative poses for seniors!
Upward salute is great for relieving back pain
Try standing with your back pressed against a wall to be sure your spine is aligned properly.
Tree pose is good for encouraging better balance. If you feel unsteady on one foot, hold on to a chair or wall.
Child’s pose can help regulate digestive function. Keep your knees together for stimulation of internal organs.
Hero pose is good for promoting circulation. For extra support, wedge a rolled blanket or foam roller under your thighs.
Mountain pose is good for calming the mind and reducing stress. For added balance, keep your feet slightly apart.
Savasana is a great way to end a yoga flow in a comfy position. Raise your arms over your head for extra stretch.
Seated spinal twist
Seated spinal twist is perfect for low-mobility yogis. Don’t pull on the chair to twist further –– you’ll overstretch.
Yoga can be a great addition to aging gracefully, keeping your body, mind, and spirit light in optimum health.
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