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Yoga for Mind. Body. Spirit. At Any Age.

Yoga for Mind. Body. Spirit. At Any Age.

By Beth Douglas

As we age, our bodies, of course, change. Sometimes the changes occur in ways we may not expect. Flexibility may become diminished as the types of activities we engage in change.

For seniors, beginning a new exercise regimen can be intimidating, if you are out of shape or dealing with limiting health conditions. Starting a beginner yoga practice can be a great way to get active and reduce stress levels. However, the benefits of yoga for people over 50 are many – from healthy joints and bones to increased flexibility and improved sleep.

Benefits of Yoga Are Many!

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 also effective in maintaining mental and physical health.

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 Bone and Joint Health

As you age, 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.

Yoga Helps to Reduce 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.

Reach Out!

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. 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. The benefits are many, and worth exploring. Who knows? You may even make a few new friends in the process… another great benefit!

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