If someone invites you to a yoga class it may conjure images of ultra-flexible people doing back bends, but the average yoga class is far from that stereotype. At your local yoga studio or fitness center, you’ll find many beginners who enjoy practicing in a calm, supportive environment. Millions of people have discovered the mental and physical benefits of yoga, and for seniors, a regular yoga practice can reduce anxiety, improve flexibility, reduce high blood pressure and improve stability. Perhaps the best thing about yoga is that people of all ages and abilities can participate, and everyone can go at their own pace. If you or a loved one are still on the fence about giving yoga a try, our senior health teams have put together a list of the three biggest health benefits of yoga for seniors that might change your mind.
- Yoga Improves Flexibility and Joint Health
There’s a reason that so many sports coaches recommend their athletes attend regular yoga classes. Yoga improves your overall flexibility and helps strengthen your joints, both of which are very important as we age. Stiff muscles and stiff joints can result in injuries, and recovery can take longer when you’re not in good shape.
Conditions like arthritis and painful joints are common in older adults, so if you’ve got stiff knees, stiff wrists, or stiff hips, why not try a beginner yoga class? Gentle stretching and moving your body in new ways can be very beneficial, and after a month or so, we’re sure you’ll feel a positive difference. Be patient on your yoga journey, however, and don’t expect to see dramatic results instantly. Change takes time, so enjoy the process.
- Yoga Reduces High Blood Pressure
There’s no way to get around it: life is stressful and we often can’t control the circumstances. Stress is known to contribute to a variety of health issues, including high blood pressure, which can be especially dangerous for seniors. When you take a yoga class you’ll focus on deep breathing and breath control, quieting your thoughts, and focusing on the moment, all of which can reduce stress and in turn reduce high blood pressure.
- Yoga Improves Balance and Stability
We’ve all had those moments where we suddenly lose our balance out of nowhere. If you don’t catch yourself in time, you can fall and injure yourself. Our balance and stability tends to get worse as we age, and falling becomes a serious hazard, especially for seniors who live alone.
Practicing yoga regularly can greatly improve your balance and your stability. Yoga works by strengthening the muscles around your joints and your spine, muscles that many of us don’t often use in our everyday lives. You’ll also learn a variety of balancing poses in your yoga practice that’ll help you feel more stable on your feet.
Yoga Classes at Senior Communities in New Jersey
In addition to the benefits discussed above, yoga can improve your posture, help reduce anxiety, lessen lower back pain, and unlock the power of meditation. Most yoga instructors will guide you through a short meditation session with controlled breathing at the beginning and end of each class, which gives you a chance to unwind and focus on your practice.
Staying active during your senior years is important, and yoga is an excellent activity for people of all abilities. For more information about the senior fitness classes we offer residents at all of our full-service assisted living communities, please contact the team at UMC today. You could also visit our website to learn more about how we prioritize senior health and fitness here: https://umcommunities.org
Original blog posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/3-health-benefits-of-yoga-for-seniors/