Bob Harper once said:
“Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.”
If you are over 65, there are many yoga benefits for elders, chances are you’d like to improve some of the following: heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing, rusty flexibility, muscle strength, balance, mobility, propensity for falling, depression and/or anxiety, and thinking capacity.
Yoga is researched to be the alleviating factor for all of these. It’s an invigorating practice with various positive outcomes, one of them being greater independence, rather obscure with the seniors, especially those with a cognitive decline.
Never Again Lonely
With its orientation toward physical, mental and spiritual well-being, it has therapeutic effects on the elderly.
Then again, it’s a major factor contributing to the sense of belonging. You do it with other people. Which is also very important for lonely seniors.
If you are unable to go to the gym, you can do yoga at home, while having a live-in personal assistant who can also assist with that: find some reliable online classes or videos, help with the postures, equipment, etc.
Whatever modus you choose, I’m sure you’d be glad to have your hypertension in check. Researches show that slow breathing, controlled postures, and meditation slow down the nervous system, therefore high blood pressure.
Then, it helps you stave off bone density problems and osteoporosis. And helps you keep your weight down, more than any other senior-approved activity.
Moreover, the movement lubricates your joints, guarding you against arthritis, and since it’s balance-oriented, it also affects the seniors’ balance, the sense of spatial position and mobility.
It’s all about the ankles. Use them and use them properly- otherwise, their function dwindles.
“Yoga gives you the tools now to prevent a bad fall so you can still move around in your 80s”, said the American Association of Retired Persons.
They also add: “Yoga induces the relaxation response, an alpha state between awake and asleep that helps modulate the way the body responds to stress. When faced with a potential threat (or ongoing stress), your heart beats faster, your muscles tense and you start to sweat. Yoga stops this process in its tracks, reducing your heart rate, lowering blood pressure and easing respiration.”
You are better off with these movement-synchronized-with-breathing exercises than any other when it comes to the wholeness of body and mind. It will stay sharp and focused, and your mood bright (er).
There is yet another benefit of this ancient practice. It alleviates insomnia, a common issue among the seniors. They sleep excessively in the daytime, then cannot sleep at night or wake up a lot, snore, are restless and move their legs while sleeping.
The research suggests that these sleep disturbances are linked to respiratory issues, physical disabilities, depression and anxiety, cognitive decline and the use of non-prescription drugs.
So, yoga was first validated by experts, as appropriate for older adults. For half a year, they were subjected to a 60-min daily training of loosening exercises, physical postures, breathing and OM meditation, resulting in a “significant improvement in total sleep quality score.”
This “voluntarily-regulated breathing”, together with other relaxation and posture techniques made the elderly feel rested in the morning. They slept longer and better.
Revolutionary, indeed! We know how exhausting it is not to be able to sleep at night. Seniors also get scared. They don’t want to sleep because they are afraid they wouldn’t be able to.
Here’s what this research says: “Yogic techniques improve bodily physiological functions such as cardiovascular and respiratory efficiency; so also biochemical parameters like blood sugar, lipid levels, serum triglycerides and cognition in the elderly. Yoga program in elderly was also reported to improve the muscle strength, active range of motion, gait and balance, mobility, physical and emotional well-being.”
Nevertheless, always check with your doctor before you go to the gym. Or a local senior or retirement center.
And always opt for gentle exercise, which is less intense and restorative. Commit to doing it regularly. Do it slowly, keep it safe, relax when the muscles are tight.
More and more people are eager to have their life quality improved, and where better to start than with health?
“It may seem counterintuitive that an exercise regime that requires balance and stamina is suitable for older adults, who often suffer from balance, stamina, and breathing difficulties. It is.” The moves are modified to meet your mobility level. With a steady practice, they build up. It has to be comfortable.
Yoga is not a fad.
“In truth, yoga doesn’t take time- it gives time.”
You’ll love it.
And you won’t strain your muscles, I promise, you might as well strengthen them. And not just your body muscles.