The Benefits of Yoga for Older Adults
Growing older comes with a lot of gifts such as maturity, grace, wisdom and experience just to name a few. Growing older can also present many challenges. Physically, bones, joints and muscles get weaker and inhibit mobility, the risk of life threatening illnesses increases and many different types of pain surface from all over the body. Psychologically and emotionally, older adults experience depression, anxiety and other mental health related disorders at a much higher rate. Aging can also come with a decline in memory and overall balance causing the sense of self to suffer.
Exercise is a critical part of healthy aging, but it presents certain risks to seniors. A gentle yoga practice like the Gentle Chair Yoga class we offer here at Spice Harmony Yoga studios, is an excellent low-impact exercise option. Yoga is not only safe for older practitioners, it is an effective complementary approach to health maintenance for older adults and has been demonstrated to support many dimensions of psychological wellbeing, from everyday stress to anxiety, depression, and coping with health challenges.
Here are some benefits of yoga for older adults:
- Chronic Pain Relief: Many seniors suffer from chronic pain in their joints and muscles. Regular practice of yoga helps to alleviate the physical pain and discomfort by strengthening the muscles, joints and bones; It also helps to remove tension and tightness in the body. Regular practice also helps to unlearn chronic stress and pain responses.
- Stress & Anxiety: Yoga has a positive impact on overall wellbeing in older adults. Regular practice of yoga helps to reduce perceived stress, hostility, modulate the fear of death, and improve overall mood.
Improved Flexibility and Bone Health: As you age and become less active, you may notice you are not as flexible as you were at a younger age. Yoga enhances flexibility and joint range of motion through physical poses that stretch muscles and lubricate joints. Those suffering from arthritis and other stiff-joint conditions can also benefit from yoga.
Creates mindfulness: Meditation and yoga go hand in hand, and when we pause (at any age) and reflect on our practice, our day, the present moment, we become more mindful and are able to take in more. With seniors, it can create a sense of connectedness, a feeling of empowerment; it can improve sleep and reduce signs of depression.
Regular practice allows you to become mindful of your body, your thoughts and emotions; this in turn allows you to feel more connected to your environment, community and the world around you.