Yoga may seem like a fad for young people, but there’s plenty of good reasons for senior citizens to do it too.
Many of the physical improvements that result from yoga directly address the health concerns of olderÂ individuals. Getting involved in the exercise may lead to a number of important benefits.
Most experts agree that maintaining flexibility is an important part of growing older. Few things hamper aÂ person’s mobility and ability to live independently like muscle and joint stiffness. This can make a personÂ feel much older than they actually are.
Few practices improve a person’s flexibility quite like yoga. The exercise regimen basically amounts toÂ specialized stretches targeted to certain areas of the body. By practicing yoga on a regular basis, olderÂ individuals can ensure that they maintain their flexibility and avoid many of the health problems that comeÂ from musculoskeletal stiffness.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common age-related health problems. Millions of U.S. adults sufferÂ from the painful joint condition. It is caused by the cartilage of the joints wearing down over time. OnceÂ the cartilage is completely broken down, there is no cure for the pain short of joint replacement surgery.
Today, osteoarthritis is considered one of the leading causes of disability in the U.S.Â The Arthritis Foundation states that exercise is one of the best ways to prevent the joint damage thatÂ characterizes osteoarthritis. However, the irony is that because the condition causes pain, few peopleÂ stay as active as they should. Studies have shown that very few people with osteoarthritis get any kind ofÂ physical activity in their everyday life.
Yoga may offer these individuals a solution to the problem. Because the practices is low-impact, it mayÂ not bother the joints of a person with osteoarthritis the way more traditional exercises like running orÂ riding a bike can. This may help individuals meet their fitness goals without putting an unnecessary strainÂ on their joints.
A large percentage of seniors also suffer from cardiovascular problems. High cholesterol, elevated bloodÂ pressure and poor blood flow are very common problems. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause ofÂ death in the U.S.Â However, yoga may be able to counter many of these problems. The exercise routine has beenÂ shown to lower the heart rate and improve circulation. This may benefit individuals who have multipleÂ cardiovascular risk factors.
Furthermore, yoga can get the heart pumping more than a person would think, which may provide theÂ cardiovascular workout seniors need to maintain the condition of their heart and reduce their chances ofÂ complications. The exercise delivers this kind of workout without putting an individual through anythingÂ too rigorous or difficult.
However, this perception should not stop older people from trying it out. There are many classes thatÂ are specifically geared to the ability and needs of seniors. In fact, a number of classes offer a type ofÂ sitting yoga, with all the of the positions being performed while seated in a chair. This prevents the strainÂ associated with going down to the ground and having to get up again. Therefore, seniors do not have toÂ worry that they are not fit enough to join a class.For some reason, practicing yoga has become very popular among young females, with very few menÂ and older individuals trying out the practice. This is a shame because just about everyone has somethingÂ to gain from yoga. This is particularly true for seniors, who may be among the least likely to sign up for aÂ class.
The benefits of yoga for seniors do not stop at physical concerns. A high percentage of older adultsÂ suffer from depression. The mood disorder is common, as many individuals may have lost their partner orÂ become burdened by chronic illness. Yoga can help people overcome these problems.Â The practice forces an individual to focus their attention entirely on the present. Instructors tell students toÂ focus on the sensations of their muscles as they are stretched. This tight focus on the moment precludesÂ any thinking about past or future concerns. In fact, some classes are can almost be characterized asÂ moving meditation.
Depression is basically characterized by an inability to pull one’s thoughts away from past regrets.Â However, becoming more active and participating in an exercise routine that requires such focusedÂ attention on the present may help people forget these concerns.Â Getting involved in one of these classes may be among the best things aging individuals can do for theirÂ spiritual, physical and mental health. Many seniors may think that the way to avoid any serious injury orÂ illness is to stay at home, but nothing could be further from the truth. Participating in a yoga class mayÂ support many areas of a senior’s health.
Dahn Yoga is one of the largest yoga and tai chi companies inÂ the world with its own unique style and brand of yoga. Dahn YogaÂ is rooted in the rich history of an ancient Asian mind-body practice, Sun Do, and in the wisdom of theÂ Chun Bu Kyung.