Yoga for Senior Citizens

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 older 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 a person’s mobility and ability to live independently like muscle and joint stiffness. This can make a person feel much older than they actually are.

Few practices improve a person’s flexibility quite like yoga. The exercise regimen basically amounts to specialized stretches targeted to certain areas of the body. By practicing yoga on a regular basis, older individuals can ensure that they maintain their flexibility and avoid many of the health problems that come from musculoskeletal stiffness.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common age-related health problems. Millions of U.S. adults suffer from the painful joint condition. It is caused by the cartilage of the joints wearing down over time. Once 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. The Arthritis Foundation states that exercise is one of the best ways to prevent the joint damage that characterizes osteoarthritis. However, the irony is that because the condition causes pain, few people stay as active as they should. Studies have shown that very few people with osteoarthritis get any kind of physical activity in their everyday life.

Yoga may offer these individuals a solution to the problem. Because the practices is low-impact, it may not bother the joints of a person with osteoarthritis the way more traditional exercises like running or riding a bike can. This may help individuals meet their fitness goals without putting an unnecessary strain on their joints.

A large percentage of seniors also suffer from cardiovascular problems. High cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and poor blood flow are very common problems. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. However, yoga may be able to counter many of these problems. The exercise routine has been shown to lower the heart rate and improve circulation. This may benefit individuals who have multiple cardiovascular risk factors.

Furthermore, yoga can get the heart pumping more than a person would think, which may provide the cardiovascular workout seniors need to maintain the condition of their heart and reduce their chances of complications. The exercise delivers this kind of workout without putting an individual through anything too rigorous or difficult.
However, this perception should not stop older people from trying it out. There are many classes that are specifically geared to the ability and needs of seniors. In fact, a number of classes offer a type of sitting yoga, with all the of the positions being performed while seated in a chair. This prevents the strain associated with going down to the ground and having to get up again. Therefore, seniors do not have to 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 men and older individuals trying out the practice. This is a shame because just about everyone has something to gain from yoga. This is particularly true for seniors, who may be among the least likely to sign up for a class.

The benefits of yoga for seniors do not stop at physical concerns. A high percentage of older adults suffer from depression. The mood disorder is common, as many individuals may have lost their partner or become burdened by chronic illness. Yoga can help people overcome these problems. The practice forces an individual to focus their attention entirely on the present. Instructors tell students to focus on the sensations of their muscles as they are stretched. This tight focus on the moment precludes any thinking about past or future concerns. In fact, some classes are can almost be characterized as moving meditation.

Depression is basically characterized by an inability to pull one’s thoughts away from past regrets. However, becoming more active and participating in an exercise routine that requires such focused attention on the present may help people forget these concerns. Getting involved in one of these classes may be among the best things aging individuals can do for their spiritual, physical and mental health. Many seniors may think that the way to avoid any serious injury or illness is to stay at home, but nothing could be further from the truth. Participating in a yoga class may support many areas of a senior’s health.

Dahn Yoga is one of the largest yoga and tai chi companies in the world with its own unique style and brand of yoga. Dahn Yoga is rooted in the rich history of an ancient Asian mind-body practice, Sun Do, and in the wisdom of the Chun Bu Kyung.

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