It is no secret that maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle is beneficial as we age. Exercise routines help give us more energy and keep our brains and bodies active. Activities such as going on hikes, taking long walks, and participating in sports such as golf or tennis are always encouraged. However, have you ever considered taking up yoga?
If you’re a resident at Oceanside senior living, we have a few reasons why you may want to consider joining a yoga group or even practicing yoga on your own. Keep reading to learn more!
Try Something New
Retirement is the perfect time to try something new! Whether you live in an assisted living facility or are still living at home, you probably have quite a bit of free time on your hands. Because of this, now is the best opportunity to seek out a new hobby.
When we work full time, it can be difficult to prioritize ourselves and our health. With the demands of our employer, juggling tasks at home, and trying to stay on top of bills and keeping everything organized can certainly diminish the chances we have to take care of our own well being. Maybe you have heard of yoga or seen it portrayed on television or in the movies. If you’ve been intimidated to begin due to these depictions, think again!
In most settings, yoga is a warm and welcoming environment. Licensed instructors offer classes for all age levels and skill levels. Don’t let fear of a new practice keep you from getting started!
What is Yoga?
Yoga, by definition, is the group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines that are aimed at stilling and controlling the mind and thoughts. Yoga has origins in ancient India and Asia, and has been around for centuries. The main goal of yoga is to help one practice mindfulness, improve flexibility, and recenter their focus.
While this does include various stretches and poses, it also centers around breath control and meditation. It has even become one of the most popular forms of exercise in the United States where one in seven adults surveyed say that they practice yoga routinely.
What Are the Benefits?
Now that we’ve defined yoga and talked about why you should consider trying something new, it’s time to delve into the important stuff: the benefits of yoga. So what are they, and how is yoga specifically good for seniors?
1.) Strengthened Bones
Many seniors suffer from a condition called osteoporosis, which affects bone health. Osteoporosis is responsible for causing bones to become brittle and weak and occurs when new bone growth can’t keep up with the decrease in bone density. Loss of bone density is typical for seniors.
However, yoga can actually help prevent osteoporosis! This is because yoga encourages muscle build. If you strengthen your muscles, your bones will get stronger, too. This will have an overall positive effect on your balance and posture as well.
2.) Reduced Stress
You are in your golden years! If there was ever a time you deserved to relax, it’s now. Yoga offers a relaxing way to let go of the tension that you’re walking around holding inside of your body, especially your shoulders and upper back.
Yoga has also been shown to help relieve some of the stresses that can go on to cause hypertension. If you are a senior with high blood pressure, consider talking to your doctor about how yoga can help. It may even result in you needing less medications to take every day! As an added bonus, yoga can also help to reduce anxiety by helping to regulate breathing and lowering your heart rate.
3.) Better Sleep Habits
Thanks to yoga’s ability to help reduce stress, it can also lead to a better quality sleep! Many seniors struggle with getting a good night’s rest on a regular basis, and since yoga is known to relax both the mind and body, it is no wonder that translates to better rest.
If you are a senior who struggles with getting adequate sleep each night, try a few yoga classes to see if if that can help bring Mr. Sandman along.
4.) Improved Mobility
It is no secret that many seniors struggle with mobility issues. Our bodies can get stiff and achy as we age, making it difficult to move as freely as we could before. Yoga is made up of a series of slow, measured movements and specific poses that are aimed to improve balance, flexibility, and overall mobility.
For those who are at high risk of falls, yoga helps to provide the tools you need to improve your mobility and along with it, your overall sense of safety. Falls are a leading cause among injuries for seniors, so yoga would be a great activity to consider.
5.) Helps With Depression
No one, not even seniors, are immune to depression. In fact, it is something that older people face quite frequently, especially if a lot of life changes have occurred lately. Maybe you’ve just transitioned from your own to home to Oceanside senior living, and you’re having a lot of emotions regarding the move. Or perhaps you have just retired, and the idle / down time you have now has left you feeling restless.
While these feelings are perfectly natural, don’t worry, as yoga can actually help! Yoga is known to be a mood-boosting activity, and the combination of movement, breathing, and meditation can actually bring about a sense of overall wellness. Also, if you’re attending a yoga class with peers, you also get the boosted benefit of social interaction as well.
6.) Alleviate Aches and Pains
Yoga is the perfect activity for someone who suffers from aches and pains, or even more serious conditions, such as arthritis. Because it is a low-impact exercise, you don’t have to worry about jarring already aching joint muscles. Instead, you can focus on the fluidity of movements.
If kneeling or laying down on the floor is difficult, yoga can even be done seated! Certain moves and breathing techniques can all be performed while sitting down.