Exercise is important at any age. Unfortunately, as people age, finding ways to exercise that are gentle on the body and enjoyable can be difficult. One form of exercise that is often recommended for seniors is yoga.
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that combines meditation, breathing, and poses that stretch and strengthen muscles. People of all ages can do yoga. In fact, many yoga studios and gyms offer classes specifically for older adults. Some even offer chair yoga for people with mobility problems, including those confined to wheelchairs.
Although yoga is a gentle form of exercise, it has many health benefits including those below.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Practicing yoga is known to lower stress levels, which can have a positive effect on blood pressure levels. In some cases, yoga has even helped people to need less of their blood pressure medications. Scientists believe that the controlled breathing used in yoga slows down activity in the nervous system, leading to better blood pressure levels.
Reduces Arthritis Pain
Lowering stress levels can reduce pain. In addition, yoga helps to strengthen the muscles that support joints and also increases flexibility. Both of these things improve joint health. Also, if your aging relative suffers from gout, doing yoga may decrease the amount of uric acid in the body, lowering the chances of having another attack of gout.
Many older adults suffer from anxiety. They may feel anxious about health problems, financial issues, or the future. Studies show that yoga can reduce the symptoms of anxiety. In one study, women who had been diagnosed with anxiety who practiced yoga twice weekly for eight weeks reported fewer anxiety symptoms.
Balance problems can cause dangerous falls and injuries. In fact, falls are the top cause of injuries in senior citizens. Statistics say that an older adult in the United States falls every 11 seconds. Because yoga involves slow, controlled movements that build strength, practicing yoga can improve balance. Having better balance reduces the risk of falling, so your older family member stays safer.
If your aging relative is interested in trying yoga, an elderly care provider can help them to find a class in their community. If the senior no longer drives, an elderly care provider can offer transportation to and from classes. Or, an elderly care provider can take the senior to the library to find a yoga DVD to try out at home.