Getting older means enjoying various positive gifts such as grace, maturity, experience, wisdom, and perspective. However, it also means having to deal with many challenges. For some, it may have gotten harder to maintain good physical health whereas for others, maintaining their mental health is their top priority. For various conditions, practicing yoga can be a solution that is easy to perform and safe for older adults. Here are several health benefits of practicing yoga for older adults.
Improves Balance and Stability
Many yoga poses focus on stability and balance which are highly essential as we age. Improving our balance and strengthening our muscles can prevent the risk of falls which is pretty common for older adults. Not only does yoga help to prevent falls, but it also increases stability and strength to help you bounce back should you sustain an injury.
Improves Joint Health and Flexibility
If you have been searching for a gentle form of exercise that increases flexibility, yoga is highly recommended. Flexibility exercises like yoga are great if you have stiff or achy joints. Studies have also shown that yoga is an effective exercise that can help older adults manage osteoarthritis as it offers therapeutic benefits. Practicing a low-impact exercise can help to loosen up your muscles and tone them to prevent injury.
As we age, reduced tolerance to physical exertion and experiencing respiratory limitations are to be expected. Anything that lowers oxygen levels in the respiratory system can have adverse effects on our body and mind. Studies have shown that going through a yoga program for up to 12 weeks can significantly improve respiratory function in older adults. Breathing is the foundation of life so it is indeed critical to keep your respiratory system in tip-top form regardless of your age.
Reduces High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to cardiovascular disease. It is also the second-leading cause of kidney disease. Yoga has been found to reduce oxidative stress in older adults. This is one of the underlying causes of hypertension especially for older adults and it inflicts a significant risk of heart attacks.
Yoga classes are restorative and calm, relaxing both your mind and body. By regularly practicing yoga, older adults can reduce their sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response, which is the cause of various inflammation problems that can wreak havoc on your body and mind. Yoga also involves the practice of focused breathing and other slow movements which can trigger your parasympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, will reduce the byproducts of stress and anxiety feelings.
So much of yoga is focused on breathing and listening to your body. It also offers an added benefit of an expanded awareness of the Self through regular practice. As you regularly practice yoga through a scheduled routine, you will become more mindful of not just your body, but also your emotions and thoughts. You will feel more connected to the environment and become more mindful of your surroundings as well as your community and the world in general.