Yoga for Seniors is a gentle, seated and standing series designed to increase energy, improve balance, develop muscle strength, build endurance, and encourage full range of motion movement. This is a class best suited for those who are challenged by injury, limited range of motion, joint replacement, or pain related conditions, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and diabetes.
Yoga is the Perfect Exercise for Seniors
We look forward to retirement, a time in life when we can “take it easy”. However, the problem with taking it easy is that it can often lead to a life of little, or worse yet, no activity. Physicians and healthcare practitioners are recognizing that exercise can be helpful at all stages of life, and especially the senior years. Because yoga helps to fight off the health issues that aging, and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to, it has become one of the most popular senior exercise programs today.
Many people think “Yoga” is all about ‘pretzel poses’ and think, “I can’t possibly do that!” The fact is that yoga can be a very gentle stretching that is the perfect exercise for seniors. It’s adaptable to the needs of each individual, and doesn’t stress sensitive joints.
If I got on the floor I’d never get up!
Yoga can be done anywhere by anyone with almost any condition. Yoga can be done not just on a mat on the floor but also in a dining room chair, a wheelchair, or even on a bed. Props such as pillows, blankets, and cotton straps (old pre-retirement neckties work well) can be used to help get into and comfortably hold the poses.
I can’t do what they’re doing!
Yoga is not about competition with other people in the class. Yoga is about you and your body.
One of the major health issues for seniors is inactivity.
A sedentary lifestyle is not good for anyone but in seniors it can be especially detrimental becoming a “vicious cycle”, discouraging movement which then leads to even more inactivity.
Inactivity in seniors is the contributing factor to many of the following conditions:
- Back Pain
- Sleeping Problems
- Challenges with Balance
- Shorter and Weakened Muscles
- Diabetic Complications
- High Blood Pressure
- Difficulty in Breathing
Research with seniors has shown that with a steady practice of yoga practice the benefits can include:
- Less Weight Gain/Loss
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Lower Fasting Blood Sugar
- Better Sleep Habits
- Less Use of Medications
- Effective Therapy for Arthritis
- Aids in Stiffness Caused by Arthritis
- Creates Balance
- Relieves Depression and Anxiety
- Improves Flexibility
- Aids Digestion
- Help Prevent Carpal Tunnel
- These are just a few conditions that yoga can help.
What Yoga can do for you:
Balance and Flexibility:
Falling is a major concern for many elderly. Yoga poses are about balance and good body alignment. Muscles that aren’t used much will “shrink” and won’t allow us to bend as far, or reach as far as we used to. The gentle stretching in Yoga poses can increase muscle strength and restore some of the flexibility lost over time. Target areas that commonly need strengthening are the hips and lower back and leg muscles. The yoga movements are done slowly and in a controlled manner and are modified for each individual’s ability.
Yoga is not just about movement and poses. There is a breathing component that’s just as important. When a person’s activity level drops, the breathing tends to become shallower, so less oxygen enters the body. Yoga breathing helps people breath more deeply, restoring oxygen levels that are especially good for the brain, helping improve memory, and strengthening the lungs.
Yoga teaches how to focus and center the mind. This encourages a calmness that relieves anxiety and stress and improves mood levels. Socializing with other seniors in a class setting can be a great anti-depressant for many seniors who spend much of their time alone.