The MAD Lifestyle
Aging Gracefully- Benefits of Yoga for the Over 60s
We all know that as soon as you reach your senior years, you have somewhat of an excuse to take it easy, yet there are numerous advantages to doing exercise in later life. The aging process and debilitating physical factors such as bone loss can be slowed down if you participate in a regular fitness regime, yet studies show that many adults over 65 spend 10 hours or more being sedentary. Other physical health benefits of fitness for the elderly include the ability to maintain or lose weight, gaining an increase in flexibility, and balance, and the reduction of chronic illness or disease.
Mental health benefits range from alleviating stress and depression, to improving sleep. Exercise doesn’t have to be too strenuous either- you can do water aerobics, which has less impact than regular cardiovascular exercise, walking, tai chi, Pilates or yoga.
Find out more about how yoga can be of benefit to you in later life:
Yoga is a relatively low impact exercise, harnessing mind, body and spirit. Originating in India 5,000 years ago, yoga brings together breathing, meditation and movements known as postures to help improve flexibility, strength and wellbeing. Whilst yoga certainly promotes strength, older beginners expecting to build huge muscles need to understand that yoga is more about toning up and increasing core muscle size from within. You are never too old to learn, and there are classes available specifically for older people. It is believed to help aches and pains, alleviate depression and stress, and be good for arthritis and prevent the risk of falls.
Improving flexibility, which is vitally important in old age for healthy muscles and maintaining effective mobility, yoga can be practiced alone at home or in groups at your local community centre. The gentle stretching of yoga is an excellent way to increase strength in a relaxed way, but be sure to do adequate warm up exercises before you embark on these poses.
Good for Bones
Yoga postures can reduce the impact of osteoporosis on the body, Dr. Loren Fishman, medical director of Manhattan Physical Medicine refers to a study of the over 60s, “We did a bone mineral density (DEXA) scan, then we taught half of them the yoga, waited two years, and did another scan. And not only did these people not lose bone, they gained bone. The ones who didn’t do the yoga lost a little bone, as you would expect.”
Finally, yoga helps maintain a sharp mind, promoting focus and alertness, something those with memory loss in old age could benefit from no doubt.
About the Writer
Jess Walter is a health and nutrition writer, I have teamed up with a small senior care advice and resource site to develop a guide on how senior citizens can take inspiration from Shirley Webb and while maybe not deadlift huge weights, improve their health and mental wellbeing through exercise.Shop YOGA
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