Today’s seniors are different from the seniors of yesteryear. You are not likely to find them sitting in rocking chairs with afghans draped across their laps waiting for banana bread to bake. Today’s seniors are active and they do everything they can to maintain their health, vitality and independence. This means finding the best ways to stay fit, despite the changing nature of their bodies. Yoga is an ideal way for seniors to exercise while working around common health concerns that accompany the aging process.
This form of exercise:
- improves joint health
- improves balance
- increases bone density
- helps manage weight
- helps maintain or increase strength
Yoga Benefits for Seniors
As much as we hate to admit it, the body changes with age. Bones become more fragile and are prone to breaks and fractures. Joints lose cartilage, which can contribute to pain when doing the everyday activities necessary for maintaining your independence. And balance gets wonky, which makes falling during routine chores more likely. The practice of yoga takes all of these factors into consideration and is an excellent workout option for people who don’t want to compromise the integrity of their bodies to get in shape.
Yoga is easy on the joints, so it can help preserve the health of the knees and hips. It doesn’t matter which type of yoga you choose, they all rely on a series of movements that are designed to improve pliability and lubrication in the joints. When joints are flexible and properly lubricated, they don’t create as much friction when you move. Additionally, doing a workout as gentle as yoga keeps pressure off the joints and reduces wear and tear on the cartilage. This helps prevent the exacerbation of existing hip and knee issues.
Balance, Strength and Bone Density
Yoga poses are held anywhere from several seconds to a couple of minutes. When you hold the poses, you automatically activate the core muscles, which can help strengthen them over time. Stronger core muscles can improve your balance and prevent falls that are common with age. Additionally, holding the poses for the desired length of time requires the use of resistance. Though the resistance comes via your own bodyweight, it still increases strength, which can, in turn, increase bone density, and help combat a porous skeletal frame.
It’s hard to admit that aging causes changes to the body that many people would prefer to do without. While you may have to change your exercise habits to accommodate these changes, there’s no reason to sit on the sidelines and watch your health deteriorate. Doing yoga on a regular basis will allow you to get in excellent shape without compromising joint and bone health.