Yoga is as relevant today as it was at its inception over 5,000 years ago. While mind-blowing yoga poses appear intimidating, a gentle start to a yoga practice is enriching both physically and emotionally. Seniors stand to gain several benefits through daily yoga exercises.
Health Benefits of Yoga for Seniors
Older individuals who regularly engage in yoga tend to age gracefully. Yoga provides seniors with more energy and improves their mobility, to name a few of the myriad of benefits. Overall, seniors who practice yoga reclaim their autonomy and live a life of greater independence.
Yoga is accessible to people of all ages, including older folks, and may be practiced by people with varying levels of abilities and body types. Certain yoga exercises are even compatible with seniors who have joint stress, osteoarthritis, pain or other physical ailments.
Just 10 to 20 minutes per day leads to seniors experiencing psychological and physical wellbeing. The key to engaging in a successful yoga practice is to start gradually and with the most basic of poses. The following benefits of yoga start to emerge once the basic positions are mastered.
1. Improved Balance
Seniors who practice yoga enhance their balance and stability—which are critical to aging people. Improving balance gives seniors confidence and prevents falls. The development of physical strength through yoga exercises helps the elderly recover more quickly from falls, should they occur.
2. Improved Flexibility
Gentle yoga exercises increase flexibility in the aging body. The stretching component of yoga is what helps increase flexibility. Discomfort is different from pain, and seniors are encouraged to listen to their bodies to benefit. Remember, touching one’s toes can take weeks or months to achieve.
Stretching requires perseverance and patience to master. In addition, achy and stiff joints improve as a result of practicing yoga. The therapeutic benefits of yoga are also significant; managing osteoarthritis in elderly women is easier with a daily yoga practice.
3. Improved Strength
As a low-impact activity, yoga loosens up tight muscles, tones muscles and, in turn, helps to prevent injury in senior participants. Joints are also strengthened. Range of motion in older individuals is noticeably improved with the inclusion of yoga exercises.
The endless variations of yoga poses are designed to help people build muscle. Yoga exercises strengthen core muscles, like hips, spine, abdominals, shoulders, pectorals and neck. Physically fit seniors are able to perform daily activities independently, thus facilitating an improved quality of life.
4. Lower Blood Pressure
Even after their first yoga class, seniors will see a drop in their blood pressure. As senior students continue regular yoga exercises, they sustain a lower blood pressure level in between classes. Studies show that oxidative stress is reduced after practicing yoga.
5. Improved Heart Health
The elderly ward off heart disease with yoga sessions. Medical professionals have linked improved heart health with yoga, since the exercises help with stress management and provides a form of moderate physical activity. Heart patients improve their heart health with yoga.
6. Improved Respiratory Function
A 12-week yoga practice leads to better respiratory function in seniors. As people age, their respiratory abilities are reduced in response to physical exertion. A decrease in oxygen intake has negative repercussions on the aging body and mind. Respiration improves with yoga.
7. Managed Type 2 Diabetes
Insulin-deficiency is linked with stress and lifestyle factors. Since yoga reduces stress levels, type 2 diabetes is managed. Plus, yoga offers short-term enhancements in fasting glucose and cholesterol levels. These benefits result as yoga poses massage the internal organs that regulate metabolism.
8. Lessened Anxiety
Yoga students experience calmness, as the practice is designed to be restorative. Seniors’ minds and bodies become especially relaxed with yoga. The focus on breath and slow movements reduces the parasympathetic nervous system’s stress response. Stress and anxiety are thereby decreased.
9. Improved Mindfulness
Seniors who take time to reflect on the present during yoga or meditation become more mindful. By being mindful, elderly individuals are able to experience connectedness and feelings of empowerment. Self-esteem gets a boost; sleep improves and depression is kept at bay.
Yoga is centered on the premise of listening to one’s body and breathing. Through regular practice, seniors become more attuned to their sense of self. Expanded awareness leads to being more connected with the environment, community, one’s thoughts and emotions.
A yoga practice is best learned through in-person instruction. The elderly might join a local senior class or beginner’s class. Aqua yoga classes are held in the pool; water allows the body to move more easily. Chair yoga, which supports the body, is suitable for older adults with limited mobility.
As yoga continues to become increasingly popular, seniors might look to local resources for classes. The elderly might inquire about yoga classes at the senior center, nearby health clubs or fitness centers, retirement communities or even faith-based programs in the area.
Home Care to Support Yoga
Seniors who choose to begin a yoga program have ample support from the professional caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care. As a reputable elder care agency, we make sure the seniors in our care receive compassionate and reliable in-home support.
Dedicated caregivers from our home care agency provide seniors with the transportation to get to yoga classes, such as at the local YMCA or senior center. We also transport our senior care recipients to doctors’ offices so they receive medical approval prior to starting a yoga program.
Assisting Hands Home Care of Evanston
After a yoga class, caregivers from Assisting Hands Home Care will prepare nutritious meals so that your loved one refuels and can perform at an optimal level the rest of the day. If the senior has dietary restrictions, our caregivers cook meals that fall within established guidelines.
Assisting Hands Home Care service providers offer assistance with the activities of daily living, from bathing to dressing. We’ll help your loved one dress up and groom for yoga classes. Mobility help is provided to transfer seniors into and out of bed or wheelchairs.
Families with seniors living in Evanston, Northbrook, Glenview, or Skokie, Illinois, are encouraged to consult Assisting Hands Home Care for the most comprehensive, non-medical home care services in Cook county. We’ll develop a customized care plan to suit your loved one’s needs.
To schedule a free consultation regarding our home care services, give us a call at (847) 868-9280.