How Seniors Can Slow Down Aging and Stay Sharp With Yoga and Meditation

Gym Mat Being Rolled Up

Gym Mat Being Rolled Up

Yoga is not just for the trendy millennials. In fact, due to the flexible nature of yoga, poses can easily be modified to fit any physical ability, which makes it one of the best exercises for seniors. Many seniors already reap the same benefits of yoga and meditation as everyone else.

The Many Benefits of Yoga

Staying active is necessary for any age, but particularly for recently retired seniors who are in danger of slipping into a sedentary lifestyle. Many studies have been done to show how yoga and meditation reduce stress, anxiety and depression. But for seniors, it can slow down the  effects of aging by maintaining muscle softness and flexibility, reduce swelling in your joints and keep your mind sharp.

Staying active can also boost your mood, help you maintain or lose weight, and enhance mobility and balance. As you get older, falling will also begin to pose a threat to injury. Aging.com notes that every 11 seconds someone over 65 falls and getting injured. For those worried about becoming a statistic, yoga is a great tool in bettering your balance and preventing this.

Finding the Right Class

Like starting any new exercise, start simple and slow, then build your way to more complicated techniques. Keep in mind that age and body size are not the sole determinant of what type of yoga you should try. When picking a class, Sixty and Me encourages you to look at own physical limitations and abilities and work from there.

Can you move easily from the floor mat to a standing position? Are you recovering from any surgery or injury that you need to work around? Are you worried about your balance? Yoga is an incredibly adaptable exercise that can be tailored to fit your capabilities. If taking a class with a live instructor, do not shy away from asking for a modified pose.

Types of Yoga

For most seniors and beginners, gentle yoga is the perfect place to begin exercising. Iyengar is one of the best yoga styles for those just starting out. It encourages participants to use props, like blocks and straps, for extra support and to help correctly align the pose. Do not confuse props with crutches. They are there to help you do the exercise.  In fact, one of the more popular classes for seniors is chair yoga, especially among those nervous about falling.

How to Start

If you are new to yoga, it is highly encouraged to start by attending a class with a live instructor. According to Very Well Fit, you should use an instructor for at least the first few weeks to make sure you are doing the poses properly and to prevent injury.

These classes should teach you the basics such as mountain pose or seated warrior. Learning the names of the different poses will help you keep up and take these lessons home with you. Call up local yoga studios to see if they offer sessions just for seniors or look for classes at your local recreational or senior center.

After you’ve gotten comfortable with the poses and feel confident with the movements, there is no reason you cannot practice yoga and meditation at home. Find a room in your home that is quiet, relaxing, and away from distractions. Clear enough space for you to move around and keep your props on hand. To get the most out of an at home work out, search YouTube videos online, use fitness apps, or Wii games to help guide you through a session.

Staying in Shape

One of the biggest challenges of getting older is staying active. For seniors, yoga is one of the more beneficial and adaptable exercises you can do. Practicing yoga and meditation just a few times a week has numerous benefits. You’ll be able to better keep up with your grandkids, keep mentally sharp and stay independent

About The Author

Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be.

He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out.   He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

Harry Cline | info@newcaregiver.org

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