How Yoga For Seniors Can Help Transform Your Health and Wellness No Matter Your Age or Abilities
I have to admit, when my son Jason took up yoga and loved it I was intrigued. I was of the mindset however, that I was too old for yoga.
Jason explained to me that yoga wasn’t just for the young and flexible. That yoga had many health benefits and even though I have arthritic joints, I could still benefit tremendously from yoga exercises.
I started to investigate yoga as an overall fitness program. I discovered yoga poses that I could actually do. The more I did the more flexible my body became. I am sure many of you reading this article with also think you are too old, too overweight or just not flexible enough to begin yoga. Just like I did.
Let me begin by telling you I am a research junkie, I always have been. I can’t just accept something as fact, I have to do my own due diligence and with the internet today it sure beats the old encyclopedia sets for research, I am sure you used to own too. The good old days!
I began my research and I really like to dig deep to discover all I can about a topic. After all I am retired and have time on my hands.
Here are some things I discovered that will help you take the decision whether or not to give yoga a try.
As A Senior I Am Not Flexible Enough
With today’s lifestyles even young school children are not flexible. I think “in our day” we exercised more and were far more flexible than today’s generation.
Today most people work on computers or locked in cubicles and they get very little exercise. This is primarily the reason my son took up running and yoga. Okay I know I can’t run with my knees, but I sure can do yoga!
When we lead a sedentary lifestyle our muscles, tendons, and ligaments shorten. Touching your toes or the floor may seem impossible right now, but when you begin gentle yoga exercises you will improve your flexibility, it just takes time and patience.
Yoga is a gentle exercise, one that you do what you can and don’t overdo things. Just practice daily and you will be surprised how it really helps your muscles and joints. With practice you will find you will gain a heck of a lot of flexibility. Strengthening muscles, ligaments and tendons also helps to support our joints. With yoga you use things to help you do exercises such as bolsters or cushions.
Yoga can easily be modified to suit all ages and disabilities. Confined to a wheelchair? There are special chair yoga exercises you can do to regain flexibility in your upper torso. Also leg exercises if you are able to do them.
It is actually quite surprising how quickly a senior can regain flexibility.
Think You Are Too Heavy or Overweight for Yoga?
Populations all over the world seem to be growing in physical size, probably the abundance of food and also fast food outlets packing on the calories.
Being overweight doesn’t mean you can do yoga exercises. In fact many yoga studios are specifically designing yoga fitness for this group of people.
Yoga can actually help with weight loss! When you begin yoga exercises you will likely have to modify the poses to suit your current fitness level and size but that’s just fine. This is how I started out doing yoga.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of, everyone has to begin yoga with exercises that are comfortable for them, so modifications to the poses is perfectly normal.
Don’t use your weight as an excuse not to try yoga. Yoga can help you become more flexible, helps you lose weight, improves your stamina and endurance, strength and helps you feel more comfortable with your body.
Yoga For Those With Illness or Disabilities
As I mentioned before I have arthritic joints, I also live with chronic pain and fibromyalgia. When my doctor advised me to begin exercising I balked at the very idea!
When I do anything it just makes my pain so much worse, and it lasts for days on end. I really suffer, whether it was vacuuming the carpets or cleaning the bathtub, 24 hrs after I did it I would be in a heck of a lot of pain.
However, I was surprised to find that starting off gently and listening to my body so I didn’t overdo things, I was able to really push my boundaries. Yoga does help with chronic pain and joint problems. By strengthening our muscles we can help keep our joints in place and they do become far more flexible.
Yoga can actually improve your condition and reduce or even alleviate symptoms. It’s certainly worth a try!
For example, arthritis is painful; however, regular movement often reduces the pain. Chronic fatigue can be debilitating, yet when you get the blood circulating through your muscles and tissues it can help balance your energy and release positive, healthy, hormones that make you feel better and have more vitality.
Even people undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from yoga. The key is to choose a yoga that fits your present health and fitness level.
Start with a gentle beginner’s class; try Hatha for a basic approach that’s easy to learn. Find an instructor that is compassionate and begin enjoying the myriad benefits of yoga.
Yoga can help transform your life no matter how old you are.
Filed under: Yoga For Seniors