These days everyone is talking about the benefits of yoga, but is it more hype than reality? Is it just another fad? Or is it the real deal?
Well, believe it or not, studies show that yoga does help and provides many benefits to those that practice it regularly, especially the elderly.
So, what are the primary benefits for those over 60?
Here are our top 6 benefits of Yoga for the Elderly.
It Improves Confidence
Have you ever noticed that if you fear dropping something, falling, tripping, bumping your elbow, you almost inevitably end up doing what you feared? It’s a confirmation bias with a little pain thrown in for good measure. As we get older, we realize falling is a bad idea, so we begin to fear it. That fear makes us more likely to fall.
Yoga encourages you to overcome that fear by asking you to test your balance and strength while paying close attention to your body. This sense of body awareness is something you can carry with you throughout the day.
It Improves Balance and Stability
Yoga poses, especially those designed for the elderly, focus on improving your balance, stability and flexibility. This is especially important as you get older. Balance and stability help you avoid falls. Flexibility helps you to recover and minimize damage when you do fall.
It Helps Minimize the Effects of Osteoarthritis
Yoga can help minimize the effects of osteoarthritis (also known as stiff joints). Yoga focuses on low-impact moves that improve joint flexibility while simultaneously increasing the strength of supporting muscles.
Yoga Helps with Breathing
Yoga is all about controlled breathing. Deep breaths, short breaths, holding your breath, they will all be covered in a single yoga session. Respiratory function often decreases as we age. Yoga help bring it back.
Yoga Alleviates the Effects of High Blood Pressure
Regular exercise can reduce the effects of high blood pressure in seniors, and yoga is uniquely suited to this goal. Give it a shot and monitor your blood pressure and watch it come down.
Yoga Alleviates Anxiety
One part of yoga that we have yet to mention is the meditative quality of movement and breath. As we grow older, we often find new and exciting things to worry about, whether it’s the bills or the grandkids. A yoga session provides a respite where your sole focus is on your practice.
So, with all these benefits, why not give Yoga a try? Talk with your physical therapist about senior-specific classes. Even if those are not available, go to an introductory class. Most studios offer great introductory rates, and some even offer senior discounts.