Seniors often have a hard time finding a workout they can stick with. Some movements can become too repetitive or painful over time, and as we age and our bodies change, it can be a challenge to find gentle exercises that work for us rather than against us. However, there are a few things you can do at any age to boost your overall wellness, and yoga and meditation are two of the best. When practiced regularly, this low-impact workout and relaxation technique can help you reduce stress and anxiety, boost your mood, and stay fit no matter what your age or range of motion may be.
The great thing about yoga is that it has multiple benefits. Not only is it great for staying fit, it can also help you get better sleep, improve your digestion, and keep your joints, spine, and muscles strong and pain-free. In fact, your digestion and gut health are connected to many other parts of the body, all of which are touched in some way by yoga. The regular movement that yoga poses provide can help keep your gut microbiome healthy, which can boost your mental health and keep you feeling happy.
A few of the benefits of yoga and meditation for seniors include:
Attending a yoga class is a great way to meet new, like-minded people, which is a huge benefit for seniors. A common complaint of retirees is that they aren’t as social as they used to be, which can result in loneliness, anxiety, and even depression. Look for a class near you, or ask a close friend or family member to try yoga with you. Having someone along that you enjoy spending time with will help make the process fun, which will help you stick with it. If you need help paying for the class, check to see if your Medicare Advantage plan provides additional coverage for fitness classes.
Boosting your balance
Many seniors have issues with their balance and mobility, which can lead to falls and injuries. In fact, falls are one of the major cause of injury for seniors in the U.S. Yoga involves several poses that are specifically designed to promote balance and help you strengthen and tone your muscles, so you can find stability and prevent some potentially major health issues. The “mountain” pose and “tree” pose are great for aiding in building balance, so you might start with these.
Keeping your joints healthy
Yoga can have a wonderful effect on your joints, reducing inflammation and increasing flexibility. This means it can help you manage arthritis and even help prevent injury when you’re engaging in other activities, such as gardening. Stretching your muscles is a great way to feel good overall; just make sure you’re doing the poses correctly to avoid injury. If a pose hurts, stop immediately and take a break so you can assess your movements.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Because yoga is such a low-impact and gentle workout, when combined with meditation it can reduce negative feelings such as stress and anxiety. When you practice in a quiet, relaxing spot so you can focus on your breathing and unwind, you’re helping your mind and body let go of the day and allowing yourself to learn to cope with those feelings in the moment. Eventually, as you practice more and more, you’ll be able to meditate just about anywhere.
Seniors who practice yoga often report being more active and feeling better overall, which helps to improve sleep and keep mental health on an even keel. When you feel good, you’re able to make good decisions, which in turn will allow you to stay healthy for years to come.
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