Why Yoga Is The Perfect Form Of Exercise For The Elderly
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Why Yoga Is The Perfect Form
Of Exercise For The Elderly





It’s a sad fact but as we age we lose our flexibility, our bones become more brittle and our bodies become less muscular. Although this process (I won’t call it a decline if you won’t) is inevitable there are things that can be done to slow its progress. One of the best methods is the ancient practice of yoga.


Anyone who’s seen musician and eco-warrior Sting working up a sweat holding contorted poses for hours at a time might be thinking that yoga for the elderly isn’t a great idea. It’s certainly true that advanced yoga is extremely taxing on the body, but it’s also infinitely adaptable. A lot of the basic positions and movements are manageable by even the most inflexible of people, and most are also capable of being altered to take into account individual abilities.


A common problem for the elderly, and one of the biggest causes of accidental injuries and death, are falls. Because yoga helps strengthen the core muscles in the abdomen it can vastly improve balance. Holding static positions and moving between them under control works a huge variety of muscles that are central to stability and coordination. This in turn will help reduce the incidence of falls as it makes your movements more steady and smooth. It also means that if you do trip you’ll be more likely to be able to correct yourself and stay upright.


Because of the exertion involved in a yoga session, and its use as a relaxation technique, yoga can also be beneficial for people who are struggling to get a good night’s sleep. By engaging in a yoga session later in the day you’ll tire yourself out a bit and put yourself in the mood for a good sleep. The knock on effect will also be that because you’re sleeping better you’ll have more energy in the day, and with your new found flexibility and strength you’ll be able to engage in the day to day activities and hobbies you’ve always loved.


What about if I told you that yoga could also help with those nagging pains in your joints? If you suffer from some kind of joint pain you’re probably loath to use the affected joint if you don’t have to, favouring the other leg or arm for example. However, the stretches and exercises in yoga have been shown to improve blood flow to the joints and people with joint conditions often report improved mobility and less pain after engaging in yoga.


But the benefits aren’t just physical. Yoga is a holistic practice that sees the mind and body as one interconnected system. By improving the body we also improve our mind, particularly our sense of wellbeing and contentment. Recent studies have revealed depression and anxiety are prevalent in the elderly, though often under-reported, but regular exercise, particularly a form such as yoga which focusses on relaxation and mindfulness can alleviate these conditions.


You can find yoga classes at a number of places in most towns and cities: sports clubs, community centres and dedicated yoga practices. Indeed the positive benefit of yoga for the elderly means that many care homes also have visiting yoga teachers who lead classes that are appropriate for the residents.


With its numerous health benefits and relative ease of entry yoga is the perfect form of exercise for older people. Try it and you’ll be amazed by the results.


This article was provided by Hallmark Care Homes.











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