The benefits of yoga for seniors
Age gives us many gifts: maturity, wisdom, grace, experience, and perspective, to name a few. But aging also comes with challenges. For example, it becomes more difficult to lose weight and the risk of developing life-threatening diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease increases.
Psychologically, older people are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Memory and balance can deteriorate, which can lead to losing some of their independence.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve your overall health and well-being. You can reduce your risk of injury and illness by eating a healthy diet and exercising. To stay mentally alert, you can also perform brain training exercises and practice meditation.
Yoga, especially restorative yoga, can offer a wide range of health benefits, both physically and psychologically. Studies have found that older people who suffer from pain, joint stress, balance issues, osteoarthritis, and other physical limitations can benefit from incorporating yoga into their daily routine.
As we age, it becomes more and more important to incorporate physical activity into our daily routines in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. An active lifestyle can help older people maintain their energy levels as well as manage aches and pains that accompany aging.
Yoga is widely regarded as the best form of exercise for the elderly. It can help them improve their flexibility, strength, balance, and mood. In fact, people of all ages can benefit from yoga, although if you are new to the practice you may need to adjust the poses depending on your current level of ability.
Unfortunately, as we get older we are also more afraid of injury, which sometimes forces us to avoid healthy habits like exercise. People who have practiced yoga for many years can perform difficult poses and inversions, which can seem very intimidating for someone over 65 who has never attended a yoga class. Their fear of getting hurt far outweighs any interest they might have in trying it.
But if you are able to overcome this initial intimidation usually created by the way yoga is portrayed in the media, you will find that it can be adapted to any individual, and you will be able to enjoy the benefits without the risk of injury.
If yoga interests you, we recommend starting with a personalized one-on-one session with an experienced instructor. This eliminates the intimidating factor associated with stepping into a class packed with practitioners of all skill levels and makes yoga much more accessible.
To motivate you further, here is our list of the top benefits of yoga for seniors.
Better bone health through yoga
Patients with osteoporosis may benefit from adding yoga to their treatment regimen. It can help relieve symptoms, promote bone health, and reduce the risk of developing complications.
Yoga can also help women maintain bone density after menopause. According to the findings of a small study conducted in 2016, the practice of yoga has a beneficial effect on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. There were no reports of pain or discomfort during the 6-month study, indicating that yoga is a good approach to improve bone mineral density without risking harm.
As part of the yoga program, participants practiced pranayama – breathing exercises that promote relaxation of the body and mind, relieve anxiety and reduce stress.
In another study published in 2016, researchers found that doing yoga for 12 minutes a day is a safe and effective strategy for reversing bone loss. They chose 12 yoga positions that can help increase bone mineral density in the spine, hips, and femur and have had very promising results.
Yoga can help people with osteoporosis in a number of ways. This will help you increase your muscle and bone strength, and in turn, it will give you better posture, better balance, and better stability. Maintaining a healthy activity level can help relieve pain and reduce the risk of bone fractures.
Some forms of yoga are better than others for treating osteoporosis. We recommend gentle, low impact yoga like hatha, yin, or restorative yoga. Intense forms of yoga, including ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga, should be avoided.
In the beginning, it’s better to do a little yoga every day than a few longer sessions a week. Try to do about 15 minutes of yoga per day and increase the sessions to between 30 and 60 minutes.
Yoga for Pain Relief
Yoga is a mind-body practice that can help people with chronic pain by increasing flexibility, decreasing inflammation, and helping them cope mentally with pain. It has been shown to be beneficial for those who suffer from fibromyalgia, back pain, neck discomfort, and headaches.
Inflammation is linked to many chronic pains, especially autoimmune disorders, and yoga has been shown to reduce inflammation by decreasing the body’s response to stress. Plus, the anti-inflammatory benefits extend to both experienced and new practitioners. In other words, yoga has the potential to help chronic pain sufferers of all ages and levels of experience.
One study looked at combat veterans practicing yoga nidra, which is a type of mindfulness meditation. Participants reported a statistically significant reduction in pain perception and improvement in quality of life.
A meta-analysis found that those who practiced yoga regularly for at least six weeks experienced less pain and improved mobility. The benefits of yoga have been shown to be consistent across several styles including, but not limited to, Iyengar, Hatha, and Viniyoga.
This shows that whatever form of yoga you practice you will reap the benefits and that yoga, since it combines strength, flexibility and breathing, can be more effective in relieving pain than standard workouts.
Unfortunately, doctors rarely recommend yoga as a form of therapy for their patients with chronic pain because they are unfamiliar with it and therefore are not sure about its safety, especially for older people.
The potential risks of practicing yoga are usually related to participants becoming competitive and no longer listening to their bodies. Forcing their body to perform difficult postures and movements not only increases the risk of injury, it misses the point of the practice.
The purpose of these movements is to help you find harmony between your body, mind and spirit. It’s not about dominating your body, it’s about forming a partnership with it.
Yoga for better sleep
Physiological changes that occur as a result of the aging process impact the quality of sleep. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, insomnia in older people can lead to impaired function and have a significant negative impact on their quality of life. Due to the effect of sleep deprivation on cognitive function, sleep disorders like insomnia increase the risk of falls and other accidents resulting in injury.
Poor quality of sleep also affects mood and emotional regulation, increasing the likelihood of developing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Various drugs, such as benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines, are available to pharmacologically treat sleep-related problems, but they cause unwanted side effects, especially in older patients.
Therefore, any form of non-pharmacological therapy that can reduce sleep disturbances and their effects is considered a valuable tool. Yoga is considered to be one of those forms of non-pharmacological therapy.
Research indicates that older people who practice yoga regularly have better overall sleep quality, fewer disturbed sleep episodes, take less time to fall asleep, have less daytime dysfunction, use fewer sleeping pills, and feel better. more refreshed and energetic in the morning.
Yoga for cardiovascular health
Blood pressure or BP refers to the force that the blood exerts on the walls of the arteries as the heart alternately pumps and relaxes. This strength is represented by a combination of two numbers: your systolic and diastolic scores. The systolic score is written above the diastolic score and represents your blood pressure as your heart pumps, while the diastolic score represents the blood pressure between beats as the heart muscle relaxes.
What is considered normal blood pressure varies slightly from individual to individual, but it must be regulated for the different systems in your body to function properly. According to the American Heart Association, the standard blood pressure limit is 120/80. Prehypertension is defined as a blood pressure score between 120/80 and 130/90, while hypertension is considered to be above 130/90.
The vascular system changes as you get older, including the structure of your heart and blood vessels. For example, your arteries lose elastic tissue and become more rigid, which increases your blood pressure.