Researchers have found that older adults who are more active tend to live happier, healthier and even longer lives than those who aren’t. But many seniors also deal with chronic health conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis and breathing difficulties that keep them from exercising like they should. That’s where the ancient practice of Yoga comes in. Yoga is a great way for seniors to stay fit, including those with limited mobility and respiration issues. Here’s why Yoga might just be “what the doctor ordered” for that special aging loved one in your life.
What Are Low-Impact Exercises?
Yoga, along with Pilates, walking and water aerobics, are considered low-impact forms of exercise. Low-impact exercises get your heart rate up slowly and cause less pressure on your joints than do high-impact workouts like running, jumping or weightlifting.
Other exercises that are slower and gentler for your body include swimming, skating, cross-country skiing, chair aerobics and Tai Chi. There are also many different forms of Yoga, including restorative, Yin, chair, Iyengar and even laughter Yoga (Hasyayoga).
How Yoga Helps Seniors Stay Fit
Practicing Yoga three to five times a week for 20 to 30 minutes per session provides these benefits to older adults:
Improves balance and stability
As many seniors age their bodies undergo physiological changes that affect their balance and coordination. As a result, injurious falls are common, many of which result in emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Many of the poses used in Yoga help build muscle strength that improves balance and stability- reducing the likelihood that your loved one will fall.
Promotes greater flexibility
Countless seniors live with stiff, achy joints that make exercising painful. The gentle movements of Yoga are a great way to loosen stiff joints and improve flexibility. This can make activities like driving a car, walking the dog or working in the garden tolerable once again.
Worrying about things like paying bills or getting chores done stresses out many older adults. Yoga is the perfect mind-body exercise because of its relaxation breathing techniques.
Relieving pent-up stress helps seniors avoid emotional problems like anxiety and depression.
Promotes better breathing
Growing older can also mean breathing difficulties and less tolerance to physical activity. Too little oxygen in the respiratory system can negatively affect a senior’s mind and body. The practice of Yoga incorporates many breathing exercises and postures that naturally improve respiration without causing much physical exertion.
Relieves arthritic joints
Millions of aging adults battle pain and limited mobility due to osteoarthritis. Various Yoga poses, or asanas, are effective at relieving discomfort in arthritic joints without placing the practitioner at risk for injury. Some of the best Yoga styles for those with arthritis include Hatha, chair Yoga and Iyengar.
Lowers blood pressure
Hypertension is another common chronic health condition that seniors deal with. If not dealt with it can tend to worsen over time and affect the heart. Due to its meditation component Yoga helps lower one’s diastolic blood pressure, which then relieves pressure on the heart.
It’s a mood elevator
Practicing Yoga also triggers the release of “feel-good” hormones in the brain called endorphins. Those mood-elevating chemicals help boost self-esteem and promote a healthier outlook on life. Joining a Yoga class at the local fitness center is also a great way to meet new people and make friends!
Safely Getting Your Loved One Started
If your loved one has a chronic medical condition or balance and stability issues, consult with their doctor before they start any exercise program, including Yoga. With the proper guidance and instruction, even someone who was formerly a “couch potato” can enjoy a healthier, more active lifestyle by practicing Yoga.
We Love Keeping Seniors Active and Entertained!
Helping an aging loved one get the exercise and activity they need can be challenging. When you need a hand, contact Adultcare Assistance Homecare (AAH). As a locally owned agency, one of our companion caregivers will be happy to keep your senior active and entertained so they can keep on living right where they want to be. At AAH, we’ve been assisting Arizona families for over 20 years now with our award-winning homecare services.
In addition to companion care, our highly skilled professionals can perform in-home duties like light housekeeping, personal care, respite care, medication reminders, transportation and even 24-hour live-in care. To learn more about AAH now, or to get a FREE home care assessment for a senior in Phoenix, Sun City or Tucson, AZ, today, please visit us at: www.adultcareassistance.com!