Stay Mobile and Pain Free, with Yoga for Seniors
Ice is nice, heat is neat, but motion is the lotion!
Any physical activity is an investment in our future and current selves. Maintaining a functioning body that can support us for years to come is vital. Once we start to enter our twilit years it is especially important to stay mobile and pain-free. Yoga for seniors could be the best type of exercise available to maintain a healthy body and mind in preparation for the future. What we put into it, is exactly what we will get back. Yoga keeps your joints mobile, keeps your spine supple and increases balance in the body.
Reduce stiffness and inflammation while increasing flexibility through the practice of yoga.
The one most discouraging issue we face when we age, is joint stiffness, and inflammation throughout the muscles. Whether arthritis is the instigator, as it occurs to the masses regardless of what we try to do to prevent it. Inflammation can lead to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and other countless age related illnesses as stated by Ron Glasser, Ohio State University professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics.
Synovial fluid is a natural bodily secretion that is found in joints such as our hips, knees, wrists and elbows. With regular practice, various poses help to increase and distribute synovial fluid to joints, allowing for smoother movement as stated by Ken Stanfield, Geriatric health enthusiast and blogger.
Preventing and reversing muscular atrophy with weight bearing exercises
Muscular atrophy occurs when there is limited maintenance of our muscles. They quite literally shrink and weaken into an atotrophic state. It is caused by natural aging, being immobilized after an injury, or many years of leading a sedentary lifestyle.
When starting a yoga class, let your instructor know of any health issues so he or she can help you to make modifications to lessen any discomfort. Classes where yoga is performed on a chair are becoming increasingly popular. Sometimes I will resonate with a specific style of an instructor and I find myself following them around to various locations, it can take a bit of effort to find your fit.
As we age, gaining back muscle mass memory becomes more difficult to attain. That being said you can restore deteriorating muscles with an excellent yoga regimen. There are some poses such as the cobra which works your back and arm muscles, as well works your spinal column. There by improving your posture as well. Another favorite pose for myself is the pigeon pose, it helps to open up your hips. I find myself throwing in a pigeon pose in the morning when I stretch before I get my day started.
Maintaining balance as a way to prevent falls and further debilitating injuries or illness.
Osteoporosis is a risk factor as we age, several factors contribute to developing osteoporosis, however, one factor that we do have control of is being sedentary, When you are sedentary, your skeleton doesn’t receive the required stress needed to stay healthy and keep you in a weight-bearing state.
When you take to an ongoing Yoga regimen, you will be strengthening your core and assisting with your center of gravity. You will be strengthening and toning your muscles, which in turn helps to protect bones.
Yoga helps to loosen up the muscles and in doing so releases any built up tensions. You will soon see after a commitment to a regimen a large increase in your range of motion.
Because of yoga’s cardiovascular benefits, you can possibly help prevent yourself from a life altering stroke.
Gout is another issue that arises in health and that is when there is a buildup of uric acid in the extremities. Practicing yoga can help to alleviate pain associated with gout.
Yoga decreases blood pressure as well as strengthens your immune system, it gets the blood circulating and pumping, distributing crucial nutrients and oxygen to vital organs and muscles.
Yoga often brings a sense of community and a mind-body wellness.
According to Journals of Gerontology, there was a 13% memory and recall improvement within older adults, who practice yoga 3 times a week. The study was based on an eight week time frame, with 3 classes per week.
Yoga is such a win- win for many reasons, the benefits are endless. Not only do you reap all the benefits of endorphins, which secrete into your body when doing dynamic poses. Here by giving you a dose of nature’s own pain killers and helping you attain a general sense of well-being. Yoga has proven to strengthen the mind, body and spirit connection.
I love to go to a class and set up my mat and my space for the next hour. It is so calming, just the ritual of getting my blocks and my bolster organized. I think because yoga is done in bare feet, it helps to make us feel grounded and is soothing.
Anxiety and depression is something that many people deal with, in our older community sometimes depression can become more common due many things, families moving away, grieving the loss of a loved one and facing our own mortality. Yoga can lessen these symptoms and helps to keep the mind clear as possible.
You will find yourself in a like-minded group which in itself is a community of wellness. Having a support system that is based upon health and wellness is priceless, and you may just make some new friends too.
Best Yoga Poses for Seniors
- Start in Mountain pose
- Breathe in as you raise arms over your head
- Exhale as you bend forward from the hips- bend knees
- Take hold of legs or feet
- Place hands onto your hips as you inhale back to standing
- Begin on all fours, place the hands on the floor beneath the shoulders. Knees place under the hips.
- Inhale as youraise the head and tail bone. Lower back becomes concaved
- Exhale as you lower the head and arch the spine
- Through out the movement arms and thighs should be vertical to the floor
- Repeat 5 times
Downward dog Pose
- Begin from the hands and knees on the floor- tuck the toes under
- As you inhale, raise hips and buttocks while straightening the legs comfortably
- Breathe out as you lower the heels towards the mat, lower your head between the arms
- Breathe raise the heels and head
- Breathe out lower knees, release the toes, bring the buttocks towards your heels and rest in the childs pose
- Begin kneeling
- Lower you buttocks towards your heel, lower your abdomen towards the thighs
- keep forearms on the mat and either place the forehead on a pillow or the mat
- Bring the arms by the side of the legs with palms upwards
- Breathe comfortably and relax
Half Camel Pose
- Start from standing on your knees
- Breathing in raise arms sideways to shoulder level
- Breathe out as you twist to the right bringing your right hand towards the right heel while at the same time moving the left arm out in front
- Breathing in return to the start
- Repeat opposite side
- Come to finish in child pose