Yoga and Meditation: The Many Benefits for Seniors
Yoga and meditation have long been recognized as some of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety, and while they are indeed wonderful for a mental health boost, they’re also great for physical health. Yoga poses involve stretching, balance, and deep breathing, all of which work together to help you feel calm and strong. For seniors, it can have several positive impacts, including increased stability and decreased body pain.
One of the biggest benefits of yoga for seniors is that it’s adaptable, meaning you can do it just about anywhere. For those who have stability issues, it can be done with a chair or in a swimming pool for increased safety and comfort. It doesn’t require any special equipment, meaning you won’t have to break the bank to practice it, and getting started is as easy as learning a few simple poses. It’s also an exercise that doesn’t require major physical commitment; once you find your limit, you don’t have to go any further.
Keep reading to learn how yoga and meditation can be helpful for seniors and how to get started.
Unlike many types of exercise, if you have access to a computer and a comfortable spot to sit, you can start yoga at home at any time. Look online for beginner’s classes and tutorials that will show you how to get started with easy poses. In fact, there are many dedicated solely to seniors. Remember that you only have to do as much as you can handle, and if it hurts, stop immediately.
Find a Good Place to Stretch Out
One of the best things about yoga is that it can be done pretty much anywhere, but you will need to find a spot in your home with enough room to allow you to stretch and move safely. If you have a spare room or a formal dining room that rarely gets used, consider moving the furniture out so you can use it as a workout space. Many people use a yoga mat for added padding, and it also helps keep you in place if you’re working on a hardwood or tile floor.
The stretches involved in yoga can help expand the lungs for better breath capacity, meaning you’ll be getting more oxygen to your brain and, therefore, improving your sleep. While this is a benefit that only comes with practicing yoga regularly, it’s a great way to boost your ability to get a deep, restful sleep each night — something many seniors struggle with.
Since falls are a major cause of injury for seniors, it’s important to gain good balance and stability. Yoga is a wonderful way to do this, and there are certain poses you can work on that will help. Start with a few simple ones, and have a chair nearby for help if you feel you might need one for balance. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to do it on your own.
Stressors can be a major health detriment to seniors, so it’s important to learn how to relax and let go of those feelings. Meditation, which is often combined with yoga to allow for mindfulness and quiet introspection, is a great way to release negative feelings and help you feel better.
Yoga and meditation can be immensely helpful for seniors who want to boost their physical and mental health, but it can also be a great preventative tool when it comes to keeping disease and the symptoms of depression at bay. Talk to your doctor before beginning any new regimen, and always keep safety in mind during your workouts.
By: Sheila Olson
Sheila Olson has been a personal trainer for five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions. She created FitSheila.com to spread the word about her fitness philosophy.