10 Benefits of Yoga for the Elderly

Quality elderly care and its importance have been emphasised increasingly in recent years. What is required, the kind of elderly care needed, why is it important, every single question has been elaborately answered. However, one of the aspects of elderly care is highlighted more than others – exercise.

Incorporating physical activity in the daily lives of seniors is highly important, and while walking, swimming, Tai Chi, and other exercises are good for them, Yoga has taken centre stage as the most beneficial and has been called one of the best forms of exercise for older adults.

Yoga and meditation are no longer obscure spiritual practices reserved in the West for the young and trendy. They have entered the mainstream, and this shift has enabled more diverse groups of people to appreciate and enjoy the benefits and seniors can benefit the most from Yoga.

Older adults often struggle with pain, joint stress, imbalance, osteoarthritis, and other physical limitations. However, despite all these aches and pains, many seniors fear that Yoga – with all its crazy inversions, intimidating balancing poses, and tough-looking twists – is unattainable. But that is far from the truth.

Let’s take a look at the benefits that Yoga has to offer to seniors.

1.Strengthens Bones

Yoga for seniors can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, which causes bones to become brittle or weak. Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone can’t keep up with the decrease of bone mass and density that occurs with aging.

2.Improved Balance and Stability

Many yoga poses focus on balance and stability, both incredibly important as you age. Strengthening your muscles and improving your balance prevents the likelihood of falls, which can be a common concern for elderly. Not only does it prevent them in the first place, but an increase in strength and stability also helps seniors bounce back and recover, should a fall occur.

During yoga practice, seniors will be encouraged to breathe a special way through each pose, which involves deep breathing that sends oxygen throughout the body. It is better to choose a site for seniors that are mostly filled with trees and plants.

3.Facilitates Deeper Breathing

During yoga practice, seniors will be encouraged to breathe a special way through each pose, which involves deep breathing that sends oxygen throughout the body. The increased respiration helps seniors enjoy a greater sense of vitality that comes with providing the cells in the body with the oxygen necessary for boosting their health.

4.Sharpens the Mind

Unfortunately, as we age, our thought processes aren’t as sharp as they once were. Focusing on the breath and synchronizing it with movement helps keep the mind clear and engaged. According to studies, breathing exercises such as alternate-nostril breathing help harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of the personality.

5.Promotes Flexibility

Yoga involves gentle, guided stretching, which can help seniors develop greater flexibility and improve their range of motion. A limited range of motion can make older adults predisposed to falls and get in the way of daily activities. Increased flexibility can help keep seniors safe and allow them to care for themselves more independently. Many yoga postures help with spinal flexibility. Keeping the spine flexible reduces the likelihood of stiffness and pain in the back and neck, helping you feel younger and healthier.

Benefits of Yoga for the Elderly

6.Reduces Stress

Yoga offers a relaxing way to let go of the tension you’re holding in your body, especially in your shoulders and upper back. It’s been known to help relieve some of the stresses that lead to hypertension, which in turn leads to not needing as many medications on a daily basis. Yoga also helps reduce anxiety, lowering your heart rate, blood pressure, and helping you breathe easier.

7.Reduces High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can lead to cardiovascular disease and is the second leading cause of kidney disease. Recent studies have found that yoga reduces oxidative stress in the elderly. Oxidative stress is one of the underlying causes of high blood pressure and, especially for seniors, is a strong risk factor for heart attacks.

8.Boosts Blood Circulation

Many seniors require low-impact exercise programs that get their blood flowing without putting too much strain on their joints. Yoga provides just enough physical activity to boost blood circulation without overexerting seniors, and it is also a great form of exercise because seniors can choose to do a few poses and rest if necessary.

9.Reduces Anxiety

Yoga classes are calm and restorative, relaxing your body and mind—especially those geared toward seniors. When practiced regularly, yoga can reduce your sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response, which can cause inflammation of all kinds and wreak havoc on your mind and body. Yoga practice involves focusing on the breath and slow movements, which can help trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, reducing the by-products of stress and feelings of anxiety.

10. Alleviates Aches and Pains

Even if you have some physical limitations, yoga can help ease the aches and pains associated with aging. Yoga can be especially beneficial to those suffering from osteoarthritis, teaching you how to breathe and relax through any chronic pain you may be dealing with.

The best part about Yoga is that you don’t have to do all the poses – speak to your doctor or a Yoga instructor about your issues and they can tell you the best Yoga poses that suit your needs. As caregivers, we want to provide the best elderly care that our senior loved ones require. As a part of that, Yoga as a daily practice should be encouraged.