The Benefits of Yoga For Older Adults

Yoga has been practised for centuries and was first developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. There’s a reason why so many people have enjoyed yoga for thousands of years. It is known to improve strength, flexibility, ease pain and promote relaxation and heart health. The good news is that it’s never too late to start and it can truly transform your health and wellbeing.

Read on to learn the benefits of yoga for older adults.

Improved balance

In later years, avoiding trips and falls becomes increasingly more important. If you regularly practise yoga, you can strengthen abdominal muscles and improve your core stability.

Better flexibility

Yoga will introduce you to a wide range of new movements you may have never done before. These movements are great at engaging muscles in new ways and stretching them out. Each time you hold a pose for a few seconds, you encourage your muscles and connective tissues to loosen and relax. After a few weeks, you will notice an increase in your range of motion. This can significantly help you with daily tasks such as putting on your shoes and getting out of bed. The International Journal of Yoga Therapy has shown that older adults can significantly increase their flexibility by practising yoga regularly.

Enhanced breathing

Breathing is the most important thing that our bodies must do to keep us alive. However, because it is an innate process, we rarely give our breath any attention. When we take part in yoga, we must work to align our breath with our movements and take more notice of how our breathing is serving our bodies. This helps to expand your lung capacity and improve your pulmonary health.

Stronger bones

As you age your bones become weaker and you are more likely to develop osteoporosis. However, if you start practising yoga with weight-bearing exercises, you can improve bone strength and bone density. This is particularly suggested for postmenopausal women.

Less anxiety and stress

Yoga, used as a meditative practice or alongside meditation, can help lower your stress and anxiety levels. Yoga is a low-impact exercise that helps you to focus on the present and find your inner peace. While many may dismiss this thinking, research has shown that yoga can lower cortisol levels, which are responsible for high-stress levels. Furthermore, there is also evidence to suggest that symptoms of anxiety and depression can be lowered. Over 85 percent of people in a survey by the National Institutes of Health said that they noticed reduced stress as a result of yoga practice.

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