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What are the Benefits of Yoga for Seniors?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Yoga for seniors can provide an excellent low-impact activity for people who are no longer able to participate in more intense sports due to the effects of aging on the body. Generally, yoga for seniors provides all the health benefits that yoga for younger people provides, including improved balance, flexibility, and muscle tone. For seniors, yoga can also provide a valuable community and a way to get out of the house. In some cases, modifications to yoga to make the exercises more fit for seniors may decrease the overall health benefits of the exercises, but this is usually done to minimize the risk of injury in the class.

There are many exercises suitable for seniors who are still very active, but one exercise that can be appropriate even for seniors who are out of shape is yoga. Different yoga classes expect participants to be of different fitness levels, but yoga for seniors is usually aimed at beginners and people who are at a very low level of physical fitness. Generally, yoga teachers who cater to seniors understand that infirmity in old age is not something that can be worked out of the system as it might be for a younger person, so these classes take into consideration possible injuries that might happen to seniors. As such, this activity has the benefit of minimizing injury, which is very important at older ages.

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While there are many different styles of yoga, yoga for seniors usually includes selections from several different types, with Hatha yoga serving as a primary inspiration. The benefits of this combination of types of yoga focus primarily on balance and flexibility, although muscle tone will certainly be improved as well if the senior is in poor health. Breathing exercises can also promote blood flow, and meditation during yoga can reduce stress. Overall, improved health can happen in a variety of ways, but all ways can be considered good for seniors.

Beyond the physical benefits of yoga for seniors, there are also emotional and social benefits. Yoga can reduce stress, promote personal pride, and even help seniors sleep better. In terms of social benefits, yoga for seniors is usually a group activity, and engaging in group activities is good for mental health at older ages. Loneliness and loss of interest in life, which are often problems in nursing homes, can be avoided by adding healthy activities like yoga for seniors to daily schedules. Many seniors who begin taking yoga take a genuine liking to the craft and may even progress out of yoga for seniors into more technically advanced classes.

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Lostnfound
Post 2

@Grivusangel -- I have no doubt your mom would have increased mobility if she had done some kind of physical activity. My mom got involved with a yoga for seniors class and she loved it. They also had chair work for people with limited mobility and every person I spoke with said it helped with transfers, balance and even to help dispel some of the depression they had been feeling.

I have promised myself to stay at least moderately active, and if a yoga class helps me do that, then I'm willing to try it. It's a gift you give yourself over and over.

Grivusangel
Post 1

I tried to get my mom to take a yoga class, but she wouldn't do it. I think it would have really helped her in terms of flexibility and stress relief. There was even a class that had chair yoga for seniors and she just wouldn't take it.

She broke her hip several years ago, and she really needed to keep up some kind of physical regimen and just wouldn't do it. She absolutely refused. Now she's on a walker, with limited mobility and absolutely no stamina. She gets tired going to the bathroom and back. I have to believe if she had done something for herself physically, she would be in much better shape.

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