The desire to age in place has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among the aging Baby Boomer generation. While the ambition of seniors is undeniable, the increased risk of illness, chronic pain and psychological distress that accompanies aging can create some difficulties in achieving this goal. Fortunately, research has discovered that yoga is a simple and beneficial activity for seniors, that can help counteract these symptoms.
According to Livestrong, the combination of physical poses and relaxing breathing techniques in yoga help mitigate problems elderly people might have such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, insomnia and even mental health conditions like anxiety.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a severe threat to the elderly that can develop into a more serious cardiovascular disease and increase the risk of a heart attack. Recent studies have concluded that Yoga reduces oxidative stress, one of the major underlying causes of high blood pressure.
Additionally, yoga can provide a remedy to those suffering from sleep problems. The physical demands of yoga combined with its breathing and relaxation techniques can decrease the time needed to fall asleep and increase sleep duration. Improved quality of sleep affords countless health benefits which translate into improved quality of life.
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Chronic Pain Relief
Yoga is a gentle, low-impact way to loosen muscles, increase flexibility and improve range of motion in stiff or achy joints, especially those affected by conditions such as arthritis. Participants in a Harbor-UCLA Medical Center study reported a decreased need for pain medication after only four weeks of consistent yoga.
Chopra.com adds that these exercises can also strengthen and tone supporting muscles to help prevent future injuries. Relief from chronic pain may also allow you or your elderly loved one to avoid the use of mobility aids such as a walking stick or cane.
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Improved Mental Condition and Wellbeing
Yoga is a calming and restorative activity designed to relax both your body and mind. By concentrating on deliberate breathing techniques and slow movements, yoga can help seniors reduce anxiety, depression and stress. Bel Marra Health reports that a recent study discovered yoga offers an incredibly effective reprieve from numerous mental health concerns. Instead of masking the symptoms, yoga counterbalances the root of the problem to provide lasting relief.
Additionally, the University of Illinois found that just two months of steady yoga can improve poor thinking and memory function, a symptom that many seniors previously believed to just be an unavoidable part of the aging process.
Focused breathing techniques and body movements promote a stronger awareness of thoughts and emotions. By doing yoga, seniors can develop stronger connections with themselves and the world around them. This process further negates the effects of anxiety, depression and stress.
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How Do I Get Started with Senior Yoga?
There are a variety of online resources available to help seniors start a yoga regimen. Here are some useful videos to get started:
Furthermore, many local gyms offer classes specifically designed to cater to the needs of seniors.
Caregivers can assist by also practicing yoga and familiarizing themselves with the nuances of the activity. This affords a unique opportunity to connect with your loved ones while simultaneously reaping the benefits of yoga.
However, as with all physical activity, it is important to check with your physician before beginning a yoga regimen.
While the benefits of yoga are undeniable, it cannot be considered a miracle cure for every ailment of the aging process. For many, stairs become a major impediment to the activities they enjoy most and may counteract the positivity gleaned from yoga. Fortunately, Stannah Stairlifts allows seniors to maintain their independence and affords elderly caregivers the comfort of knowing their loved one is safely navigating their home. With Stannah, seniors can quickly and easily conquer this obstacle and continue benefitting from yoga.