Benefits Of Yoga For The Elderly

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Seniors often suffer from numerous problems such as arthritis, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, chronic pain and trouble sleeping.  The also have problems with balance and are prone to falls.  Many seniors have trouble being active and some forms of exercise are beyond their capabilities.

Yoga is an excellent way for seniors to add some physical exercise to their life.  Yoga has gentle slow movements and has a low injury risk.  Yoga moves can be tailored to accommodate the senior’s limited ability and the health problems and concerns of the senior should be taken into consideration by the instructer.  There are some forms of yoga that are likely beyond the ability of the senior while other forms will be just fine.

Yoga will help improve the senior’s flexibility.  It can help increase the amount of fluid between the bones.  With a better awareness of  the body from the regular practice of yoga the senior may become less likely to fall and will have a better sense of balance.

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Some of the health benefits of yoga for seniors are an improvement in the quality of sleep as well as a lessening of depression and a reduction in stress.  This may be due to the breathing and relaxation techniques which are an important part of the yoga practice.  If you have breathing problems yoga may improve your lung functions.  If you have diabetes yoga may help control blood sugar levels.  If you have high blood pressure yoga may help to lower it.  Yoga may increase a senior’s bone density and  it may improve balance.

Yoga may relieve the chronic joint and muscle pains and aches and stiffness and seniors may be able to reduce the amount of medication they take for pain relief.

A good workout for seniors should include stretching, resistance training and low impact cardio.  Yoga is able to provide all three forms of exercise,  However, for seniors the yoga practice needs to be tailored to those activities they are able to safely perform.  A senior may start only being able to move slightly and with practice may progress and improve and be able and do more moves.  A yoga instructor who is experienced in working with seniors will be able to provide the guidance necessary.  Sometimes it may be necessary for the yoga instructor to confer with the care giver who is assisting the senior.  Sometimes it will help if the care giver participates in the yoga practice together with the senior in their care.  You do not want a yoga class that pushes the senior too far.  Rather you need a yoga class or individual instructor who can tailor the program to the senior so the senior can safely obtain the maximum benefit from the yoga practice.