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The Benefits of Yoga for the Elderly

Yoga for the Elderly

Exercise is something of a double-edged sword for older people.

On one hand, regular exercise is important as we age. It helps us live longer and reduces our risk for chronic illnesses.

On the other hand, strength training and high-intensity cardio workouts can be tough on our bodies.

That’s one of the reasons why yoga is such a great form of exercise for seniors.

“Yoga helps people integrate an exercise program into their routine without some of the downfalls that you can easily come across in different training systems,” yoga teacher Eva Norlyk Smith told the Huffington Post. “Yoga does offer strength training because you use the weight of your own body in many of the postures. But unlike regular strength training, because you’re not adding any weight, you’re less likely to get injured.”

Beyond that, yoga has numerous benefits for seniors. The AARP lists some of the ways yoga is an exercise for seniors that can help them at a variety of ages.

For people in their 50s

  • Yoga can minimize hypertension and help people reduce the amount of medications they’re taking. Research suggests the measured breathing used during yoga decreases nervous system activity, which in turn manages blood pressure.
  • Practicing yoga each day improves our willpower, which can help you lose weight. The AARP points to a 2014 study in India that found that people with diabetes who did yoga three to six times a week for two months lost more weight than people who got their exercise from walking in the same period.
  • The weight-bearing exercise in yoga helps prevent bone-thinning and reduces the risk for osteoporosis, especially among postmenopausal women.

For people in their 60s

  • Yoga triggers the relaxation response, and helps us respond better to stress. A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that women who took yoga for one hour, twice a week, had less anxiety after eight weeks than those who took no yoga.
  • As we get older, we’re at greater risk for falling, one of the leading causes of injuries for older Americans. Yoga gives us strength and better balance, which can prevent falls.
  • Regular yoga workouts can help lubricate your joints, preventing things like arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. This will help you remain active as you get older.

For people in their 70s

  • Yoga can improve our proprioception, or our sense of position in space. Most of this sense comes from our ankles, which is why standing yoga poses are important as we get older.
  • The mix of movement, meditation and breathing found in yoga can create a sense of well-being. Studies show yoga can improve our moods more than other forms of exercise by increasing our levels of GABA, a brain chemical that calms nerves.
  • It’s good for our minds as well as our bodies. A study published in the International Review of Psychiatry last year found that 30 minutes of yoga helped improve brain function for people with multiple sclerosis.

Yoga is a one effective way to take care of yourself as you get older. Another way is to eliminate risks at home. You can do that by installing a stair lift to get you from floor to floor. You’ll reduce your chances of falling, while allowing you to have full use of your home.

If you’re looking for stair lifts or platform lifts to improve your access to your home, contact Pennsylvania Stair Lifts. We’re looking forward to helping you make your home a safer and more accessible place.

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