Are you over 55 years of age and looking for a safe form of exercise? One that is relaxing, enjoyable, social, and beneficial to your health in the long term? Well, have you considered yoga? If the answer is no, then read on and let’s see if we can twist your arm (in the nicest way possible, we promise).
We hear every day on the news how the population is aging and people are living longer. With age, our body tissues and functions naturally start to decline. We lose muscle and bone strength, our joints become less flexible and everyday tasks begin to become a little more difficult to carry out. If you are the type of person that wants to take control of your health and reduce the impact of aging, then yoga may be the answer for you. It’s safe for all ages and takes on a whole-body approach to life by looking to create harmony between mind, body and spirit.
We’ve outlined below some of the benefits you could see by getting out there and signing up for a yoga class:
1. Yoga Helps to improve physical function: This is a fairly broad statement, but many bene-fits of physical health can be improved through yoga practice:
• Improved muscle strength and power: Research shows improved sit-to-stand abilities. Slow sit-to-stand times are associated with increased falls and fracture rates in the elderly population. One study over a 32-week period showed that yoga participants increased the strength of their hamstrings and calf muscles, which is associated with reduced fall risks and reduced pain and disability rates in cases of knee osteoarthritis.
• Improved agility and balance: People who practice yoga have been shown to improve their abilities to stand, walk, turn around and return to a seated position with a reduced risk of falling.
• Improved aerobic fitness: By improving muscle endurance and lung capacity by holding different poses and participating in breathing exercises.
2. Helps to reduce chronic pain: Research shows only a four-week period of yoga practice can help to improve pain levels and reduce the need for pain medication in chronic pain patients.
3. It has social benefits: As we age it’s inevitable that we begin to lose the friends and family around us. After losing a loved one, it’s easy to become disconnected from the community around you, which can begin a cycle of seclusion and possible mental illness, such as depres-sion. Being part of a class or group of other yoga enthusiasts can go a long way to keeping you active, social and surrounded by like-minded people.
4. Improved sleep habits: With age often comes a decline in sleep health. There is evidence to support the use of yoga to improve one’s ability to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Who would say no to that?!
5. Less inflammation in the body: Aging is associated with increased risk of chronic illness, with many people experiencing multiple disease states as they enter their later years. Yoga and yogic meditation have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body by increasing production of certain hormones that reduce the creation of inflammatory molecules in the body.
These are just five benefits. The list is much longer! People who practice yoga report an overall better quality of life. Other benefits include improved abilities to relax, boosted energy levels and better posture. So, if you are 55+ and are asking yourself the question “Can I do yoga?”, the answer is yes you can and we hope the reasons above have convinced you to give it a shot.
If you are thinking of taking up a new form of exercise, always check with a professional first. We at Body In Balance Chiropractic can assess you and give you our honest opinion on whether it’s right for you. Here’s to aging gracefully!
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