Like any workout, beginning a new one is always daunting. Add to the fact that you’re over 50 (60 maybe?) and you may feel left behind, especially when compared to the younger crowd.
However, that’s not to say that you should forego the amazing benefits of performing yoga in your senior years; in fact, if you’re looking to spend a few more decades in great health, yoga may be your fountain of youth!
The key is, as with all other forms of physical activity; to start very slow, at a rate you are comfortable with, and then gradually lengthen workout time over weeks to months.
There is a lot for someone completely new to the yoga way to learn, so there’s no rushing it. Actually, the practice has evolved so much, that many yoga workout studios do not start everyone in the same class; depending on factors such as hamstring/calf flexibility, weight, pre-existing conditions etc., many improvised tools can help out, such as prop modifications. Moreover, the benefits of Yoga are far more than merely physical!
Why You SHOULD Perform Yoga In Your Golden Years
Improved Muscle Mass Without The Load
Common sense would tell you that a high intensity workout program, laced with heavy weights is a disaster waiting to happen. Add to the mix a body that has been through a lot, and you’re cooking up a serious injury.
However, that’s not to say that strength training is bad, on the contrary, it helps to strengthen bones, keep joints supple and the heart pumping blood efficiently. Yoga just makes use of the body as resistance, encouraging resistance against movement (and gravity) thereby helping to develop muscle strength.
Loss or lack of flexibility is a major debilitating issue in the senior years. In fact, the primary factor contributing to the high incidence of falls in seniors is lack of flexibility. Yoga helps keep the body flexible, and unhindered in the performance of day-to-day tasks.
In fact, it is touted that yoga can even improve flexibility beyond other methods, since many poses in yoga focus on spine flexibility and stability.
Promotes Bone Health
Many people think bone is just a dead “rocky” substance, when in fact it is alive and important in our everyday lives. Part of the aging process may lead to reduction is bone mass density, a key indicator of the likelihood of fractures or osteoporosis occurring.
As mentioned earlier, the strength training aspect of yoga will have significant effect on bone and muscle density, and can even be used therapeutically for persons already afflicted with bone issues.
Gentle stretches and flexing poses will help to relieve pain, and can pay high dividends through the aging years.
Enhanced Mental Acuity
The meditative aspect of yoga has been shown to keep senior minds sharp. Meditation sharpens many other non-visual senses, as it seeks to remove vision and achieve clarity. As such, it’s no surprise that your hearing, smell, and touch will all be enhanced as you seek to experience the world from a higher realm.
Mental engagement is key in its role in preventing age related dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other related memory loss conditions.
Reduces Symptoms Of Depression
Many adults over 50 struggle with some degree of depression- resulting from their need to feel wanted (such as after retirement), losing a loved one or other reasons. Regular yoga sessions can help reduce the stress load, lift mood, and improve respiratory flow.
Coupled with its ability to improve sleep quality, yoga has many positive effects on decreasing depression’s vicious grip on the aging individual.
How To Start
In order for yoga to be effective, it is important to learn how to do yoga properly. Join a class or watch a Youtube video to get started today!