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Why Seniors Should Pick Up Yoga When They Retire

Senior woman doing lotus pose during meditation.

Keeping physically active is increasingly important as you age. It’s how you keep your muscles toned, balance steady, and joints strong, among a host of other benefits for your body and mind. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a triathlete to reap the health benefits of getting more movement.

In fact, many experts recommend yoga for seniors because it’s a relatively low-impact exercise that researchers believe can positively impact a wide range of diseases and conditions.

 

How Yoga Can Help

If you’ve never practiced yoga, you may be skeptical about whether a simple series of poses that appear to require minimal effort can really make a difference. You’ll quickly realize the health benefits of yoga are both physical and mental.

 While it’s not as taxing as many other forms of exercise, yoga does indeed give you a workout. Stretching limbs into specific poses puts your muscles to the test, while working your joints through a series of motions acts as lubrication, easing stiffness, improving your range of motion, and promoting flexibility. Holding each pose also builds muscle strength and can help correct your posture. Collectively, these are meaningful benefits of yoga for seniors because they help with improving balance and reducing fall risks.

 Yoga is as much about physical movement as it is mindfulness. That’s why another important benefit of yoga for seniors is its impact on stress levels. Even one session can result in greater mental balance and tranquility, in part due to the regulated breathing and meditative exercises that accompany the sequence of poses. However, yoga is also thought to trigger the release of numerous “happy hormones” that also boost your sense of well-being. Research has also shown yoga has numerous psychological benefits, including reducing negative emotions like anger and anxiety, lowering feelings of depression, and improving self-efficacy.

One of the most widely researched benefits of yoga for seniors is its impact on cardiovascular health. The slower breathing, increased oxygen, and lower stress may all play a role, but there’s also scientific evidence that yoga can reduce common risk factors for cardiovascular disease like weight, blood pressure, and even diabetes.

 

Popular Yoga Poses for Seniors

If you’ve been mostly sedentary in recent years, it’s probably a good idea to ease your way into increased activity levels—with a green light from your physician, of course. Although you can practice yoga alone, you might find it helpful to learn more about yoga for seniors by attending group classes to learn the basics, including some of these common yoga poses:

 Corpse Pose: Lie flat on your back, with your arms and legs stretched away from your body and palms facing upward. Focus on breathing deeply and clearing your mind while you hold the pose.

 Downward Dog: With your hands and feet on the ground, raise your mid-section until your body forms a triangle with your hips and rear end at the upper point. Keep your knees slightly bent and feel the stretch through your spine, hips, and tailbone.

Warrior: From a standing position, gently ease into a lunge with one foot extending in front and your knee bent at a right angle. Stretch the other leg behind you and rotate your foot to point your toes outward. Reach both arms above your head and raise your head to look at your hands. Hold for three deep, steady breaths, then return to a standing position and repeat with the opposite leg.

 

Get Moving with Us

Our active senior community at The Moorings at Lewes is the perfect place to start infusing some more energy into your retirement lifestyle. Our award-winning LivWell wellness program will help you set and attain goals for your health and other important aspects of life. Visit us to tour the neighborhood and explore the inviting independent living options you could make your new home.