Yoga for senior citizens is easy to learn and simple to do. As you age, you might feel like exercise is just one of those things you did when you were younger. However, you probably have more time for exercise now than you ever did when you were busy with work, the kids, and all those household chores. To stay active as you age, the key is to find recreational activities that are low-impact and safe for a number of health conditions.
Why Yoga for Senior Citizens? What are the Benefits?
Seniors are more susceptible to illnesses such as rheumatism, arthritis, high blood pressure, and incontinence. While these conditions may limit your ability to participate in some exercise activities, at the same time they increase your need to find ways to stay healthy and fit. The truth is that while your body’s natural aging process limits you, it does not preclude you from participating in all healthful activities. Walking and yoga are two great activities for seniors.
In fact, yoga is one of the best exercises for seniors because it can so easily be adapted and customized to individual skill level and ability. Even pregnant women can participate in yoga routines and reap a number of benefits. Yoga is great because it addresses your overall well-being. Your body gets in shape, your mind becomes clearer, and you feel more relaxed throughout your day.
Yoga for Senior Citizens – Poses to Practice
Yoga poses, also called asanas, can help you achieve better balance and flexibility as well as help you normalize blood pressure. They are good for the nervous system and the heart. Below are three of the most common yoga poses:
1. Corpse pose: The aim of this pose is complete relaxation. Lie flat on your back with your palms up. Your shoulder blades should be resting equally on the floor. Relax each set of muscles. Breathe through your nose and with each exhale, feel yourself melting into the floor. Hold this pose for five minutes every time you practice yoga.
2. Double leg raises: Begin by lying flat on the floor. You should use a yoga mat for cushioning. As you breathe in, raise your legs toward the ceiling while keeping your bottom firmly planted on the floor. Your knees should be touching throughout the exercise. As you exhale, slowly lower your legs, keeping your lower back to the floor. Repeat this exercise between 5 and 10 times.
3. Cat pose: Start on your hands and knees with your shoulders directly over your hands and hips directly over your knees. Put a mat or cushion under your knees if you need it. Your back should be parallel to the floor. As you exhale, push downward through your arms, arching your back toward the ceiling. As you do this, you should feel your abdomen become rounded and your head tilt inward.
The key to practicing yoga safely is to understand your body and respect your limitations. You should never push yourself into a difficult pose, as this can cause injury or strain. You may also practice the pose improperly if you push too hard. Yoga should not be a stressful exercise. In every case you should feel that the practice of yoga serves to quiet your body and mind. Yoga for senior citizens is simply a good idea!
Angie Best-Boss is a freelance health and wellness writer. She blogs about aging, caregiving, healthy living, end of life planning, and other topics for Boomers at Funeralwise.com