Many seniors are stuck inside due to the pandemic and cold winter weather, which can make it hard to stay active but luckily there are workouts that older adults can safely do at home with minimal equipment including yoga. Yoga is a great option for winter and really any season because the poses can be adapted for all ability levels. Seniors who have a hard time standing, for example, can practice yoga in a seated position on a chair.
Yoga is also low-impact and relatively slow-paced, so it’s an ideal choice for older adults who can’t handle more vigorous forms of cardio. Your loved one may even notice some improvements in their health if they develop a regular yoga practice. Below are some of the main health benefits of yoga for seniors.
As we age, we begin to lose our balance and become susceptible to falls. According to the National Institute of Health, 1.6 million seniors go to the emergency room every year for fall-related injuries. Luckily doing yoga can help seniors become steadier on their feet. One study found that older adults had better balance and could get up faster after doing seated yoga twice a week for eight weeks. They were also less afraid of falling, and three of the participants were even able to stop using their mobility aids altogether.
Lowers Blood Pressure
The breathing and relaxation techniques practiced during a yoga class can reduce blood pressure just as much as aerobic exercise. In one study, participants with high blood pressure who attended a yoga class three times a week reduced their systolic blood pressure by 11 mmHG more than the control group. Their diastolic blood pressure also fell by 6 mmHG more than controls. Researchers believe that yoga is so effective at lowering blood pressure because it relaxes the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely.
If your elderly loved one suffers from chronic pain that limits their daily activities, yoga may be able to lower their pain levels and help them lead a more active lifestyle. In one study, a group of osteoarthritis patients who did seated yoga twice a week reported a significant reduction in pain. They also said that they had an easier time performing routine tasks because their pain didn’t get in the way. Yoga can help reduce discomfort by improving joint range of motion and stretching and tense muscles. It also teaches breathing and relaxation techniques that can help seniors cope with their pain better.
After age 50, many people start losing bone density and become at risk of developing osteoporosis. Low-impact, weight-bearing exercises like yoga can strengthen your loved one’s bones and help prevent fractures and breaks related to low bone density.
Keeps Your Mind Sharp
Yoga is just as good for the mind as it is for the body. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga regularly have better mental function and greater cortical thickness, which has been linked to higher levels of intelligence. You don’t have to practice yoga for hours to see results, so it’s a great form of exercise for seniors who can’t work out for long periods of time. In a recent study, participants experienced significant improvements in brain function and performance after doing relaxation techniques and yoga poses for just half an hour. Even practicing yoga for ten minutes is a good way to relieve stress and stay active.
Yoga combines slow, measured physical movements called asanas with relaxation and breathing techniques to calm the mind and body. Studies have even shown that yoga significantly reduces stress hormone levels, which can help seniors feel more relaxed and centered during this difficult time.
If your loved one is having trouble staying active this winter because of quarantine measures or they simply want to get healthier, they may benefit from trying yoga. It’s a low-impact workout that can relieve stress, reduce pain, and improve their overall wellbeing.
If you or a loved one needs help to develop a fitness routine, wants an extra pair of eyes at home during exercises, or simply need extra care at home, contact us to explore your options and learn more about the quality care and services Professional Caretakers can provide for your family.