Yoga for Older Adults

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What is yoga?
Yoga is a series of stretching and breathing exercises. Yoga postures involve bending, twisting, and holding body positions in a specific way. Most yoga postures and exercises do not involve a lot of movement.

What are the benefits of yoga?
Yoga offers many health benefits. It may improve coordination, posture, flexibility, range of motion, concentration, sleep, and digestion. It can also:
increase the efficiency of the heart
slow the respiratory rate
improve fitness
lower blood pressure
help you relax and reduce stress.
After learning how to do the basic postures correctly, you can do yoga at home when it is convenient for you. Yoga requires very little equipment.

Are there special concerns for older adults?

Check with your healthcare provider first if you have arthritis, a slipped disk, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Although yoga may lower high blood pressure, certain postures must be avoided. You may need to avoid yoga completely if you have had a recent back injury or surgery.

Our bodies change as we get older. You may have aches and pains in the joints. You may not pay much attention to how you breathe. Medicines may have unpleasant side effects, such as loss of balance, tiredness, or confusion. The body becomes less supple. It takes longer for injuries to heal. Your muscles become weaker and you may gain weight, making getting around more difficult and tiring.

To avoid injury to the back or knee joints you may need to:
Pay careful attention to your back when you do abdominal exercises. For example, it may be better to raise just one leg rather than both legs at once.
Change poses so that you are doing them as you sit on the floor rather than in a deep squat.
Certain yoga postures can be especially helpful for older adults:

The antirheumatic movements are very powerful for older adults. These movements can be done either sitting on the floor or sitting on a chair. You can hold on to the back of a chair for the standing postures.
Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor are also very important to help with bladder control and anal sphincter control.
Yoga routines can be modified based on your age, athletic ability, or physical challenges. Yoga can help reduce stress. Yoga helps to increase muscle strength and balance and makes it easier to move. This helps to prevent falls. People who exercise regularly feel better.

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Posted on February 23, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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