There are many benefits that come with age, such as wisdom gained from your life experience and more freedom and time to pursue your interests and passions in retirement.
But on the flipside, there are some things that can go downhill if you’re not careful, and your health is one of them. That’s why when you’re over 55, taking care of your health becomes a top priority. As you age, there is a greater risk of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and many seniors often experience pain associated with osteoarthritis and other joint complaints. Your mental health can also suffer, with depression and anxiety unfortunately all too common among seniors.
But the good news is, there’s something you can do about it. It’s now widely known that inactivity causes bone wastage and reduced joint mobility, while physical activity can prevent, and even reverse, many of the age-related changes to bone and muscle that was once thought to be an inevitable part of getting older. Regular exercise has many benefits for both mind and body, and there are lots of ways you can stay active in retirement.
Yoga is a particularly enjoyable and effective way to stay healthy and happy as you age – and it can be practised by anyone. So regardless of your fitness level, age or previous experience, here’s 5 reasons why you should give yoga a try.
1.Better Balance to Prevent Falls
As you age, the risk of falls that result in serious injuries skyrocket – in fact, statistics show that almost 100,000 Australians aged 65 or over are hospitalised for fall-related injuries every year. Yoga postures improve your balance and stability, and regular practice has been shown to significantly improve results in mobility tests that are used to predict fall risk. Plus, the benefits yoga brings to your body will also assist your recovery if a fall does occur.
2.Increased Flexibility for Joint Health
Feeling stiff is a common complaint in seniors, and yoga is a great way to gently loosen up your muscles and increase your flexibility. When you are moving more, your joint health also improves – and this means less aches and pains. Yoga helps you to loosen and tone your muscles which also reduces the risk of injuries occurring.
3.Improves Respiratory Health So You Can Breathe Easy
Most of the time, we don’t think much about our breathing, but in yoga, the breath is at the centre of everything. Focusing on your breathing throughout your practice brings a sense of calm and improves your respiratory health in the process – which is especially beneficial to seniors as our tolerance to physical exertion is greatly reduced as we get older.
4.Creates Calm Which Reduces Stress
Yoga is gentle and slow, and the emphasis on breathing throughout a class brings a great sense of calm. Yoga is an antidote to stress, as it encourages you to focus your attention on your breath, to slow down your thoughts and your movements, and let go of your worries and anxiety. It has also been shown to reduce oxidative stress in the elderly, which is one of the underlying causes of high blood pressure.
5.Promotes Mindfulness and Makes You Happy
It’s all too easy to get caught up in our own thoughts and worries and spend most of the day wrapped up inside our own heads – which means we’re missing out what’s happening now. Mindfulness, in a nutshell is paying attention to the present moment. When you do this, it’s impossible to worry about the past or the future, and you’ll be much happier for it. Yoga encourages mindfulness, which allows you to be more connected to yourself and the world around you.
Try it For Yourself
Yoga is the ideal way to improve your mental and physical health safely as you age. It’s gentle, slow and flexible to your unique requirements. There are many classes available, with some that cater specifically for seniors. With a little bit of effort, you can reap numerous benefits – so what have you got to lose? Join a class, get a DVD, borrow a book or find a lesson on YouTube and give yoga a try today.
Over to You
Are you over 55 and have tried yoga? Or maybe you practise it regularly? We’d love to hear about your experience.