There are many benefits of regular exercise, especially as we get older. It can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, reduce depression and anxiety, and help maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. All of these play a role in maintaining your independence as you get older. But did you know by age 75, one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity? This is why making physical activity a priority and a habit as soon as possible is important.
Yoga is a great low-impact form of exercise that offers plenty of benefits for older adults. Some of these include reducing stress and inflammation in the body while also increasing flexibility and strength. If you’re ready to give yoga a try check out these easy yoga exercises for seniors! As always, make sure you speak to your doctor before starting a new workout regimen.
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The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors
Yoga is a great form of exercise for older adults because it’s low-impact and offers plenty of benefits. For starters, it can help increase flexibility, strength, and balance, all of which are important for preventing falls and maintaining your independence.
Further, yoga also forces you to focus on your breathing which helps you relax and may even help reduce stress. Finally, yoga is also known to help strengthen your bones which is important if you want to help prevent osteoporosis. If you’re ready to give yoga a try, then check out these easy poses you can start doing now.
The triangle pose is great for beginners. This pose will help improve your balance and stability which is important for preventing falls. It’ll also help strengthen the legs and stretch the hips, hamstrings, and groin.
Begin by standing straight with your feet wide apart but make sure you feel comfortable. Next, turn your right foot about 90-degrees and your left foot about 15-degrees. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale bend your body to the right, keeping your waist straight. Allow your right hand to come down towards the floor while your left hand comes up in the air forming a straight line. You can rest your hand on the floor, shin, ankle, or a yoga block for support.
Hold this stretch for a few moments taking deep breaths in and long exhales out. Finally, on a inhale, come up and bring your arms to your sides and straighten your feet. Then repeat the same steps with the opposite side.
The mountain pose is great for improving posture and it may even help reduce back pain. In addition to these benefits, this pose can also strengthen the knees, ankles, abdomen, thighs, and glutes.
Begin by standing tall and keep your feet together and your arms straight by your sides. Next, with a deep breath in, draw your abdomen in and up and then exhale and relax your shoulders down and back. Take five to 10 deep breaths while actively engaging your leg muscles.
The child pose is great for relaxing the back and relieving tension in the shoulders and chest. It also stretches the spine, hips, thighs, and ankles and may even relieve pain in the lower back and neck.
To get started, kneel on the floor keeping your knees about hip-width apart, and rest your palms on your thighs. Take a deep breath in and on the exhale, bend forward, lowering your forehead to the mat. Stretch your arms in front of you with your palms facing down and make sure you relax your shoulders. Hold this pose for a few deep breaths before slowly sitting back up.
If you want to improve your posture and balance then the cat-cow stretch is a great yoga pose to try! It also helps strengthen the back, hips, abdomen while also stretching the spine and neck. Furthermore, this stretch also helps improve blood circulation and massages the digestive organs to promote healthy digestion.
Begin on all fours on your yoga mat and keep your spine neutral. As you inhale you’re going to move into the cow pose. This entails lifting your sit bones upward while pressing your chest forward and sinking your belly. Then, lift your head and relax your shoulders away from your ears while looking straight ahead.
Next, while you exhale, you’ll begin the cat pose which starts by rounding your spine outward, tucking your tailbone, and bringing your pubic bone forward. Relax your head toward the floor. Repeat these movements for a few breaths.
The tree pose is great for strengthening both your legs and your abdominal muscles. It also helps improve your balance.
Begin by standing tall and place one foot on the opposite inner thigh. If you have enough balance you can place the foot above the knee but if you need to modify the pose, you can place it just below the knee. Next, open your leg to the side, and bring your hands to prayer. Hold this pose for five to eight breaths and then release and then repeat with the opposite leg.
This pose stretches the spine, hips, neck, and chest while strengthening the back, hamstrings, and glutes. It also improves blood circulation, and may even improve digestion.
To get started, lie on your back while keeping your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Keep your arms straight along your torso and press the palms into the floor while engaging your stomach and quadriceps muscles. Slowly begin to lift your hips and hold this pose for a few deep breaths before slowly lowering back down.
A quick tip: You may find it helpful to place a yoga block under the base of your spine to help support your body while you lifting your pelvis.
The cobra pose helps improve flexibility in your upper and middle back. It can also help improve blood circulation and strengthens the entire back and shoulders. This pose is also known to help those who suffer from asthma as it opens the lungs.
Start by lying on the floor with your belly down, and your legs stretched back. Spread your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders. Next, take a deep breath in and press the tops of your feet and thighs into the floor while straightening your arms, pushing your chest off the floor.
Make sure your shoulder blades are back. Hold this pose while taking deep breaths in and out. Finally, on an exhalation, release back down to the floor.
Warrior I Pose
This standing pose will help you improve balance, coordination, and stamina while also strengthening your abdomen, back, arms, legs, and ankles. In addition to these benefits, this pose also opens the hips, chest, and lungs and encourages good circulation in the body.
Begin by standing on your mat and step your right foot forward. Keep your toes pointing to the top of the mat and bend your knee into a lunge. Next, squeeze your shoulder blades together and downward while lifting your arms. Tilt your chin up to look at your hands and hold this pose for a few deep breaths before returning to standing. Once complete, repeat with the left side.
Downward Facing Dog
The downward-facing dog pose promotes joint health which is important for preventing osteoporosis. It can also help improve flexibility and strengthens your arms and legs. This pose is relaxing and will stretch your shoulders, hands, hamstrings, and calves.
To begin, get on all fours on your mat. Next, tuck your toes under and begin to lift your hips up and back until you form a triangle. Try your best to use the strength in your legs and core to bring your weight back. Finally, hold this pose for a few deep breaths before lowering back down.