5 Ways Yoga May Benefit Seniors

We’ve all heard that yoga is good for us. But while yoga magazines and videos are often filled with young people with perfect bodies, the gentle physical exercise has many advantages for those of us going through our 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond.

Aside from increasing flexibility, yoga can help hone mental focus and relieve anxiety. Here are a handful of reasons to try yoga — regardless of age or body shape:

1. Better Mental Acuity

Forget the drugs that promise to improve memory or boost IQ. Practicing yoga may help improve your memory and ability to listen clearly, according to British Psychological Society. Research by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that practicing hatha yoga three times a week for eight weeks helped 55 to 79-year-olds recall information more quickly, switch tasks and improve mental flexibility. Repetitive breathing practices in yoga also help calm the mind, allowing better mental clarity and focus.

2. More Energy, Greater Vibrancy

Yoga can soothe some of the aches and pains of life that many of us suffer as we get older. Yoga challenges you to try something new, to explore and express yourself in creative physical forms. In The Huffington Post, Vyda Bielkus, yoga instructor and founder of the Health Yoga Life studio in Boston, noted that, “You’re moving the circulatory system and awakening the nervous system — basically bringing new life into the body.”

3. Reduces Heart Rate, Blood Pressure

Studies suggest that yoga may be helpful in reducing heart rate and blood pressure. According to WebMD, Researcher Paula Chu, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University’s Health Policy Program in Boston found that people randomly assigned to take yoga classes saw improvements in their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. On average, people who practiced yoga saw their blood pressure drop by five points, their LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) fall by 12 points, and their weight drop by five pounds. Yoga offers benefits to people of all ages, according to Chu.

4. More Strength, Flexibility, Balance

Properly practicing yoga can make you feel more relaxed and energized. You can also expect to gain strength, flexibility and balance. In a recent Washington Post article, Gale A. Greendale, a professor of medicine and gerontology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, noted that yoga’s benefits outweigh its risks as long as people start at the right level, don’t progress too fast and make appropriate modifications.

5. Relieving Anxiety, Depression

As noted in Time, the journal Aging & Mental Health reported that researchers scrutinized 15 studies from the past two decades to evaluate various methods of relaxation. Yoga showed positive effects from stretching, breathing and meditation exercises, effects that remained six months later in seniors. The study authors also noted that yoga was shown to offset the “negative effects of ageing, improve physical functioning, postpone disability, decrease morbidity and mortality, stimulate the mind, and increase hope, reducing the risk of anxiety and depression.”

Need more inspiration? Check out the world’s oldest yoga teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch. Her life motto: “There is nothing we cannot do if we harness the power within us.”

 

67 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
mac C.
mac C3 years ago

So right-- Yoga, helps us all, no matter the age. Thank you!

SEND
Dorothy Chamberlain

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

Good information! Thanks for sharing!

SEND
Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

I need to get serious about yoga! Thanks for sharing!

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

SEND
Iskrica Kneževi?

on the first whirl, where the bone marrow is, there is a center of production of fluid which supply our bones with fluid that they can stay vital and flexibel, that they dont break.
with 25 this production stops, so we must find another ways.
one is yoga, the streching of spinal column

add this, i wonder that you could forget it here

SEND
Lady Kaira
None None3 years ago

thanks

SEND
Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
vijay k Bansal
Vijay Bansal3 years ago

YES! Tell me more. I am in my mid seventies and into Yoga. I teach Mudra Vigyan, the science of Finger posture Yoga - FREE LECTURES for the last 30 years
Know me at www.mudravigyan.com

SEND