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Cranes Mill – Building Strength with Yoga

As a senior, you may have trouble finding exercises that you both enjoy and find beneficial to your health. Seniors need to perform daily exercises that promote their muscle strength and cardiovascular health, and yoga is a great option to accomplish this.

Why Seniors Need Exercise

Regular physical activity is crucial to helping older adults maintain a healthy body, which can prevent or lessen the effects of many chronic diseases. Strength-building exercise is especially helpful for bone and muscle health, and strong bones and muscles can lessen your risk of breaks, strains, and fractures.

According to the CDC, the long-term benefits of exercise for adults over 65 include a reduced risk of developing dementia, depression, heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and weight gain. Exercise additionally improves your balance and coordination, which reduces your risk of falls and, in turn, allows you to live independently for much longer.

How Much Exercise Do Seniors Need?

For those over 65, the CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise every week, which can be accomplished with 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. You can also choose to get just 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week, which includes things like hiking and running.

Moderately intense exercises, like walking and yoga, are a great option for seniors who may have preexisting physical limitations. All seniors also need to perform muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days every week, and balance-based activities should be added to your routine as much as possible.

The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

Yoga is an activity that is over 5,000 years old, and it originated in India. Traditionally, yoga aims to connect the mind and body, and it is a spiritual practice. Today, yoga can be performed with or without its traditional spiritual component, but the main focus of all yoga routines is to benefit a participant’s overall health.

For seniors, the benefits of yoga are immense, especially since any yoga practice can be tailored to your own physical needs and limitations. Some of the top benefits of performing yoga include:

Improved balance and reduced risk of falls

Improved flexibility and range of motion

Improved breathing and lung capacity

Improved bone health and lowered risk of osteoporosis

Improved sleep

Reduced stress

The Best Types of Yoga for Seniors

Many people don’t realize that there are actually many types of yoga, and each type puts a focus on certain benefits. Yoga classes for seniors typically focus on building strength and flexibility without implementing too difficult yoga poses.

Hatha Yoga

Most beginner yoga classes are hatha yoga classes since hatha yoga is easy to follow. With this style of yoga, you can expect to do some standing and sitting yoga poses, and you will find that the pace of the class is quite slow. Deep breathing exercises may also be included to help you relieve stress and improve your lung health.

Restorative Yoga

Another common type of yoga class is the restorative class, which features lots of stretching and deep breathing. While this class can improve flexibility, it isn’t the best for those who want to build strength with yoga.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga is a type of yoga that is fast-paced and aims to work your cardiovascular health. This yoga can be quite difficult for beginners, but it does strengthen your whole body very well.

Iyengar Yoga

In Iyengar yoga, a lot of emphasis is put on having proper alignment of the body. This makes it a great choice for those who have arthritis since it helps you properly stretch and use your joints without putting strain on them. In an Iyengar class, a lot of yoga blocks, bolsters, and straps are used to make the yoga poses more accessible for all.

Chair Yoga

Seniors who have mobility issues can enjoy the benefits of yoga more readily with chair yoga. In this type of yoga, a chair is used to prevent the need for sitting on the floor, and some poses are done sitting in the chair or standing and holding onto it to make things easier for those with balance challenges.

Strengthening Yoga Poses for Seniors

Older adults who are new to yoga will want to strengthen their muscles and bones by performing yoga on their own, but they may not know how to start. While going to a class is the best option for newbies, you can still perform some simple yoga poses at home, such as plank pose, which is a pose that holds a push-up position.

Other strengthening poses include downward-facing dog, which involves standing on all fours with your hips facing up, and goddess, which involves standing in a deep squat.

If you’d like to join regular yoga classes for seniors, consider attending them at a senior center or gym. If you live in a senior living community, such as Crane’s Mill, you may also be able to attend yoga classes with your neighbors every single week.