After living a life full of work and responsibilities, the 60s mark the beginning of a person’s golden years, where you can pass on the baton to the younger generation and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. However, many ambitious and fun retirement plans can become easily derailed by the multiple health problems that afflict senior citizens. While there is no doubt that your body will not be as fit and fine as it once used to be, there is no reason why you should not have a comparatively healthier one which would be free of ailments. Alongside diet and medical considerations, yoga can be the answer to protecting your health.
The Benefits of Yoga for Elderlies
The benefits of yoga have been well demonstrated in both ancient cultural texts and current western research. A holistic approach to develop both the mind and body, yoga has some very beneficial outcomes that can be especially helpful to those above the age of 60. Here are some –
- A Gentle Exercise – Being old does not mean that your body does not need a workout anymore. Indeed, as you get older, regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep any chronic illnesses in check and prevent problems such as joint aches and poor digestion. Cardio and weight lifting may no longer be an option for many seniors, but yoga will always be. With varying levels of difficulties and incorporation of both stretching and strength, yoga will ensure that your body remains in the peak of health as the years go by.
- Protect Susceptible Organs – As we grow older, some organs of our body find it hard to cope up. Heart and digestion related problems and joint pains are often common complaints in old age. Yogic asanas and breathing practices can help in strengthening these specific systems of the body, thus contributing to the overall health of the individual.
- Stimulate The Mind – With retirement and empty nests, many senior citizens can become susceptible to mental health issues, including depression and boredom. Yoga can help in alleviating these symptoms, and also increase concentration and discipline, which is just what may be required for such individuals to take up novel activities, such as board games, readings, or even a post-retirement project or job. Yoga can also help to keep memory sharp and the brain functioning at optimum capacity.
- Find Your Balance – Yoga exercises are designed to challenge and hone your balance. Given that many senior citizens are at a significant fall-risk which can lead to further health issues and deterioration in the quality of life, yoga can help in protecting individuals and even preventing the use of supportive measures such as canes.
- Recharge Your Energy – It is hard to enjoy your life and participate in activities when you are always tired, which is what happens to a lot of aging individuals. As metabolism becomes slow and responsibilities reduce, one may not find themselves as inclined to participate in life. Yoga boosts metabolism and strengthens the body to ensure that lack of energy is not a problem in old age.
- Helps to avoid loneliness and Depressions – With the changing social and family structure, many of you live away from your son/daughters. With reduction in activity, post retirement, many a times you have no one to express yourself or your feelings; this can easily push you towards introversion, leaving you lonely and depressed. Joining a yoga class can act as a good tool to manage these negative energies, at the same time, so you also get a chance to network and talk to people from different backgrounds, giving you a feeling of being part of a group/tribe.
Take It Easy – How to Ease Into Yoga
It is clear that the addition of yoga can lead to many beneficial outcomes in old age. But while yoga is a gentle exercise, it should be undertaken with caution, at every age, but especially at an older age. Indeed, the improper practice of yoga may lead to serious injuries, meaning that instead of improving your health, you may end up putting a dent in it instead. If you do wish to begin yoga or transition from your regular intensive workout to yoga as your age advances, here are some points that you should consider –
- Get Medical Clearance – It is in very rare cases that your medical condition would prevent you from undertaking yoga – however, there may be some specific asanas or types that you may wish to avoid. It is important to talk to a doctor who is aware of your medical history to ensure that you are fit for the type, intensity, and regularity of yoga that you wish to undertake.
- Start With The Basics – Even if you are a regular exerciser, it may be best for you to engage with a basics class when you start yoga. This is because every style of exercise is different – after all, knowing how to swim does not make you an expert in tennis. With its focus on balance, stretching, and discipline, Yoga may throw off even experienced fitness buffs. So, it is best to start slow and listen to your body to progress.
- Seek Expert Help – Perhaps the single most important tool required for effective yoga is an effective teacher. A good yoga teacher is not only an experienced professional but also an effective guide and communicator, who gives you individual attention and tailors the sessions to your needs and objectives. Under a good teacher, anybody can do yoga effectively.
- Find What You Like – Commitment to yoga does not mean a commitment to a monotonous routine. Yoga is dynamic and fun, and a number of styles of yoga have developed over the years. You can always transition to another form of yoga if you find it more to your liking, you just need to ensure that you are ready to take it on. What matters is that both your mind and body should be fully engaged in any session you come to.
- Don’t Hold Yourself Back – Cautions and precautions are always necessary, but they should not become deterrents for you. Do not let your age or fears come between you and your health. With adequate support and care, you can not only do yoga, but you can do it well, strengthen your body, and even undertake challenging asanas better than the young ones.
Thus, Yoga can be an ideal form of exercise for senior citizens, one which is dynamic get gentle, strengthening and challenging but very much doable, and one that hones both the mind and body and protects them both against the problems that old age can bring. So do take up yoga to make the best of your golden years.