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The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors: How It Can Improve Physical and Mental Health

Aged Care Parnell

16th Nov 2023

Ageing happens to us all, but for people who are doing it alone, there can be a real struggle to balance mental and physical health with new constraints on their health and mobility. 

It is really important to continue being active as we age, in both a physical sense and a mental sense. Engaging in physical activities helps with keeping a positive mindset, and can be a great way to keep mobile so you are less likely to fall or injure yourself. 

A great way to conquer these struggles with mental and physical health is to introduce an easy, gentle movement, like yoga. Yoga is an exercise that can be built on, leading to more intense and challenging movements as you progress and increase your fitness. It’s also still gentle enough to not provide a barrier of entry to people who are just getting started on their fitness journey. 

Yoga also has a number of mental benefits, which stem from giving yourself the time and space to reflect, while enjoying a community of like-minded people who are all going through the same experiences that you are.  

The Physical Benefits of Yoga

One of the main focuses of yoga is dynamic stretching. This is stretching your muscles in active movements, by transferring your weight through your body and supporting yourself as you do so. 

It results in a whole body workout, which helps to activate your muscles and keep them nice and limber, while also helping to stretch out any kinks and stiff joints from long periods of stillness. 

Yoga also helps to increase balance and flexibility, both of which are great for ageing people to be actively practising. This is because balance and flexibility can help to prevent falls, and to minimise injury in the case a fall does happen. 

The Mental Benefits of Yoga

Another facet of yoga is the focus on the movement of breath throughout the physical stretch. This serves a practical purpose, in helping you to stretch deeper, and also helps to bring about a sense of calm and emotional regulation. 

Practising yoga means spending a lot of time in slow, methodical movement, which gives a lot of time for internal reflection. This helps to reduce stress, and improve focus, particularly in people who are beginning to slow down. 

The exercise from yoga also helps to bring about a positive mood, as exercise releases endorphins. These endorphins can help you to feel better, as well as achieving small victories on a regular basis, like getting your fingers to touch your toes! 

Yoga for Seniors

Yoga is great for seniors because it is able to be done at home, with a variety of adaptations to make sure that you aren’t overreaching. 

Some of these adaptations look like working towards a deeper stretch, starting off with a modified stance, or even using a physical prop like a chair so you have more support. As you get stronger, you can take away these supports if and when you are able to, in order to keep challenging yourself.

Yoga Classes at The Foundation

If you have just no idea where to start, but feel like yoga might be a good choice for you, you can attend the Parnell Community Centre yoga classes located on The Foundation’s doorstep. It is best to go somewhere that has a yogi well-versed in adaptations for seniors as they will be able to help you modify the poses to be both challenging, but also safe.

If you have a particular request, or just want to show your support for the initiative, express your interest to our concierge team.

Expert Opinions

This review of several different studies around yoga for seniors has found that yoga can be especially helpful for joint pain, increased flexibility and balance, and feeling safe when moving around. 

Interestingly, yoga was even found to be more effective for cardiovascular health than light walking at lowering blood pressure.

Conclusion

Yoga can be a really supportive and welcoming way to get back into the world of exercise, at a time when your body is changing, and you may be finding that you can no longer do everything you used to love. Discover a new passion in yoga at The Foundation.

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