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Beginning Yoga for Older Adults

Many senior adults turn to yoga for gentle exercise that can reduce tension and increase flexibility.

In the early 80s, women (and some men) donned their leg warmers, Reebok high tops, and spandex body suits to stretch it out with Jane Fonda and dance to Let's Get Physical.
Today, seniors are still "getting physical" and keeping active through a variety of exercise programs either at home or in a group setting. While we have all kicked VHS cassettes to the curb, yoga has fully come into its own for individuals of all ages.
5 Benefits of Yoga for Seniors
  1. Mental relaxation. Often described as a "mindful" exercise, yoga can help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and improve depression to keep one centered and energized.
  2. Increased flexibility and balance. While yoga is a low impact movement, it delivers big results in movement, joint flexibility, and balance for older adults. Individuals new to yoga are recommended to start with beginner poses composed of gentle movements. As always, please consult your physician(s) before starting any exercise program.
  3. Strength training. While lifting weights may or may not be something seniors are comfortable with, yoga uses your own body as resistance to build and firm muscle. Physically inactive people can lose up to 5 percent of their muscle mass per decade after age 30. While muscle mass begins to disappear, fat increases. Because muscle mass declines when aging, weight-bearing exercise are needed to keep strength up.
  4. Increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis.  Yoga helps slow bone thinning, reducing the risks of osteoporosis, particularly among postmenopausal women. Increasing bone density, especially for women who are more likely to develop osteoporosis, is critical to prevent broken and fractured bones. However, if you have osteoporosis or low bone mass, consult a physician to what yoga poses you can most safely practice. Learn more tips for practicing yoga with osteoporosis.
  5. Alleviate arthritis pain and stiffness. According to a John Hopkins Arthritis Center study, when combined with a program of good medical care, yoga may provide important additional physical relief.
Grab your mat and be among the growing number of older adults practicing yoga to improve your overall health and well being.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” 
-George Bernard Shaw
Please note: The above recommendations are intended to be general recommendations and should not be construed as healthcare advice. The recommendations are not a replacement for the personal advice of a health professional.