When it comes to exercise, yoga is most definitely in vogue – all over the country yoga studios are opening and offering classes for beginners right through to experts.
The list of benefits is nearly endless – practicing yoga regularly can improve balance, moderate pain, increase flexibility and even improve sleep quality and fight depression.
Over 50s often complain of feeling stiff, particularly after sitting still for a longer period of time like a car ride or through a film. You might even notice you’re not as flexible as you used to be, and find tasks like bending down to tie your shoes or reaching to the top shelf not quite as effortless as they once were.
If any of that sounds familiar, why not consider yoga? There are great beginner classes that can help you learn the basics when you’re starting out, plus excellent online fitness videos and DVDs that can teach you the poses and help you practice in the comfort of your own home.
Not quite convinced? Here are some of the other benefits of practicing yoga as you age…
It’s low impact
Many fitness experts recommend low impact workouts for the over 50s because in general these exercises put less strain on joints and bones. Yoga is a great example of a low impact workout – it’s gentle enough but still offers some cardio and lots of excellent resistance training and stretching to help build and improve muscle tone.
It can improve your range of motion
Practicing yoga just a few times a week can improve your flexibility and range of motion, something that’s particularly important as we get older. Our range of motion naturally declines as we age and carries the risk of greater injury from falls and can get in the way of daily life.
Yoga is a great antidote to that; regular stretching will help improve spinal flexibility and prevent falls by working on your balance – with each class you will be strengthening your lower body, particularly ankles and knees.
It combats arthritis pain
Yoga is an excellent exercise for arthritis sufferers because it promotes strength and flexibility but is still gentle at the same time. Research even suggests it can reduce pain and mobility problems in people with knee osteoarthritis. If you’re an arthritis sufferer, speak to your GP or physiotherapist about whether integrating yoga into your exercise routine is safe and appropriate for you.
It’s for body and for mind
Exercise of any kind can help improve your sleep quality and relieve stress, and this is especially true of yoga – the practice itself is as much about the body as the mind, and through breathing techniques and meditation, practicing yoga can help you deal with stress and anxiety in the process.
Have you ever given yoga a go? What impact has it made on your life?
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