Maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle is vital to making the most of your golden years. Many seniors use yoga as a safe practice to stay flexible, mobile, and strong. However, traditional yoga exercises can be inaccessible for many seniors with physical limitations or mobility issues. Chair yoga is the gentler, more user-alternative sister to conventional yoga. Let’s explore the world of chair yoga for seniors, its incredible benefits, and some basic chair yoga exercises to get you started.
What is chair yoga for seniors?
Chair yoga is an adapted form of traditional yoga that uses a chair to support poses and stretches. Because of the chair’s added support, chair yoga is generally milder and less injury-prone than traditional yoga. This makes it a more accessible practice for yoga beginners or those with limited mobility, arthritis, or injuries. Chair yoga exercises focus on flexibility, balance, and relaxation while getting the heart pumping – all without needing to get down on the floor.
9 benefits of chair yoga for seniors
1. Promotes flexibility and muscular strength
Chair yoga enhances flexibility and strength by gently stretching muscles and joints. Scientific studies on the benefits of chair yoga for seniors – especially seniors with osteoarthritis – have demonstrated a significant increase in participants’ endurance and range of motion, making it easier to perform daily activities. Seniors who do chair yoga regularly report finding it easier to walk, bend, and reach, which ultimately helps them maintain their independence longer.
Check out these 9 tips for staying active as you age.
2. Improves balance
Avoiding falls is critical for seniors. Falls can lead to a broken bone, which can be the start of more severe health problems and lead to long-term disability. Along with making your home and environment safer, flexibility and balance are the best ways to prevent falls. One study found that chair yoga for seniors is an effective way to help reduce the risk of bone-breaking falls.
3. Enhances breathing
Proper breathing is vital for overall health, but it can become more challenging as we age due to changes in posture and lung health. Chair yoga incorporates mindful breathing techniques in combination with stretching, which has been shown to increase lung capacity and oxygen intake. Improved respiratory function can boost energy levels, reduce fatigue, and help fight symptoms of several chronic diseases.
4. Aids in pain management
Seniors often experience chronic pain from arthritis, back problems, autoimmune conditions, and other diseases or injuries. Chair yoga is shown to provide relief by gently stretching and strengthening the affected areas. A 2016 study reported decreased pain intensity and fatigue (and improved gait speed) for seniors consistently exercising with a chair yoga regimen. However, they noted that these results did not continue after stopping the practice, so it’s important to stay consistent with a chair yoga routine to see the continued benefits.
5. Lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure is common among seniors. Trying to lower your blood pressure through diet and exercise is a great step towards a healthier life. Yoga – both traditional and chair yoga – have been accepted in the medical community as an effective intervention method for reducing blood pressure and managing hypertension.
6. Reduces stress and anxiety
Chair yoga exercises emphasize physical health and mental and emotional well-being. Yoga incorporates breathing and relaxation techniques that have been proven to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and alleviate stress. Research shows that these stress-relief benefits are linked to both the meditation itself as well as the improved physical well-being associated with yoga exercise.
7. Promotes mood and mental clarity
Yoga’s ability to reduce stress and anxiety is also linked to improved cognitive function and emotional well-being. After participating in chair yoga, you’ll likely feel an uplifted, happier mood and sharper mental clarity.
8. Encourages better sleep
Sleep is a vital aspect of overall health, and numerous studies show sleeping too much or too little is correlated with mortality in older adults. Upgrades in physical and mental health due to yoga can promote better sleep patterns. Incorporating chair yoga exercises can help calm the mind, ease the body, and encourage better quality and quantity of sleep for seniors.
9. Social engagement
Chair yoga classes can give seniors a sense of community and social interaction, which can combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. The social aspect of these classes can significantly contribute to overall well-being.
If there’s a chair yoga class at your local gym or rec center, call GoGoRides to get you there worry-free. Just dial our phone number and tell us where you’d like to go – we make it a stress-free process for a stress-free exercise class! Learn more about what makes GoGo different than other rideshare and transportation options here.
Are there risk factors with chair yoga for seniors?
Chair yoga is considered safe and suitable for most seniors. However, you’ll want to be aware of some safety concerns before starting:
- Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program to ensure it’s right for you.
- Ensure the chair you’re using is sturdy and doesn’t wobble.
- Don’t push yourself too hard or overstretch. Listen to your body, and don’t force any movements that feel uncomfortable.
- If you have respiratory issues, be mindful of the deep breathing during chair yoga. If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, stop and rest.
Not sure if chair yoga is right for you? You can also consider these 7 daily exercises for seniors to do at home.
How to get started with chair yoga for seniors
Chair yoga has a ton of incredible health benefits that will improve your mental and physical well-being quickly. When starting chair yoga, we recommend having a teacher or guide to ensure you’re doing the exercises correctly. There are two great ways to get started:
- Find a nearby chair yoga class. This might be at your local gym, rec center, senior center, or through a hobby group. Call GoGoRides to drive you to and from the class so you can focus on your health rather than the headache of driving.
- Check out GoGo’s chair yoga classes online. GoGoGrandparent offers free online classes led by professional, experienced instructors to help guide you through the stretches slowly and safely, right from the comfort of your home.
Chair yoga allows seniors to reap the benefits of traditional yoga in a safe, accessible way. It emphasizes flexibility, mobility, balance, and relaxation for a holistic practice that’s as time-efficient as it is fun! Grab a chair and start your journey towards better health and vitality with GoGo’s YouTube chair yoga classes right now. Your body and mind will thank you for it!