Senior yoga is one of the healthiest ways to maintain physical and mental health. It’s a gentle, low-impact form of exercise with a slew of benefits for senior citizens. You don’t have to be a seasoned yogi to get started. Beginning yoga for seniors is about staying active, getting in touch with your wellness, and having fun. In this blog, we’ll explore the key benefits of practicing senior yoga and tips for getting started, and we’ll include beginner chair yoga for seniors.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that combines physical postures, controlled breathing, and meditation. The practice originated in ancient India, but it has been adopted around the world in recent decades. Learn more about the principles and history of yoga here.
Everyone comes to yoga with a different goal.
Senior yoga may be right for you if you want to:
- Enhance your physical strength and flexibility
- Reduce stress or anxiety
- Strengthen your inner peace,
- Find a spiritual connection,
- Improve mental clarity,
- Boost your emotional wellbeing,
- And/or any combination of the above.
Yoga is consistently at the forefront of the most popular exercises for people of all ages because it offers so many physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits. Studies on the benefits of yoga, especially yoga for seniors, have consistently proven these benefits true.
So, what are some of the benefits of daily yoga for seniors?
1. Senior yoga improves flexibility, balance, and strength
Regular yoga positively impacts range of motion, muscular and core strength, and flexibility. A 2015 study found that senior yoga improved balance in people aged 60 and over and positively affected mobility regarding gait speed and timed chair stands. Best yet, they found no adverse events during their studies. That means doing yoga only had positive benefits with no downsides.
Because of this study and a significant body of other works, many researchers and physical therapists are looking into senior yoga (like chair yoga for seniors) as a precautionary step in reducing the risk of falls.
2. Reduce stress and anxiety
All exercise is linked to improved mood because of the release of endorphins. But many seniors find that leaving a yoga class offers something even more powerful and special than traditional exercise. Yoga has been linked to lower stress levels and happier moods because of the unique way it connects the mind and body.
As the scientists in this study write, “Researchers are only beginning to understand how yoga promotes personal growth, health, and wellbeing. By acknowledging the unity of mind, body, and spirit, mind-body fitness programs like yoga can assist people in their pursuit of peace, calmness, and greater integration in their lives.”
In fact, several healthcare professionals and therapists are beginning to recommend yoga as part of a personal mental health and wellness plan. If you ever deal with stress or anxiety, or you want more out of life, it’s worth trying senior yoga.
3. Supports quality sleep
If you have trouble falling and staying asleep through the night, senior yoga may be able to help. A 2013 study found that adding regular, routine yoga for seniors helped achieve better quality sleep and quality of life. Learn more about how senior yoga may help you sleep better with this article from the Sleep Foundation.
4. May help manage chronic conditions
Countless studies have looked at the effects of yoga on various health conditions, including arthritis, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, and more. Here are just some of the positive impacts of yoga on chronic health conditions:
- Yoga was associated with a modest but significant reduction in blood pressure in patients with hypertension. (Hagins)
- Yoga showed a substantial reduction in swollen, tender, and painful joints in arthritic populations. They also found improved mental health and mindset regarding their arthritis diagnosis. (Haaz)
- Several studies have proven that yoga positive impacts chronic pain in various illnesses like back pain, fibromyalgia, autoimmune conditions, headaches, and more.
5. Slows cognitive decline
Research suggests that yoga may have beneficial effects on cognitive functioning in persons with memory problems and dementia. In fact, these researchers found significant improvements in cognition after a single yoga session, and long-term yoga practice showed significant positive measurements in terms of attention, processing speed, executive function, and memory.
6. Offers social opportunities
Practicing senior yoga in a group setting is a great way to socialize, meet friends, and build a community. You can attend yoga for seniors to meet like-minded friends of the same age or take a class for all ages to broaden your social circle. The beautiful part about yoga is that people from all walks of life come together to practice this ancient tradition of physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Not sure where to find yoga near you? Try checking out local gyms, yoga studios, and the YMCA. A Google search of “senior-friendly yoga in [your hometown]” will help you find highly rated studios nearby. If you live in an independent living facility or assisted living facility, they may offer weekly yoga classes.
7. Provides low-impact exercise
One of the key benefits of yoga for seniors is that it’s low-to-moderate intensity. A 2021 study concluded that yoga had enhanced physical fitness measurements in older adults, particularly because it kept them active with little to no risk of injury or joint pain.
How to safely do beginning yoga for seniors
Although senior yoga is relatively low risk, you still want to start slowly to ensure you don’t hurt yourself while learning. One of the easiest ways to get started is with chair yoga for seniors. Chair yoga helps you stay active, improve your physical health, connect with your emotional wellbeing, and learn the ins and outs of yoga.
At GoGoGrandparent, we know the importance of senior yoga. That’s why we offered a masterclass about chair yoga with fun, easy exercises you can practice right now at home! Check out this free chair yoga for seniors class here.
Benefits of yoga for seniors
Yoga may help improve flexibility and mobility, reduce stress and anxiety, support quality sleep, manage chronic conditions, slow cognitive decline, enhance social interactions, and provide a means of staying active with low impact. Altogether, this can dramatically enhance your quality of life, both physically and mentally. Beginning yoga for seniors may feel daunting at first because it’s new, but you won’t know if you love it until you try.
Want to try out senior yoga near you? Catch a ride with GoGoRides, and we’ll bring you to your local gym, yoga studio, or outdoor fitness class!
With a phone call to a friendly operator, we can help you arrange reliable, professional rides, so you can get to and from your senior yoga class safely. You don’t have to deal with the headaches of driving; just hop in the car and continue your meditative practice on the way there and back. Learn more about GoGoRides here.