Linda and I have been collecting information about our own fitness and I must admit, my fitness is deteriorating by the minute, so aside from my selfish and personal need to get moving, I thought you might also like this excellent Yoga information.
‘Om’ is good for you, at 60, 70 or 80! As we grow older, we become more susceptible to age-related ailments, and, as a result, we tend to move less. But the less we move, the more susceptible we become to a variety of ailments. And so it becomes a vicious cycle.
Yoga helps break that cycle, and can put you back on the path to good health. I highly recommend it. ‘Taking it easy’ as we grow older is exactly what we should not be doing. Extended periods of sitting lead to muscular shortening, tightening and weakening. Lack of weight-bearing activity contributes to osteoporosis.
Lack of movement and stretching leads to joint deterioration and loss of flexibility. As well, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a lack of balance. Yoga is a great form of exercise for seniors because it can combat all those ailments and is gentle and easy on the bones and joints. Yoga is the union of Mind, Body, and Spirit.
It’s more than just awkward poses and stretch exercises: it’s about mindful breathing. This holistic experience is what rejuvenates the mind, body and spirit, allowing us to focus only on our physical, mental, and spiritual selves.
How can yoga benefit you?
- •Yoga does not strain the joints and muscles;
- •It helps to normalize blood pressure and increase the flow of blood to the various organs and tissues of the body;
- •It also helps to restore and promote flexibility in the body;
- •Yoga teaches you to breathe properly and deeply so that the capacity of your lungs is properly utilized;
- •It helps to improve concentration, sharpen memory and reduce loss of mental acuity due to old age.
In practicing Yoga, you need to know your body and respect its limits. Obviously we’re not as limber as we were 40 years ago. Your doctor should be consulted – he can advise what you can focus on, and what you should avoid.
Either way, do not push yourself too hard in a pose, and obviously if you feel pain, stop what you are doing.
Scared you will fall over and lose your balance trying yoga? Many seniors find they can balance, strengthen and stretch more when using a chair for support.
If you plan to do yoga on the floor, a good quality exercise mat is required – don’t be tempted to use a bath towel – it will slip and slide! Whether you exercise in a chair or on the floor, it’s best to wear lose clothing, and leave the spandex for the young ‘uns.
Yoga can only be safe and effective if you practice it properly. A good yoga instructor is essential, and will be sensitive to a senior’s limitations.
I do not recommend yoga videos unless you’ve first had some face-to-face personal instruction.
Copying an easy-looking pose on a DVD might cause injury. So check out the programs at your local Rec Centre or at the Y, or visit www.yogadirectorycanada.com to find a studio near you.
Taking that first step is the hardest, but once you get past the ‘this looks weird’ factor, I am sure you will enjoy yoga.
Thank you Alex, for sharing this excellent article with us Article by, Alex Handyside, CPCA, www.scotiacare.com
Let us know how your Yoga and or other fitness experiences are working for you?