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Elderly Yoga: Benefits for Beginners and 4 Easy Poses to Try

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms
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Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise for older people. It not only relieves stress and alleviates aches and pains but is a great investment into future health – your flexibility, mobility and strength are all enhanced. Even if your mobility is currently limited, you will find poses to suit all fitness levels.

This post will explore the benefits yoga has for older people and guide you through a few easy poses to try.

Elderly yoga – Is it for me?

Some people assume that yoga is just for the young. Not true. At its core, yoga offers a way to gain strength and flexibility for your body. Who wouldn’t benefit from that type of exercise? Yoga has no barrier to age and can appeal to any age group.

If you are thinking about signing up for a local class, be encouraged that yoga teachers are experienced in yoga for older people and will not expect you to attempt anything you’re not comfortable with.

Having guidance from a knowledgeable instructor is a great way to learn and being in a class with others can encourage and support you.

Alternatively, there are plenty of resources on yoga online, or in books and magazines that can help you begin yoga at home. The great thing about yoga is that it is accessible to everyone, no matter where they are.

Benefits of yoga for older people

There are many reasons why yoga can benefit elderly people. Let’s have a look at some of the most appealing ones:

  • Alleviates aches and pains – As people age, joints can inflame and chronic illnesses are more common. Practicing yoga can relieve pain caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain and autoimmune disorders. Keeping joints flexible and active will decrease aches and pains caused by many conditions suffered by older people.
  • Reduce stress – Reducing the body’s stress response is known to help with inflammation. Yoga is a great way to reduce your heart rate and lower blood pressure, putting you in a calmer frame of mind.
  • Strengthen bones – Yoga is surprisingly effective in preventing osteoporosis and protecting bones. 80% of osteoporosis sufferers are women, likely because of a female having smaller skeletal structures and the quick drop that happens in producing estrogen. Yoga poses can have the effect of creating new bone or reversing bone loss.
  • Decreases risk of depression – Exercise is a powerful fighter of depression. It can affect a lot of changes in the brain, reducing inflammation and releasing endorphins that lift your mood. If you choose to do yoga with others, it also offers a chance to make new friends and be part of a supportive group.
  • Improved sleeping habits – Many older people suffer from sleep disturbances including, snoring, insomnia and restless leg syndrome (RLS). Yoga exercise can greatly improve sleep quality, even if only done occasionally. As it follows deep breathing awareness and teaches mindfulness, melatonin levels increase and so reduce any sleep disturbances.
  • Enhanced balance, flexibility and mobility – Practicing yoga poses will strengthen tendons, ligaments and muscles. The stronger the soft tissue is, the less the risk of injuring joints.

4 easy yoga poses to try

Beginners to yoga might get confused by the number of poses and the strange-sounding names. But as yoga is the practice of stretching, bending and folding bodies into natural poses, you’ve probably already done a yoga pose if you’ve ever stretched your arms over your head.

Basic yoga poses are simple but extremely effective. You don’t need to worry about your age or health when there are plenty of poses to suit you, at whatever stage you are at. Chair yoga is extremely popular for those with mobility issues and if you are just looking for ways to help you relax your breathing, yoga has what you need.

Have a look at the following 4 easy poses – why not try them out?

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

An important standing pose that works on aligning your body correctly. The aim is to hold a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels. This is a beginner pose, which is done to prepare for other poses. It can also help you improve your posture when done on its own.

How to…

  • Stand with your big toes touching
  • Root your feet into the floor and tighten your leg muscles, causing your kneecaps to rise
  • Draw your belly in
  • Check your shoulders are aligned over your pelvis
  • Lift your shoulders up to your ears and roll them back
  • Take 5-10 breaths, holding the position

Raised Hands Pose (Urdhva Hastasana)

Follow the steps for Mountain Pose before building on it as you reach your arms straight upwards. This is a complete body stretch, a perfect pose for beginning a yoga session.

Don’t worry if you can’t reach straight up, this pose is designed to stretch you, no matter how much or how little you can manage.

How to…

  • Start with Mountain Pose, take a deep breath in
  • Bring your arms out to the side and up toward the ceiling
  • Keep your arms parallel, palms facing each other
  • Remember to try and keep your shoulders down
  • Hold the pose for a few seconds or as much as you can manage
  • Lower your arms and repeat

Standing Spinal Twist (Katichakrasana)

This pose simply means ‘rotation of the waist.’ It has been known to relieve the discomfort that comes from constipation, as well as strengthen the flexibility of the spine and waist. This is especially beneficial for older people who live a more sedentary lifestyle as it opens and stretches muscles in the arms and legs.

How to…

  • Stand up straight with feet together
  • Breathe in and bring your hands straight in front of you, palms facing
  • Breathe out and gently twist from the waist to the right, looking over your right shoulder. You will feel the stretch in your lower back.
  • Breathe in and come back to the centre
  • Repeat the pose on your left side
  • Repeat a few times on both sides and then bring your hands down to your side, as you breathe out.

Warrior 1 (Virbhadrasana 1)

If balance or mobility issues mean that you can’t do standing yoga poses, why not have a go at chair yoga? It is the best type of yoga for the elderly, as it can help build confidence and offers much more comfort for beginners.

Warrior 1 is an excellent chair pose for those who would like to begin yoga while sitting down.

How to…

  • Sitting on a chair with your feet placed flat on the floor, take a deep breath. As you do this, lift your arms out to the sides and raise them up to meet above your head.
  • Lace your fingers together, point with your first finger and thumb towards the ceiling.
  • As you breathe out, roll your shoulders away from your ear. You will feel your shoulder muscles move and stretch.
  • Take at least 5 deep breaths before you unclasp your hands and bring your arms gently back down to your sides.

Feel supported with SureSafe Alarms

Older people can live more independent and active lives with SureSafe personal alarms. Supporting elderly friends and family to feel less isolated and part of a community is essential to their well-being.

Using SureSafe Alarms, you can connect to your loved ones and be reassured that they have a way to call for help if needed. Our tracker alarms provide 24/7 support with fall detection and an SOS button. So your loved one will be safe, as well as free to enjoy their day.

If you’d like to know more about our personal alarms, contact our friendly team on 0800 112 3201, use our Live Chat or Request a Callback.

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