For centuries, humans have grappled with the concept of ageing. As we get older, our body begins to change in a number of ways, affecting basic physical functions, and causing noticeable alterations to our dietary and cardiovascular systems.
Physical inactivity is also a major problem that people need to contend with as they get older. It can be a major contributing factor to ill health, so it’s especially important for people to ensure they get enough exercise as they age. Indeed, the WHO recommends that senior citizens (defined as anyone over the age of 65) do an average of at least 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day.
When it comes to exercise for seniors, there are certain constraints to consider – mobility being the biggest one. A lot of people begin to have trouble moving freely as they get older, making it harder to perform aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging or cycling. Ageing also causes problems with balance, making older people more susceptible to injuries from falls.
Which is why it’s important to identify other forms of exercise that can help senior citizens get the physical activity they need, without placing undue strain on the body. This is where yoga can prove to be an excellent alternative.
How Yoga Benefits Senior Citizens
Studies have found that yoga can be an effective tool to help senior citizens stay fit and healthy, providing a number of physiological and psychological benefits:
- Blood circulation slows down as we age, contributing to a number of cardiovascular problems. Certain simple stretches in yoga can help to activate key muscles and joints, leading to better circulation in the body.
- Rhythmic exercises can help boost flexibility, by increasing the body’s range of motion, and detailed studies have shown the positive impact this can have for senior citizens in particular.
- Yoga can be an effective way to reduce blood glucose levels in the body – especially beneficial for people who have diabetes.
- Along with the physical benefits, yoga can also provide relief to the mind, by having a positive impact on cognition and quality of sleep.
- Simple meditation techniques, when practiced in conjunction with yoga, can help to alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and provide a boost to overall mental well-being.
Ultimately, the ageing process is simply a part of life, and something we all need to go through. And there’s enough evidence to suggest that by making yoga and meditation a part of your wellness routine, the transition to your twilight years can be a smooth and comfortable one.