Yoga is practiced for relaxation, but it also has so many physical benefits for the body. September is National Yoga Awareness month, and what better time to give yoga a try? Especially those aged 50 and older. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that older adults tend to have less endurance, strength, flexibility and balance, four areas that are important for staying healthy and independent. Yoga can help in building all of these areas.
Endurance is important in older age because it promotes a healthy heart, circulatory system and lungs. Yoga takes breathing to a whole other level. By practicing yoga and incorporating deep breathing techniques, the body’s oxygen intake increases. More oxygen in the body allows for the working muscles to get the energy that is required.
Just about every yoga pose uses your own body weight for resistance and strength training. Continued muscle strength is essential in order to complete daily living tasks like carrying groceries, opening jars and lifting oneself out of the bed in the morning. Yoga can help develop strength in your muscles and bones.
Flexibility also allows us to keep up with basic daily activities, but it seems it is one of the physical traits that gets lost first in old age. Yoga infuses stretching exercises in its practice to promote more flexibility in the body. Being flexible can prevent injury in our muscles and joints, a vital aspect to getting older.
Having good balance may be the most important thing for someone older in age. Healthy balance prevents falls, allows for easy and confident walking and stair climbing and promotes overall independence in general. Yoga is easily based around the study of balance and core training. A strong core not only helps keep you balanced, but improves posture. Practicing even simple yoga poses can establish a good foundation for better balance.
I challenge you to try yoga! Allow for your body and mind to reap the benefits of this practice. Getting older is inevitable, but having a healthy body is very tangible for everyone. This month will be full of yoga awareness activities and events in just about every city. Click here to find events near you.