How Yoga Can Help Seniors Age Gracefully

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It seems that each stage of life has various health-related issues that come with it, whether it’s acne and growing pains in your youth or cataracts and menopause later in life. But what if there was an activity that could help you age a little more gracefully?

Yoga is a wonderful way to combat those natural aging ailments that might hold you back and improve your health at the same time. Check out these tips, courtesy of Yogalife Digital.

Yoga and Dental Health

Dental health is something seniors have to stay on top of to prevent issues from popping up, but you might be surprised to learn that yoga can actually improve dental health. Most forms of yoga incorporate some form of breathing, which can increase your saliva production to help rinse away bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

This deep breathing and relaxation can provide stress relief too, lowering the stress hormone cortisol. In doing so, the bacteria in your mouth that is often responsible for gum inflammation isn’t aggravated, thereby reducing your risk for gum disease. While yoga can aid oral health, you should still find a dentist to visit for regular checkups and treatment of any tooth pain. Your dentist can catch trouble early on, which means better oral health and less visits overall.

Yoga and Mobility

Movement is an area that tends to become limited and significantly slower as you age. Fortunately, yoga can help with various areas of movement. For starters, yoga can increase the range of motion in your joints to make daily activities a little easier, like bending down to tie your shoes or even brushing your teeth. As you continue working those joints, you’ll build up strength and stability, reducing the likelihood of falls.

You’ll also find that yoga is a stress-bearing activity. This might sound like a negative, but it actually encourages bone cells to ramp up production, building strong bones and a reduced likelihood of breaks and falls.

Yoga and Blood Pressure

Millions of seniors have high blood pressure (hypertension), and it puts you at a greater risk for heart disease and stroke. When it comes to lowering blood pressure, your doctor will likely recommend exercising, watching your weight, and reducing your stress levels, and yoga can help with all three.

Yoga helps to strengthen your heart and improve circulation. The increased blood flow enables your brain to take in more oxygen, leaving you feeling relaxed, balanced, and focused. The deep breathing and meditation often incorporated into a yoga session further aids the relaxation, increasing mindfulness and a clear connection between the body and mind.

Yoga and Arthritis

Arthritis is a common senior ailment, resulting in pain and stiffness. However, research shows that regular yoga practice can reduce joint pain and stiffness and improve joint flexibility. According to rheumatologist Sharon Kolasinski, “Yoga is definitely one option for people with arthritis. Not only for the exercise benefits, but it’s also beneficial in the mind/body area, promoting relaxation and stress reduction.”

Yoga is a gentle form of exercise, making it an activity seniors with arthritis can enjoy, giving them an opportunity to reduce tension, promote flexibility, and enjoy the socialization that comes from taking a yoga class. There are even chair-centered poses to help those with limited mobility. Even if you’re isolating these days for health concerns, you can always connect with classes via Zoom.

Tap Into Tech

Zoom classes are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways technology can support your yoga program. There are breathing apps, like Breath Ball or Health Through Breath – Pranayama, to help you with both mindfulness and deep breathing exercises.

Similarly, there are apps to walk you through yoga movements and flows, like Glo or Gaia. There is a wealth of online videos to help as well. If you’re watching on your smartphone or tablet, or on a television with weak speakers, consider investing in speakers that allow you to connect to devices via Bluetooth. This way, you’ll be able to hear your instructions and follow along with the instructor’s directions.

Getting older brings various ailments, such as arthritis, mobility issues, poor dental health, or high blood pressure, but yoga can make a difference. Taking up a practice like yoga can give you the help you need to stay fit and flexible as you age.

Contributed by: Brad Krause

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