It seems as though every insight about the key components of healthy aging lead back to maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. But for seniors with limited mobility, finding the right low-impact exercise that gets their heart pumping without risking injury is essential.
That’s why yoga has become such a popular fitness craze in recent years. Not only does this low-impact exercise come with several health benefits, but there are also specific yoga poses for seniors that can help keep you feeling young and limber!
The Health Benefits of Yoga
The best part about yoga is that it is an exercise for all ages. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, everyone who practices can enjoy the following health benefits of yoga:
- Yoga promotes a healthy spine since many poses focus on good posture.
- With its deep breathing techniques, yoga strengthens the lungs.
- By improving your balance, yoga lowers your risk of falling.
- No matter how simple or difficult the pose is, yoga strengthens muscles and bones.
- Yoga prevents cognitive decline by requiring you to constantly pay attention to your breathing and posture.
In addition to these benefits that promote healthy aging, another great thing about yoga is that you can do this exercise practically anywhere! No equipment is needed -- all you need to know are some basic yoga poses, and you are ready to begin strengthening your mind-body connection.
The Best Yoga Poses to Try
Yoga may seem daunting at first, but keep in mind that it’s completely doable and safe as long as you work within your abilities. Take into consideration any conditions you may have, such as limited mobility or balance, or arthritis. While these limitations can make other exercises difficult, in yoga you can modify practically any pose to accommodate your needs.
Yoga encourages everyone who practices it to move at their own pace and according to their own abilities. That’s why it’s referred to as a “practice,”--the more you do it, the more you’re encouraged to keep exploring how your body feels in different positions. There is no sense of competition with yoga, the only intention is to help you connect you mind, body and spirit.
To help you get started, here are the best yoga poses for seniors according to WebMD:
1. Tree Pose: This pose improves your balance and lowers your risk of falls.
- While holding onto something, like the back of a chair, raise one leg until your heel is touching the inside part of your ankle (your toes should still be on the ground).
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then repeat with the other leg.
- As you get more confident, try this pose without holding onto something and raise the sole of your foot until it is resting on the inside of your lower leg.
2. Warrior II Pose: This pose strengthens your bones and your lower body.
- With your feet hip-distance apart, slowly turn to the right while stepping your right foot out 3 to 4 feet at a 90 degree angle.
- Raise your arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height and inhale.
- While exhaling, bend your right leg until it is parallel with the floor while keeping your left leg straight.
- Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat with the other leg.
3. Extended Puppy Pose: Perfect for those who are uncomfortable performing poses on their knees and hips, this pose benefits your spine.
- Place a towel under your knees and start in a tabletop position.
- Keeping your hips over your knees, slowly walk your hands in front of you until your chest is close to the ground.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds while breathing deeply, and then return to the tabletop position.
4. Low Lunge Pose: Similar to normal lunges, this pose boosts leg strength.
- With your legs hip-distance apart, step one leg forward and bend the knee so it is directly over your ankle. Your other knee or shin should be resting on the ground.
- Press your hands into the floor on the side of the heel that is in front of you.
- Hold while breathing for 20 seconds, then stand up and repeat with the other leg.
5. Legs up the Wall Pose: This pose is a good option if you’re having difficulty bending over with some of the other poses.
- Lying down with your back on the floor, slowly lift your legs up the wall until they are flat against it. Bend your knees slightly if you can’t get them flat against the wall.
- Keeping your arms by your side, hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds while breathing deeply.
- Carefully swing your legs back to the floor.
Practicing Peace of Body & Spirit, Enjoying Peace of Mind
Although yoga is a great low-impact exercise, you still need to put your safety first. To experience the most health benefits of yoga, start by attending a yoga class at your local gym or community center to learn how to properly perform each pose. Once you have the basics down, you can do these yoga poses anywhere on your own.
And just like yoga, a Mobile Guardian can go with you both inside and outside of the house and keep you feeling good! Whether you’re practicing yoga at a gym, the local park or your own home, ensure your safety should an accident occur with a Mobile Guardian medical alert device.