Retirement is often associated with the idea of inactive, slow-moving lifestyles. Retirement finally offers the opportunity to take life a little more slowly. However, it also offers the benefits of having the free time to exercise and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle that may have not been possible before retirement.
Many seniors are turned off by the idea of yoga because it seems like something that is too difficult to do. In fact, yoga is one of those activities that are great for seniors because its difficulty is scalable for any skill level. It’s often gentle, and there are many classes and online resources to take advantage of that will guide you through the exercise.
Why Yoga for Seniors Is Beneficial
Yoga is not an activity reserved for the super flexible athletes and young people of Instagram. Beginner yoga can easily be done by those with less physical mobility and may actually help seniors become more flexible and maintain their physical health through stretching. It’s even possible to do yoga from a wheelchair!
While yoga offers a plethora of physical benefits, it also has mental and emotional benefits for many people. Focusing on slow movements and staying mindful of one’s body and the space around it has a meditative quality. For seniors who struggle with depression, anxiety, or lethargy, yoga may be greatly beneficial.
Meditating can reduce anxiety and improve mood, leading to a more balanced day and brighter outlook in general.
Yoga Poses for Seniors
It’s generally recommended for inexperienced people and seniors to go to at least one yoga class before trying yoga on their own. Real life yoga classes have the benefit of an experienced instructor who can guide newbies through the activity, correct any errors, and prevent anyone from injuring themselves. Plus, the added fun of trying yoga with other people!
Here are just a few examples of yoga poses seniors can do to start their journey:
- Mountain pose: This is an easy pose that may not even seem like yoga at first. However, standing straight can actually be beneficial to practice body-mindfulness and help correct posture for seniors who have back pain or chronically slouch. To do mountain pose, stand tall with your big toes and heels together. Relax your shoulders and bring your abdomen in. Take five to eight breaths while engaging your leg muscles.
- Angry cat pose: This one may be difficult for some, so consult with your doctor before attempting this pose. To perform angry cat pose, get down on all fours and pull your stomach in to create an arch in your back. This pose is helpful to lengthen and stretch your spine out.
- Chair yoga: Just because you use a wheelchair or a chair for assistance doesn’t mean you can’t do yoga. In fact, it is sometimes even more crucial to pay attention to physical health when you use a wheelchair.
Here are various seated yoga poses you can do to stretch while sitting:
- Eagle arms pose: This a great pose for stretching your arms, shoulders, and upper back. Take a deep breath in and stretch your arms out to your sides. When you exhale, bring your arms in to give yourself a hug, touching your shoulders with the opposite hands. Inhale again and lift your elbows up. When you exhale, roll your shoulders down and relax your arms.
- Warrior I: Take a deep breath while sitting up straight in your chair. When you inhale, lift your arms out and up above your head. When you exhale, roll your shoulders back so that you are moving your shoulder blades. Continue to do this for five more breaths, then slowly bring your arms down.
- Seated neck rolls: If you feel tension in your neck and shoulders, this pose can help relieve it. To begin, sit straight in your chair and gaze up to the ceiling. Keep your neck long and begin to roll your left ear to your left shoulder. Hold that pose then begin to bring your chin to your chest. Finally, bring your right ear to your right shoulder, and then return to the first position.
Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Centers Has Activities for Every Senior
At Nevada Adult Day Healthcare Centers, we thrive to keep our seniors active, no matter their ability level. We provide our seniors a variety of activities. Visit us today to see our seniors in action!