17% of yoga enthusiasts are in their 50s, and a further 21% are 60 or older. Yoga is great for seniors as it’s a gentle exercise that increases flexibility, balance, strength, can ease back pain, and has also been linked to reduced blood pressure and a lower heart rate. However, seniors that are new to yoga may find that they would benefit from doing some exercises alongside yoga to improve how well they can work with the positions, and therefore how beneficial it is for them.
Improving your balance
One in four people over the age of 65 will fall each year, which is a massive 29 million falls, according to the CDC. Poor balance is one of the biggest reasons why seniors fall, which is why it’s so important to work on it with age. Many yoga positions require a great deal of balance, giving you even more reason to work on it. Exercises that can help include the tightrope walk, where you put one foot in front of the other and walk in a straight line, and the flamingo stand, where you stand on one leg at a time. You may need to hold onto something for these exercises to begin with, but work towards balancing unaided.
Add in some cardio
Beginners yoga can put your cardiovascular system to the test, especially if you’ve not exercised in a while. Adding some cardio to complement your yoga workouts can help to improve your stamina and help you to progress. Exercise bikes, particularly reclined ones, are great for seniors, as they support the body during exercise, taking pressure off joints and the back so that you can work out for longer. HomeFitnessJourney.com has reviewed some of the best bikes available to make it easy to compare features and pick the right one for you.
Increase your strength
As you advance with your yoga, or to improve how well you can do beginner’s positions, you’ll find that improving your strength will help. Get a chair that has arms, and sit up straight on the edge of it. Cross your arms over your chest then lean back. This is a similar movement to a sit up, but is a good starting point for seniors. Lean back forward, put your arms out parallel to the ceiling, and stand up to work your legs. Repeat this 10-15 times at least once a day. To work your arms, you can do a modified push up, where you do the same movement but against a wall so that it’s easier.
The more you do any exercise, the better you’ll be able to do it, whether that’s for a longer period or for more repetitions. With regular practice, you’ll soon notice the improvements to your strength, stamina, and balance in your yoga workouts, helping you to reap the benefits.