Image credit: lululemon athletica
As we age, our bodies generally become less flexible and we begin to experience pains and issues that have built up over the years. If we have eaten well and exercised consistently, we will experience much fewer symptoms. Yoga is an excellent way to begin a body movement program if you are more sedentary. To see 20-somethings bending and twisting into all sorts of positions at a rapid pace can be fairly intimidating for someone unfamiliar with the practice, particularly those who have chronic pain in critical parts of their body. However self-conscious you are, you can practice yoga in a way that suits you, whether it’s a class, personal yoga sessions, or a DVD at home. Consider yoga for the following reasons:
5 Develops Core Strength, Decreases Back Pain
In almost every single pose in yoga, the core is active, and with constant reminders by the instructor to pull the belly in and keep the spine neutral, it is an excellent way to strengthen a key part of the human body. When we are sedentary, we lose the alignment of our body that is crucial to spinal health. Yoga helps to realign the spine, increase the strength of our abdominal muscles, and dissipate the stress on the spine that comes from a weak core.
4 Improves Mental Clarity and Health
Regular sleep alone can help increase mental clarity and health, and yoga helps to develop normal sleep patterns while also decreasing stress levels and raising self-esteem. As we age, often we are made to feel like we must stay young and do everything we can to fight the clock. By doing yoga, we experience an attunement to our body that goes beyond simply “shaping” it and burning fat. We are shown how to really listen to the signals of our body, riding on higher energy and feeling more independent and respectful of our abilities, while appreciating ourselves for taking care of our body.
3 Increases Heart Health
Yoga helps to increase systolic stroke volume and decrease cholesterol levels, appetite, fat mass, and resting heart rate. It also normalizes blood pressure. All of these things happen to directly affect the health of the heart, an organ that is absolutely crucial to keep healthy in order to live a long, healthy life.
2 Muscle Mass Remains or Increases
Aging brings on muscle mass deterioration as the hormones shift and become less active in muscle preservation and growth. At Tufts University, a study involving 87- through 96-year-old seniors in a weight lifting program revealed a 300-percent increase in muscle tone. This returned to them the ability to be independent and able, something that cannot go underestimated in the senior population. Yoga utilizes the whole body and strengthens all muscle groups during a well-rounded session.
1 It’s Gentle on the Joints
Yoga is a great way to get your heart rate up while staying low-impact, meaning that it won’t stress the joints. The individual has full control over the degree to which he or she would like to stretch and at what pace. As you age, you tend to become more in tune with the pain sensations, so you’ll be more likely to take it easy in the flow and poses, while not feeling self-conscious for doing so considering yoga is a non-competitive, very accepting exercise.