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Can Yoga Benefit Seniors and Keep Them Active and Independent?

Senior woman doing yoga and staying active and independent

More and more older Americans are choosing to independently age in place at home every year, including many who are well into their 70s and 80s. One way that this empowered generation of seniors is staying more physically active and independent is by exercising. If you’re currently caring for an aging in place senior who needs more exercise, have you considered introducing them to Yoga? Around for thousands of years, see how Yoga can benefit seniors in so many ways, starting with these.

Before Starting a Yoga Program

If your senior hasn’t exercised much lately but is otherwise mobile, before starting Yoga they’ll still need to get a complete physical at the doctor’s office. That way their doctor can check their heart, lungs, balance, mental acuity and flexibility to make sure everything’s okay. Once you have the go-ahead, you’ll need to find a Yoga class in your area. There’s probably one available at the local senior center, gym, or through the SilverSneakers program. But make sure first that the instructor is certified to teach elderly participants.

How Can Yoga Benefit Seniors?

Yoga is a low-impact form of exercise, which means it doesn’t place a lot of added stress on arthritic joints and weakened bones oftentimes found in the elderly. According to AARP, doing Yoga 3 to 4 times a week will benefit a senior in these ways:

Lowers Stress and Anxiety

Many seniors suffer from stress and anxiety because they worry too much, and if those pent-up feelings aren’t released it can affect their health and wellbeing. Yoga triggers your brain’s “relaxation response”, which helps the body lower stress. It’s also good for anyone with high blood pressure and lower back pain exacerbated by stress-induced muscle tightness. In fact, Yoga’s combination of breathing, meditation and movement stimulates the release of brain chemicals which calm nerves throughout the body!

Improves Joint Flexibility

Most of the movements used during Yoga loosen stiff joints and improve range of motion and flexibility. Studies have further found that Yoga induces the body to nourish and lubricate achy arthritic joints; making it much easier for seniors to walk, drive a car or play with their grandchildren.

Strengthens Bones

Once a person reaches their 50s, their bone density starts to decrease, which can lead to osteoporosis in their 60s and 70s. The weight-bearing activities of Yoga help slow bone thinning which lowers the risk for developing, or worsening, osteoporosis.

Burns Calories

Yoga benefits seniors that are overweight by burning excess calories. As-long-as your senior isn’t malnourished, Yoga is a great way for them to shed some excess pounds.

Enhances Balance and Coordination

Yoga’s slow, methodical movements and muscle strengthening poses helps seniors improve their balance and coordination, reducing the likelihood that they’ll experience an injurious fall at home or elsewhere.

Hones Concentration and Mental Acuity

As we age our minds aren’t as sharp as they used to be, and memory loss is common in the elderly. Yoga hones a senior’s concentration and may possibly improve brain function and cognitive performance in older people, which means it could also help prevent or slow down dementia. Breathing exercises used during Yoga also help harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain that control a person’s logic and personality.

Promotes New Friendships

Meeting new friends while participating in a fun and beneficial activity like Yoga is also a plus. Seniors who routinely interact with others are less likely to get depressed, tend to sleep better, recover faster from illnesses, and simply show a zest for life that can continue well into their 80s or beyond!

In-Home Caregivers Who Know the Importance of Exercise

Encouraging an aging in place senior to stay active and independent can be hard when you have your own household to manage or live far away. When you need a hand, call Cranberry Home Care. As a family owned and operated agency, our caregivers fully understand the importance of keeping seniors active and independent so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. Starting with encouragement and transportation to and from their exercise classes, our home care companion services are just what your senior needs.

In addition to companionship and transportation, our carefully screened and highly trained aides can also perform in-home duties like light housekeeping, meals, medication reminders and personal hygiene. And, all our home care services can be flexibly tailored in an affordable package that’ll give you peace-of-mind. For more information about Cranberry Home Care, or to schedule a FREE, in-home care consultation for a senior in Southeastern, MA, please visit: www.cranberryhomecare.com now!

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