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Aging Gracefully: The Role of Yoga in Preserving Physical and Mental Vitality

Aging Gracefully: The Role of Yoga in Preserving Physical and Mental Vitality

In the US, over 20% of adults lead physically inactive lifestyles. This inactivity can contribute to many limiting ailments and conditions. There are numerous reasons why adults across the country aren’t as physically engaged as they should be, and many adults simply don’t know how to begin their journey to better physical health.

As you age, you may be looking for a miracle product or item that will help restore a sense of mental and physical vitality. However, low-impact exercise mitigates the effects of aging and may just be the magic potion you've been trying to conjure. Yoga is a fantastic practice for maintaining your health, offering significant benefits for adults who are looking for a way to enhance their overall fitness. Let’s review the primary benefits of yoga and how to incorporate this exercise into your daily life.

Physical Benefits of Yoga

Yoga as a practice is a great way to blend mindfulness, flexibility, and strength without engaging in overwhelming exertion. Yoga has been proven as a great method for reducing inflammation in the body, which is especially helpful for older adults who suffer from conditions that affect your muscles and joints. It can even have a positive impact on blood pressure! Since 48.1% of adults across the country deal with hypertension, this is an especially helpful practice to regulate your health and prevent the need for daily medication.

Mobility is a huge concern for older adults, with over one-third of people ages 70 and up experiencing limitations. Lack of mobility can lead to other health issues as well, along with forcing you to forgo a variety of activities you once enjoyed. Preserving your quality of life is a must, and yoga can certainly help you do so. Yoga increases muscle tone and keeps your joints healthy, helping decrease the chance of developing severe mobility issues later in life.

Insomnia is another health issue many adults try to manage during their later years. Sufficient sleep is essential for brain and heart function, and is crucial for the bodily healing process. Taking part in yoga can allow you to experience more restful sleep, allowing you to stay asleep throughout the night without excessive waking periods.

Mental Benefits of Yoga

Older adults may experience adverse changes in their mental wellness for several reasons. Medication side effects, reduced familial support, and physical health decline all contribute to mental health decline for many older folks. Physical activity, particularly yoga, is a great way to improve mental wellness.

Yoga allows you to become more in tune with your thoughts, preventing you from succumbing to excessive worry or intrusive ideas. Mindfulness is a major tenet of some of the most common psychotherapy techniques. Yoga in conjunction with therapy sessions can help you understand the root of your feelings, giving you the tools you need to address them head-on and greatly reduce the effects of these thoughts.

Exercise has a phenomenal effect on your mental wellness in general, and effects can last even if you choose to stop practicing yoga consistently. Studies have shown that yoga has a profound effect on the brain, positively changing areas like the hippocampus and frontal cortex, which tend to be affected most as you age. The same study has also shown that 90 to 180 minutes of yoga per week is effective at reducing anxiety in older adults as well. This can be a great activity to do with friends, giving you a reason to connect with your loved ones more frequently.

Beginning Your Yoga Journey

If you’ve never been the type to have a consistent exercise regimen, the prospect may seem rather daunting. Not to worry – with yoga, you can start as slow as you’d like. Yoga, as mentioned before, is relatively low-impact as well, which means those with present physical limitations can still find ways to engage without adding further stress to their body. You can also slowly incorporate other workout activities into the mix so you don’t get bored with your routine.

To get started, it can be helpful to designate a specific area of your house for your fitness regimen. Many people decide to transform a spare bedroom or old office into a home gym. If you’re looking for more space to incorporate other fitness activities, or if you plan on sharing the fitness space with others in the home, you may want to consider transforming your garage into a home gym. Here, you can store your yoga equipment and participate in daily sessions while still having plenty of room for other fitness-related equipment, such as a treadmill or stationary bike.

Create a floor plan that designates certain areas to specific activities – one section for yoga, one section for weight lifting, and one section for cardio. This is especially useful if you have a fitness buddy who isn’t interested in yoga but still wants to join you for a workout. Consider including plants in the layout to improve the air quality.

To gain flexibility and strength, it's important to be comfortable while exploring yoga. Outfitting your space with the right insulation, along with heating and cooling systems, ensures you’re always at a safe temperature and can perform each exercise to the best of your ability.

After you’ve created the perfect yoga space, create a workout schedule and pick a routine! Many websites offer free daily workout videos and tutorials. You can also hire an instructor to come to your house to train you. Your workout schedule should align with your goals and lifestyle. If you have trouble sleeping, try doing yoga at night. For a more refreshed start to your day, wake up early and have a relaxing 30-45 minute session.

Final Thoughts

Aging is a natural progression in life. There are ways to offset the more troublesome aspects that come with aging, such as health decline. Exercise, and yoga in particular, can be a fun way to keep yourself in good health while building a new hobby to devote your time to.

By Katie Brenneman

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