We’re probably all familiar with yoga – exercise that combines physical movement with relaxation and breathing techniques – and its benefits of boosting overall health and well-being.
Although some people might be put off by thinking you have to be something of a contortionist to take part, it’s not all about handstands and mastering the King Pigeon Pose (a folding backbend.)
Because yoga can be tailored for all ages and activity levels, it is fast becoming a popular pastime particularly for older people, and especially those who suffer from multiple conditions (like high blood pressure, arthritis, poor sleep.)
You only have to read about Tao Porchon-Lynch the 100-year-old New York yoga instructor who is still teaching regular classes at such a grand old age.
At Brio Retirement Living, health and wellbeing is as important to us as building stylish, high-quality homes in desirable locations.
That’s why we are introducing specialist, regular yoga classes tailored to different abilities across all of our retirement communities – starting with Brio Landale Court in Chapelton and Brio Beechwood Park in Stow-on-the-Wold, when the first homeowners move in this summer.
But if you’re still not sure whether to pick up a mat and join us, let us demonstrate how age is no barrier to enjoying yoga and highlight seven reasons why you should roll out your yoga mat:
Yoga enhances flexibility and joint motion. The poses help stretch muscles and lubricate joints. Those suffering from arthritis and other stiff-joint conditions can also benefit from gentle yoga.
In a study done by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in the US that looked at the effectiveness of yoga to manage osteoarthritis in elderly women, researchers found that it provided therapeutic benefits.
Not only low-impact moves loosen muscles, they can also tone supporting muscles and help prevent injury.
Many yoga poses focus on balance and stability and strengthening muscles and improving balance can prevent the likelihood of falls. Plus, it can also help recovery, should a fall occur.
Researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia looked at the effect of yoga on balance among 300 men and women aged over 60 and found that mobility and balance improved after only a relatively short-term yoga programme.
Director of Development and Sales Karl Hallows road tests some of the moves we are set to introduce at our communities with yoga instructor Emel.
With age comes respiratory limitations and reduced tolerance to physical exertion. Anything that reduces oxygen in the respiratory system can have negative effects on the mind and body.
Yoga incorporates calming techniques and physical activity, both of which help to lower blood pressure. Indeed, participants in a group of studies saw blood pressure decrease after a consistent yoga practice.
Yoga classes are calm and restorative, relaxing your body and mind. Yoga practice involves focusing on the breath and slow movements, which can help trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, reducing the by-products of stress and feelings of anxiety.
Many older people suffer from chronic pain in joints and muscles — areas yoga is known to help. After only four weeks of yoga, participants in a US university’s medical centre study reported needing less pain medication.
Now a new UK study being conducted by Northumbria University is looking into the benefits of a yoga programme that is specially adapted for older adults with multiple long-term health conditions. It will look at their overall quality of life, changes in their reported levels of depression and anxiety and if they are having fewer falls because of improvements in physical function – if successful, could lead to yoga being prescribed on the NHS.
Since so much of yoga is focused on breathing and listening to your body, an added benefit is the expanded awareness of your thoughts and emotions. You will become more connected to and mindful of your environment, your community, and the world around you. And you’re likely to meet new people taking part in your classes too.
If you think yoga might be for you, start slowly and easily, and if necessary, let your doctor know about your new plan.