Yoga Exercise: 3 Age-Appropriate Benefits For Seniors

Whether you are living in a retirement community or you are still living at home with your full independence, you may want to consider taking yoga classes. Yoga isn't all about young people and firm bodies. In fact, more and more seniors are beginning to take part in this gentle exercise because of the benefits that it can offer the older demographic. Regardless of your body shape or your age, here are three reasons you will want to take up yoga as soon as possible:

1. Yoga Relieves Depression and Anxiety.

With as many as 40 percent of older Americans reporting anxiety and as many as 20 percent of senior citizens experiencing depression, researchers have found that yoga may be able to help. Researchers have found that the meditation, breathing and stretching exercises associated with yoga can offer positive effects that can last at least six months longer in senior citizens. It has also been shown to counterbalance the undesirable effects of aging, delay disability, decreased mortality, increase hope, improve physical functioning and arouse the mind – all of which can help reduce the overall risk of depression and anxiety.

2. Yoga Enhances Your Balance and Flexibility While Also Increasing Strength.

If you engage in yoga properly, you will feel energized and relaxed. You will also see an improvement in balance, flexibility and strength. As long as you don't progress through the exercises too quickly and make the appropriate modifications to the exercises, the benefits of this type of fitness regimen will greatly outweigh the potential musculoskeletal risks. It is also suggested that seniors with osteoporosis should work closely with an instructor to ensure that they maintain appropriate fitness levels.

3. Yoga Reduces Blood Pressure and Heart Rate.

According to WebMD, you may be able to improve your blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels by partaking in yoga. On average, yoga-practicing individuals were able to reduce their blood pressure by five points and LDL "bad" cholesterol by 12 points. These same individuals also lost five pounds, on average.  Although more research is necessary, the preliminary research suggests that yoga can dramatically improve risk factors of cardiovascular disease.

Even if you're living in a retirement community, assisted living facility or a nursing home, you can still engage in yoga. If you're able to leave the facility's grounds, you can take part in a community class. If you are unable to leave the grounds, such as if you're at a nursing home, check with the administrator or activity director to see if yoga is something that is offered or can be offered in the near future. Show them the benefits because that may be all they need to implement a new physical activity for the residents.

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Tips for Preventing Depression in a Nursing Home

It can be a huge shock to your loved one as they transition from independent living to life in a nursing home. In some people, this can lead to depression. However, there are many things that you, as their family, can do to prevent this from happening. My name is Brittney and I know this all to well. My father transitioned into a nursing home and he began to slide into depression. However, thanks to amazing caregivers and resources on the Internet, we were able to help him live a happy life. I created this website with the hopes of helping others learn what helped us to prevent the same thing from happening to their family.