You see the supple, young bodies twisted into pretzel shapes, and you wonder, “How could I possibly do yoga?” Maybe the question should be: “Why should I do yoga?” Well, the list of benefits is longer than an unfurled yoga mat.
Not every yoga class is designed for master-level contortionists. The beauty of this centuries-old practice is how adaptable it is – anyone really can do yoga anywhere. The best retirement communities, for example, offer yoga classes specially designed for active seniors.
So take a deep breath and relax. Yoga is for you. Here are just a few ways it’s a saving grace for aging bodies, courtesy of the American Senior Fitness Association:
Better sleep: The older we get, the more we may long for the days of sleeping like a baby. Enter yoga, a lullaby of a workout. A 2005 study conducted in a retirement community compared the impact of yoga versus an herbal sleep aid. The group of seniors who did yoga reported that they fell asleep faster and slept longer than retirees who relied on the supplement to get some shuteye.
Improved moods: Many yoga instructors who regularly work with seniors have found that the simple act of attending a yoga class – whether at a standalone studio or within one of the better retirement communities – provides an all-important feeling of belonging to the elderly. And a 2001 study conducted by the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center found that yoga participants reported an improvement in their moods and anxiety levels thanks to regular sessions of yoga. The same study showed that yoga helped those suffering from chronic pain – a surefire mood booster!
Lighter living: Remember middle-age creep – those pounds that sneak on, and stick around, as we age? Yoga can help battle age-related bulge, say the authors of a 2005 study at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who found that weekly yoga sessions helped prevent thicker middles in students of normal weight and seemed to promote weight loss in those who were overweight. One hypothesis: the increased body awareness that comes with stretching, posing, holding and repeating, no matter who you are or where you practice.
Lourdes Noreen McKeen in West Palm Beach is a full-service community offering residents a lifestyle of ease, comfort and security and, yes, we offer individual and group wellness programs, including chair yoga, aerobics and core strength training. Our staff understands that every person’s situation is different and unique, which is why we offer three different levels of care: Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing/Rehabilitation. We’ve served seniors in West Palm Beach since 1960, and would like to welcome you and your loved ones to our senior living community.
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