As we age, the benefits of exercise can seem to be something of a diminishing return, with more and more effort required to maintain levels of fitness that were easy in extreme youth. However, it is when you look at what happens when you do not exercise as you age that you can see the true benefits of staying fit into your golden years, and this is especially true of gentle, graduated exercises such as yoga, which can be adjusted to suit varying levels of mobility and fitness as required. Here are some of the health benefits of yoga:
If you are already fairly flexible, able to bend, twist and turn as you like, then yoga can help you to maintain those levels without strain. If you have never been particularly athletic and have found yourself struggling with simple day to day tasks as your already less-than-ideal body succumbs to advent of ageing, then yoga can help you to regain a good range of motion, so you can continue to look after yourself and do your chores without needing assistance.
A Good Core
One of the major benefits that yoga imparts is a strong core. Your core affects your balance when walking or running, and can help you with things like getting down on your knees, rising back to your feet, coping with a lightly icy path, and climbing into and out of buses, or even – if you are very active – climbing over stiles or scrambling up hilly walks and rambles. Having a good core is good for everyone though, as it lessens the likelihood of falls – which as you get older can result in painful and annoyingly lengthy recuperation periods as old bones knit slower but break more easily. Dislocations are common in older folk too, and again may take a long time to fully heal – so if you can avoid a tumble by taking a daily yoga session, it is to be highly recommended.
Strong Healthy Bones
Our bones shed density at an alarming rate once we are over sixty, and the only ways to delay this process are to get a head start by developing strong bones in youth, keeping them strong and healthy with a good diet and weight bearing exercise. Yoga is great for this as it largely uses your own body weight to support and build your muscles, so you do not need to buy or use heavy, expensive weights – yoga equipment tends to be minimal, portable and affordable! If you have previously ignored the need to exercise but are now feeling the need to delay the onset of conditions like osteoporosis for as long as possible, yoga will help with that, first building basic fitness and encouraging correct breathing before moving onto the more rigorous exercises that will help your general health in so many ways.
Keeps you Regular!
Talking poop tends to lose its attraction after primary school, but it recurs as a point of interest as you age and your digestive system stops working quite as effectively as you are accustomed! Increasing your fibre intake is a good solution, but so is upping your activity levels. Our bodies are not designed to sit or even stand for long periods of time, and making the time for even a short comprehensive workout can give our digestive and metabolic systems a boost, ensuring that everything continues to work efficiently. Yoga is especially effective as it works the whole body, encouraging speedy digestive transit – hence all the jokes and memes about farting during yoga classes! They are based in nothing more than reality!
Finally, and not to be over-looked is the mental sharpness that comes along with a healthy, well-nourished body. Yoga tends to be a thoughtful practise, with plenty of time for meditation and deep breathing, and this refreshes your brain almost as much as a good night’s sleep – something else that yoga can help you achieve!
*This is a collaborative post