An elderly couple riding bikes through Central ParkAs you age, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice a healthy and active lifestyle.

Although health issues may be a barrier between you and the vigorous exercise you used to practice, there are options for seniors that can offer both a great cardio as well as strengthening work out.

Yoga for the elderly is a high recommended way to exercise while managing stress, fatigue, and certain types of pain.

Depending on what kinds of poses are practiced, you can increase core strength and balance. This alone is a great reason for the elderly to practice yoga. Because the elderly becoming more and more at risk of falling and seriously injuring themselves, increasing balance and strength is a great way to preserve independence while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Yoga also increase agility and flexibility, and with a good yoga instructor, can help you recover full use of certain muscles!

Not only is yoga a great way to exercise, it is also a great activity to do with people of all ages. Seniors can take advantage of this hobby to make dates with daughters, sons, grandchildren, and friends. Thus not only are there physical benefits to practicing yoga, but the social benefits are there as well. By exercising in a group, not only do you feel obligated to continue your yoga practice, but this can be a great way to maintain relationships with loved ones. Often when people age, they feel like they can no longer participate in everyday activities. Yoga is a great way to get back out there and have some fun while doing your body some good.

Especially with good weather on the horizon, practicing yoga outside in the morning can be a great way to wake up and start your day off right. For people of all ages, starting the day off by exercising is a great way to make healthy decisions throughout the rest of the day. If you are being prescribed a special diet, practicing yoga in the morning can give you the motivation to make the necessary healthy eating decisions needed to maintain health. Additionally, practicing yoga outside can be a nice way to take advantage of a nice day before weather becomes too hot.

Here are a few great yoga poses that can help seniors increase strength and balance:

• One-legged Wind Release: lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, and hug your right thigh to your chest while straightening your other leg all the way to the floor. Hold and then reverse. This pose can help with chronic back pain and can help to relax the mind.

• Staff Pose: sit on the floor with legs stretched out in front, sitting up tall with belly pulled in. Place your hands beside your hips on the floor and point your toes towards your body. You will begin to feel your abdomen harden and your thighs flex. Keep this position to increase core strength.

• Chair Pose: stand with your feet together, inhale and swing your arms forward and above your head while bending your knees as if you are going to sit in a chair. Keep your knees and thighs pressed together with your tailbone tucked in, hold this position for as long as possible to increase core strength and balance.

• Downward Dog: start on your hands and knees, exhaling as you push up onto your hands and feet with your hips in the air. Your body should make a triangle with the floor. Try to straighten your legs as much as possible, the goal being to be able to put your heels on the floor. Inhale and exhale while holding for three minutes. This will increase balance as well as core strength.

• Warrior I Pose: spread your legs so that one foot is parallel to your yoga mat and the other is perpendicular to the mat. Square your hips and raise your arms out and above your head. Exhale and continue to bend your knee until it is close to a right angle. Inhale as you straighten your knee, repeat twice before switching to the other leg.
 

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