I have to admit, I'm not big on exercise. But the movements done in a yoga for seniors program is even something even I get around to. Because it's fun and easy.
And you can do it sitting down if you need to, like my Dad in his 90s. Yoga has long been known as a gentle yet excellent way to achieve balance, breath, flexibility and strength.
This page is not going to give you a whole bunch of yoga exercises to do – you really need an instructor to learn correctly.
But it Iwill tell our experience and point to some good pointers on what to consider about yoga for elderly and seniors. And baby boomers.
Plus, a really good resource if you want to try yoga at home rather than take a class. (And if you are an activities director, you can use our resources below to "teach" a little yoga class yourself). It's also one of those great outdoor elderly activities.
But Why Yoga for Seniors?
We all know the importance of staying as fit as we can while aging. Yoga for the elderly and seniors is an ideal way to accomplish this – you can modify it according to your needs and limitations. And if you are also going through something stressful, even traumatic, yoga has the added benefit of being calming and relaxing.
A Good Teacher - For Seniors
A class in yoga for seniors may be presented a bit differently than for say, the twenty-something age group. The instructor should be certified and aware of the limitations and challenges the aging are faced with – such as arthritis and osteoporosis issues; problems with the spine and various joints, particularly knees and shoulders; difficulty in bending and twisting, sometimes inability to get down on the floor.
Based on the data from the Centers For Disease Control about the importance of exercise, the routines included in yoga for elderly folks and seniors is especially beneficial for flexibility, balance, and muscle strength, all which can then help reduce falls in elderly.
I also find it excellent for improving sleep, and definitely for easing up those annoying restless leg syndrome symptoms. Yoga gets your energy flowing, including to your brain, so a wonderful side effect is a lift in your mood -- especially when you participate in a class with other people or with your friends. Then you have the added social benefit.
About Classes For Seniors
Yoga for seniors has become quite main stream now, and almost every town and city seems to have a yoga studio or class. And most senior centers, even senior living campuses, have classes as well. Many studios will also come to your group if you have enough people interested in attending, and a commitment for a several-week period.
I have seen yoga for elderly classes in which most of the participants are using walkers or are in wheel chairs, yet all successfully participate. Yoga for seniors who are more limber most likely will entail stretches and routines on floor mats though.
When considering a yoga class, it is essential that you know your limitations and plug into a class at your ability level. My dad is doing easy stretches in the photo on the right, at age 96 1/2. And it should be taught by someone who is familiar with your age group.
Have you ever felt so tired or unmotivated that you just couldn't get yourself out, especially not to a class, much less do the exercises? Yet you know you're supposed to stay fit. Well good news. Movements used in yoga for seniors are so easy and flexible you can do them in your chair, just a little bit at a time if you want. As you build up your stamina you can do a few more, then more.
You still might not feel like getting up and going out to a class (especially in cold weather), but you'll have a fun and manageable way to get your exercise in every day. And not be bored. At least I wasn't.
We Love This Easy DVD
If you do not have, or cannot get, a yoga instructor to come to your group or facility (or if you need or want to exercise at home), then there is an easy way for any activity director (or you) to launch a little yoga class him/herself. I definitely suggest learning from an excellent DVD by Peggy Cappy called “Yoga For The Rest Of Us,” as well as “Easy Yoga For Arthritis.”
So if you didn't have access to your own instructor before – you do now. It's that easy to follow. I have the latter video (for arthritis) myself, and learned it very easily on my own.
Dad and I
Although neither Dad nor I have arthritis, I liked the easy way this was presented. Then I picked out several to do with my elderly father (age 96). Now we have a daily yoga routine that we do together (about 12 to 15 movements for arms, legs, torso, neck, shoulders). I do them sometimes standing, sometimes just sitting if I'm particularly tired. Dad always does them in his easy chair.
This DVD turned out to be a real blessing because, as a full-time caregiver, it is difficult for me to consistently get out to an ongoing class. Again, it would be really easy for almost any activity director to try and then teach.
Both Dad and I have both noticed a real difference in our energy level and flexibility. Dad was having just a little bit more trouble with balance while walking (and has a great concern for falling), but after a couple months of doing our little yoga for seniors routine, this has greatly improved. Now he feels much more confident. And we both notice that we sleep better.
As with all exercise for seniors, if you have concerns you should
check with your medical professional first. And after beginning your
class or program, if you feel pain or unusual discomfort, then stop. And
check in with your doctor again.
Be sure to also read:
Elderly Health Care Issues and Solutions -- If you are wondering about common elderly health care issues, and want excellent ideas and solutions, be sure to read this important information.
Tai Chi For Seniors -- Tai Chi for seniors is based on an ancient Chinese tradition. But you may be surprised about how adaptable and beneficial it really is. I was amazed at how energized I got!