How Baby Boomers Are Taking On the Yoga Lifestyle
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Yoga offers countless benefits, from reduced stress to increased flexibility. But one population, in particular, has begun to take on the yoga lifestyle – baby boomers.
Why the popularity of yoga with seniors? The benefits of yoga have been said to slow or even reverse the aging process. It’s no wonder that seniors find particular benefits of yoga appealing, such as its ability to increase mobility and allow them to lead more fulfilling lives.
But there are a few other reasons that explain yoga’s popularity amongst baby boomers, as well as how they’re taking advantage of this versatile exercise.
Seniors Are Living Longer
On a whole, seniors are living longer today than ever before. Between medical advancements that keep seniors healthier longer and an extended lifespan, seniors can enjoy more active years. As baby boomers move into their senior years, health and staying active become priorities. It’s only natural that seniors start looking for physical activities that, while being lower-impact, can help them to maintain their health for the years to come. They find the perfect activity in yoga.
Yoga’s a Natural Fit for Senior Health Priorities
As baby boomers age, they face issues such as reduced mobility, reduced range of motion, muscle weakness, and even balance problems. These issues can lead to falls, limited independence, and even depression.
Yoga provides a way to reduce the progression of these issues. It naturally increases flexibility and mobility, and since it keeps seniors active, they’re better able to enjoy the latter years of their lives. This activity is particularly important in battling, which can be worsened when seniors perform little to no weight-bearing activities. With the increased flexibility, muscle strength, and balance offered by yoga, seniors can actually reduce their risk of falling, potentially keeping themselves out of the hospital or long-term recovery centers.
But yoga offers additional benefits. According to studies, yoga can treat ailments such as joint pain, muscle pain, heart rhythm disorder, insomnia, high blood pressure, and more. Many seniors are affected by these issues, and likely find a low-impact option like yoga preferable to medications, surgeries, and other standard treatments.
Mental Benefits of Yoga for Baby Boomers
Baby boomers have another reason to try – and pursue – yoga. Yoga offers valuable mental benefits, and seniors can enjoy those benefits in a number of ways.
First, there’s the general meditative aspect of yoga. It offers seniors a chance to focus internally, getting a bit of a break from any concerns they’re currently experiencing in the outside world. Yoga offers valuable stress reduction and can even help seniors who are coping with grief.
Because yoga emphasizes self-awareness and breathing, baby boomers can learn how to take in more oxygen. This leads to clearer thinking and an improved mood.
Seniors who pursue yoga enjoy another valuable mental benefit: They experience a sense of control over their lives. Because yoga can help seniors to regain strength, improve their balance, and gain flexibility, they may start to feel agiler and more capable of physical activity. Seniors often struggle with feelings of losing control of their bodies and their lives, but yoga can help them to feel empowered again.
A Social Opportunity
It’s easy for seniors to become isolated as they age. Some seniors give up driving for safety issues, and mobility limitations mean that seniors may not see friends as often as they would like.
The yoga lifestyle offers an excellent social opportunity for seniors. Not only can seniors attend yoga sessions with friends, but the sessions themselves offer an opportunity for seniors to meet others. The very act of getting out of the house and attending a regular class can help to foster a sense of independence in seniors and provides valuable socialization which can help to battle senior depression.
An Accessible and Healthy Option
Joining clubs and gyms can be expensive, especially for boomers who are living on limited retirement funds. But yoga can be a low-cost option, making it an accessible choice for boomers who want to stay healthy and active. Yoga classes vary in cost, but boomers can also do yoga from home by purchasing yoga videos. Some assisted living centers and senior centers have begun to offer yoga, too.
And as far as start-up costs go, they’re minimal – a yoga mat and some comfortable, stretchy clothing is all you need.
Tips for Baby Boomers Interested in the Yoga Lifestyle
Are you a senior, or do you know a senior, who is interested in taking up yoga? That’s great! Before you head to your first yoga class, though, be sure to review these important tips for a safe and easy transition into yoga.
- Talk to your doctor – Before you start any new physical activity as a senior, it’s always important to have a discussion with your doctor. Your doctor can advise you if you’re healthy enough to safely take up an activity, like yoga. He or she can also give you advice for starting up and may specify some poses that you should avoid based on your health or medical conditions.
- Start with an introductory class – Look for an entry-level class that is designed for beginners, and talk with the instructor about any physical limitations or conditions you may have. You may even be able to find a specialized yoga course for seniors through your local senior center or recreation department.
- Take things slowly – Listen to your body and don’t attempt poses that are beyond what you’re comfortable doing right now. If you have balance issues or particular weaknesses, the instructor may offer alternative poses for you that are safer and will keep you more comfortable.
Yoga offers many benefits that make it an appealing option for baby boomers and seniors. With appropriate modifications, just about anyone can enjoy yoga and experience increased flexibility, improved muscle tone, and plenty of emotional gains from this low-impact activity.
You can read more from Lindsay by following her posts as a healthcare expert at MedicareFAQ.
Are you a baby boomer looking to get in on the trend, or do your parents need a bit of encouragement? A yoga retreat for seniors could be the perfect place to get started.