Do you remember when you were in your twenties, and you could do everything you wanted without having to dread the potential back and joint pain?
Depending on your lifestyle, the carefree time of being young could be long behind you as soon as you reach your thirties. Year after year, the discomfort grows more. One day, the pain can pose serious physical limitations. And not to mention the stress and anxiety that can pile up as we push through life’s challenges.
What to do then?
Well, you can visit your doctor. You can take painkillers and mood enhancers. But for a more lasting solution, you will need to work on your lifestyle and physical fitness. One of the absolute best ways to do this is by practicing and reaping the benefits of yoga and meditation.
That being said, here are some life-changing benefits of taking on yoga and meditation in your mature years.
Better joint health and flexibility
According to a study published in the Journal of Aging Research, loss of flexibility comes naturally with age. However, the study also points out that the rate of decline in flexibility varies depending on an individual’s level of engagement in physical activity.
Of course, if you haven’t been active for some time and if you already have joint problems, it would be unwise to engage in strenuous exercise. Yoga, on the other hand, is a gentle exercise that simultaneously provides therapeutic benefits for painful joints and improves flexibility. Furthermore, yoga is believed to aid in osteoarthritis treatment. There are various routines that can help soothe all kinds of conditions, such as this simple yoga exercise for knee arthrosis.
All of us face different kinds of stress in different stages of our lives. Seniors need to cope with a lot of challenges, being that their way of life may undergo significant changes, their health is often endangered, and they often feel isolated. The effects of a prolonged sense of stress can be more serious in older adults, and they include a weakened immune system, heart problems, vision deterioration, and digestive issues.
Meditation is marked as one of the key ways of managing stress in seniors. It requires no physical effort, while being very effective in slowing down the heart rate and calming the mind.
Yoga poses largely rely on stability and balance, both traits that we frequently find lacking in years. The very pursuit of them strengthens major muscle groups, especially the ones close to the core, which play a key role in maintaining balance. This makes yoga the perfect choice for preventing potential falls and injuries that typically come with the loss of stability.
Lowered blood pressure
Many seniors have problems with high blood pressure.
The dangers of hypertension are many: it can damage the arteries and the heart, causing an aneurysm, enlarged left heart, coronary artery disease, and even heart failure.
A study performed by Swedish scientists showed that practicing yoga can have many benefits in addition to therapy for high blood pressure. This is the result of incorporating the techniques that calm both the body and mind.
And to make things easier, there is no need to go to yoga classes and devote to yoga professionally in order to reap these life-saving benefits. Simple, at-home exercises can also help. Deep breathing and meditation also help relieve anxiety and lower blood pressure.
One of the most frequent side-effects of growing old comes in the form of deteriorated memory. Several researchers confirmed that meditation has a positive effect on cognitive functions in the period of aging. This includes memory, verbal fluency, cognitive flexibility, and attention. Even a few minutes of meditation each day can boost creativity, improve focus, and increase alertness.
Like many other body functions, the digestive system slows down as you age, becoming weaker and less effective. As a result, you may experience stomach aches, gas, gastroesophageal reflux disease, constipation, and hemorrhoids.
Benefits of Yoga and meditation are improved blood flow and blood oxygen levels, plus they relax the nervous system, thus helping the digestive tract work optimally.
The road to mindfulness
Both yoga and meditation put most of their attention on deep breathing and truly listening to your body. The introspection comes naturally with the added benefit of expanded awareness of your true self and your needs.
As you meditate and practice yoga, you become more aware not only of your body but also of your emotions and thoughts. This makes you more connected to the world around you and mindful of your environment and community.
All in all, the benefits of yoga and meditation are manifold and they make fantastic companions for seniors because they allow you to be fit, flexible, and balanced, both in a physical and emotional sense. They require nothing more than a bit of your time, willingness, and dedication to maintain a consistent routine. And as a result, they do wonders for your physical and mental health, all the while respecting the limitations of your age and body.