As we get older, staying flexible and keeping our bones and joints healthy, and maintaining our balance isn''t just a challenge, it''s a necessity. Anyone over Fifty knows that their body has many more aches and pains than it used to. One fitness program which addresses all of these is yoga.
You''re never too old to take up yoga. I was 58 before I took my first yoga class, although I''d practiced at home off and on for years with cd''s. Each time I practice yoga, I discover something new I could do that I hadn''t been able to do the week before. I have to say that doing yoga makes me feel younger and less like a senior than any other exercise.
- Better balance - Our minds actually forget how to balance us over time. If you start to fall or you trip, your brain often doesn''t remember how to catch you unless you consciously work at balancing exercises. A big benefit of yoga is that your balance improves tremendously, helping you avoid falls and broken bones later in life.
- Flexibility improves - Over time, you can actually touch your toes again! Did you know that being able to touch your toes (or not) is a measure of how flexible your arteries are as well as your muscles?
- Joint pain diminishes - If you have pain from arthritis or osteoarthritis, yoga creates flexibility in the joints without harming or injuring them. It doesn''t take long for joints to feel less painful after doing yoga.
- Strengthens bones - Osteoporosis, or thinning of them bones, leads to fractures as we get older. Yoga provides strength training to your bones by using your own body as resistance so there is no chance of overdoing it, as you might when lifting weights.
- Yoga is relaxing and reduces stress - You not only feel better physically after a yoga workout, you feel better mentally. Most yoga classes or programs also include relaxation meditations which reduce stress. This in turn, helps you sleep better and you can take these relaxation methods with you into your day.
- Yoga improves breathing conditions such as chronic asthma, emphysema and COPD. Deep breathing is an integral part of doing yoga and over time, this strengthens your lungs. I have chronic bronchitis and do yoga breathing exercises daily for my lungs.
If you''d like to try yoga, it''s pretty easy to find a class aimed at those over 50 at your local senior center or YMCA. Even if you have health issues, there are usually classes which will accommodate that. In my yoga class at the Y, there are 70 and 80 year olds there who give the 30-somethings a run for their money.
You can also do a yoga workout in the privacy of your own home. I recently purchased Beach Body''s Yoga Booty Ballet The Yoga Booty Ballet series also has a nice meditation CD if you''d like to practice meditation and need some guidance.
In other words, if you haven''t tried yoga, there are many benefits to a yoga program for those over fifty. Yoga is a great way to get in shape if you''d like to build up to other work out programs as well.