It just happens. We age, and we become less active and mobile. We lose physical flexibility, balance, and the energy to perform any rigorous exercise. The result? Our bodies accumulate fat, we get “flabby” and lose muscle tone. And we don’t know what to do about all of that.
Lots of seniors begin walking to counter some of the effects of aging. This is a good start because it will help muscle tone, burn some calories, and aid with blood pressure control. Walking is also shown to improve mood and overall energy levels.
If you really want to regain a more youthful body, though, you want to think about chair yoga and pilates.
Just What is Chair Yoga?
Way back in 1982, a Yoga instructor came up with chair yoga for a student who had severe arthritis and couldn’t do all of the standard Yoga exercises. It involves doing exercises while sitting or holding onto the back of a chair while doing some of the standing ones.
Over time, chair Yoga was modified even more. Today it is a way for seniors to improve their fitness more effectively and in a shorter period of time than just walking.
Benefits of Chair Yoga
The obvious benefit is that you don’t have to go to a gym or get outside in nasty weather. All of this is done at home. But the physical benefits are the following:
Increase Flexibility and Balance
When you increase these, you are at far less risk for falls. Did you know that about 3 million seniors go to the hospital for fall-related injuries every year? If those falls involve broken bones, the recovery time can be long and arduous.
With improved flexibility and balance, you no longer fear household chores. You can easily bend over to pick things up, pick up a grandchild, put your clothes on without having to balance yourself against a wall, etc. Life becomes much more manageable.
Improve Muscle Tone
Muscle mass declines with age. When this mass declines, seniors lose strength in both their upper and lower bodies. As you improve your muscle tone, you just have more strength to lift and carry what you used to be able to do.
Improve Your Mood and Sense of Well-Being
Any type of exercise increases the brain’s production of endorphins, often called the “feel good” hormones. These improve your mood and make you more positive and optimistic about your life in general. And your social life will improve as a result. Suppose you are a single senior looking for dates or romantic connections. You might be inspired to join the Hily App, an online friendship and dating resource where you can chat and even set up dates with other seniors. Romance is not dead just because you are now a senior.
Improves Internal Chronic Conditions
Some studies have shown that regular chair Yoga showed improvement in blood sugar, heart rate, and blood pressure. This doesn’t mean that standard medical treatments should be abandoned, but long-term improvement in these areas may result in decreased dosage.
Can Reduce Chronic Pain
As we age, we develop some forms of chronic pain – neck, shoulders, hips, knees, etc. This happens in at least 20% of all seniors. There are some research studies showing that chair Yoga is a good alternative to other pain management treatments, and it also helps to reduce fatigue that comes from arthritis.
How Do You Get Started?
Check with your local Y or senior center. They may offer classes.
And if you are on Facebook, and advertisers know you are a senior citizen, you may have seen ads for chair Yoga. These will be in the form of instructions or videos you can download and begin your own regimen immediately.
It’s up to you – alone or in a group lesson that adds social connections. Even if you enroll in a class, you can always do additional exercises at home. The more you do, the faster you will reap the physical and mental rewards!