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5 Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

In the last decade, the northern Indian practice of yoga has exploded in the US, with about 36 million Americans practicing regularly. While yogis of all ages can reap the benefits of yoga, it is especially good for seniors, who often struggle with mobility and balance. Here are five reasons adults over 50 should consider adding yoga to their exercise routine:

 

Improved balance and flexibility
There’s no question that practicing yoga is good for your body. Many poses strengthen abdominal muscles and therefore improve core stability, which in turn can prevent falls. Other poses promote flexibility through stretching, which can increase range of motion and reduce pain.

 

Reduced anxiety

Yoga is as much for the mind as it is for the body, and the breathing control and meditative components of the practice have been shown to lower stress levels and even ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.

 

Improved stamina and strength

Yoga is rooted in the spiritual, but depending on the type of yoga you practice, it can be a great workout. While Yin Yoga and Hatha Yoga are gentler, slower practices, once you get into Vinyasa and Bikram, you can really work up a sweat.

 

Increased social interaction

For seniors looking to expand their social circle, there is no better way to do it than by attending a workout or yoga class. Students bond over the shared experience of a class, and many attend the same class every day or every week. Once you start practicing yoga regularly, chances are you’ll begin to see some familiar faces.

 

Yoga is for every body

One of the best parts about yoga is that almost all the poses have modifications, making the practice accessible to yogis of all body types and abilities. Can’t get your foot above your knee in tree pose? No problem—hold it at your ankle. Is it hard for you to get down onto all fours? Try chair yoga instead.