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Why Seniors Should Pick Up Yoga During Retirement

We’ve all heard of yoga’s popularity among younger people, but is it really beneficial for seniors as well? The answer is a resounding yes. The benefits of yoga for seniors range from improving your flexibility to decreasing your risks of falling to calming your mind. It’s an effective and truly enjoyable balance exercise for seniors. Let’s take a close look at yoga for seniors and examine how it’s an ideal exercise for everyone, regardless of age.

Yoga is perfect for building a healthy routine.

Practicing yoga on a regular, consistent schedule is crucial for optimizing the benefits of yoga. In general, having a daily routine including a fitness activity of some kind is actually among the best things you can do to promote your independence and longevity, both physically and mentally. And regardless of capabilities, yoga is an ideal exercise to work into your day-to-day routine. Yoga promotes mindfulness and eases anxiety, and offers a variety of other health benefits that help maximize your independence:

  • Improve bone density
  • Combat osteoporosis Increase blood circulation
  • Improve balance, promoting fall prevention
  • Maintain muscle strength
  • Reduce stress
  • Provide opportunities to socialize
  • Can help with pain management
A senior man meditates in nature by a river and a mountain

Yoga is for everyone.

No matter your age, ability, health history or goals, yoga can be beneficial to you. Yoga doesn’t require any specialized equipment and can be done practically anywhere, anytime. When starting yoga, it’s important to first understand your body’s needs and limitations. If you have arthritis, limited mobility, or other health issues, there’s a modification for almost every yoga pose to accommodate your physical needs. You can always customize yoga exercises to your comfort with gentle yoga exercises. The number one most important thing when practicing yoga for seniors is safety. None of the movements and poses should cause discomfort at any time, and everyone’s maximum stretching point is different. Do your best to be aware of your body, move slowly and stay well within your range of motion – remember that even if your movement is limited or you have to skip some poses, you’ll still benefit from the exercise. It’s a great idea for any beginner yogi to attend senior yoga classes or online video classes. Many find guidance and group exercise makes the process more enjoyable. With practice and consistency, yoga, like everything else, becomes easier with time.

A group of seniors take a chair yoga class

Chair yoga for seniors.

Those with health conditions or physical requirements may find regular standing yoga to be a bit difficult. And that’s fine, because altered exercises like chair yoga for seniors can be just as beneficial as regular standing yoga. Benefits of chair yoga, like standard yoga, include:

  • Proprioception – the skill of knowing where your body is in space, and coordinating your movements accurately
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved flexibility
  • Maintenance of muscle strength and bone density
  • Reduction of chronic pain
A group of seniors take a chair yoga class

Try these at-home chair yoga exercises:

Forward Bend Pose

  • Start in a regular seated position.
  • Bend your torso forward while keeping your core tight to bring your chest down as close to your knees as you can.
  • As you bend your torso forward, stretch your arms to the floor until your hands touch your feet.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds, then slowly rise up to the original seated position.

Extended Side Angle Pose

  • As with the forward bend pose, start in a regular seated position and slowly bring your chest to your knees.
  • Reach your left arm upward toward the ceiling as you bring your right arm downward toward your feet.
  • As your arms stretch in opposite directions, twist your torso to maximize your reach.
  • Repeat with your right arm reaching upward and your left hand toward your feet.

Star Pose

  • Start in a regular seated position.
  • At your own pace, stretch your legs straight outward as far as you can.
  • As your legs move outward, reach both arms toward the ceiling – your whole body should resemble a starfish.
  • Hold position for 30 seconds, then slowly bring your arms and legs back to a regular seated position.
A trainer cheers on a senior man doing push ups in the gym

At The Ridge Pinehurst, we give you every opportunity possible to focus on whole-body wellness – from weekly fitness classes to our brand-new Club Ridge fitness center and spa to our prime location in Lakewood, Colorado. If you’re looking for other ways to boost your health and center your mind, check out the 10 best hiking trails near Denver for seniors.