Yoga and meditation have been highly valued for years as a way to reduce stress, promote mindfulness, and boost overall physical well-being in people of many ages and abilities. But recently, more and more seniors have begun to make their way to the practice. Not only can it be adapted for just about any need, but it’s also a low-impact way to maintain a healthy weight and get your muscles into shape to prevent accidents and injuries. When it comes to your long-term health needs, yoga is one of the best ways to stay active and facilitate aging in place after retirement.
The key with yoga is to take it slowly and to try different methods. For instance, you can do various poses in the water or with a chair if you have mobility issues, or you might join a class to ensure you’re doing it safely. This can also help you stay social, which in turn will prevent loneliness and depression. Look for a class near you and consider joining with a friend so you can both benefit.
Here are some things to think about when you’re ready to try yoga and meditation.
Consider the whole-body benefits
One of the great things about yoga and meditation is that they contribute to many different parts of your health, from your spine to your teeth. That’s right: de-stressing with meditation can help lower your risk of depression and other mood disorders, which are linked to gum disease and tooth decay. The more you take care of your mental health, the better off your mouth — and the rest of you! — will be.
Try taking it to the next level and set up a quiet space in your home to practice yoga and meditation. This can help provide motivation and enhance your mindfulness practice while boosting your overall health. Choose an area that’s comfortable and free of distractions, and consider lighting and temperature as well.
Unfortunately, Original Medicare doesn’t cover holistic medicine. However, for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, their coverage allows for a number of different wellness and fitness programs, as well as coverage for healthy food. Always check your insurance policy to see what services are provided so you can take full advantage of what you’re paying for.
The stretches associated with yoga are wonderful for building up muscles for strength and balance, which in turn can help prevent falls and other accidents. This is crucial for seniors since falls are a major cause of injury for older adults. Learn which poses are best for helping with stability, and if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own, use a chair or other sturdy piece of furniture to help you keep your balance.
Make new connections
Yoga can be done in the privacy of your own home, or it can be done in a group setting with a class. This means that no matter what your mood is on a given day, you can still practice poses and get active. When you choose to take a class, you’re giving yourself the option to make new connections with like-minded people, giving you the opportunity to create new friendships — a crucial part of keeping seniors vital and engaged.
Because yoga and meditation are entwined, they are often connected with the stress-relieving benefits of mindfulness, which can help an individual heal and move past traumas or cope with chronic pain. When you’re able to learn how to focus your mind to a single point and remove stressors, it will help you heal in any number of ways. When combined with journaling or art therapy, yoga and meditation can assist you in getting to a healthy place.
Yoga may seem overwhelming to someone who has never tried it, but keep in mind that there are many simple poses for beginners and that if you feel uncomfortable at any time, you can make changes to the way you practice. Talk to Dr. Holtfrerich at 913-383-1202, if you have any issues or if you’re unsure about where to begin.