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Yoga and Meditation Provide Big Benefits to Seniors and Their Caregivers
Aging is challenging, even when you’re in good health. What’s more, for those providing care to seniors, daily life can be busy and stressful. Incorporating yoga and meditation can mean improved quality of life for seniors and their caregivers.
Benefits of Yoga
There is no doubt that exercise is good for you. According to some research, regular exercise can even help offset the effects of aging, improving brain function as well as body health. Certain forms of exercise can be particularly beneficial as we age. Because yoga includes mindfulness, it can be especially helpful to older adults. Yoga is also more accessible to aging bodies since many exercises can be performed in seated positions. Yoga offers the following benefits to seniors and their caregivers:
- Improved lung capacity and increased oxygen intake.
- More stable core, along with better overall balance and strength.
- Enhanced flexibility and mobility.
- Reduced swelling in joints.
- Some professionals feel yoga reduces the chance of falling.
- Lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
- Improves quality of sleep.
- Improves digestion and aids elimination.
- Promotes bone strength.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Stress and anxiety levels can be reduced.
- More feelings of well-being.
- Aids in the grieving process.
- Some experts believe yoga can reverse heart disease when combined with other lifestyle modifications.
Mindfulness is a part of yoga. The two are inherently entwined, as part of yoga is learning to focus on your body’s signals and becoming more in tune with yourself. For instance, as Yoga Journal explains, yoga can help you identify things you can and cannot control and then respond appropriately. Seniors and caregivers can participate in mindfulness-oriented techniques by meditating outside of their exercise routine.
Meditation offers a number of mental and physical health benefits as a stand-alone practice. Through meditation, you can reduce stress, improve concentration, increase self-awareness, feel happier, and even slow the aging process. People who meditate regularly are also shown to experience enhanced immune system function and cardiovascular health. You can better regulate emotional responses, feel less agitation, and feel more empowered. Meditation also provides the means to detach from triggers that lead to unhealthy behaviors and instead choose in wellness-oriented patterns and coping mechanisms.
Caregivers take on a tremendous burden, and participating in a yoga and meditation routine can be especially beneficial to them in restoring life balance. As Aging Care points out, it’s an opportunity for a “time-out” in a busy and stressful situation. It can be a vital part of your self-care routine, allowing you to tend your physical and mental wellness. Also, people who participate in yoga and meditation are more apt to participate in an overall healthy lifestyle, dropping bad habits and embracing healthy ones.
One of the great things about yoga is you can do it almost anywhere, including in the comfort of home. You can do chair yoga exercises, which helps improve balance, allows you to start slowly, and promotes confidence. In fact, there are many options when it comes to indoor exercises for seniors, and thanks to modern technology, there are numerous options for keeping your workout from becoming humdrum. You can download YouTube exercise videos, fitness apps, and play Wii games. You can even connect with a class when you’re getting started to ensure you do exercises properly. Also, note that yoga poses should never hurt, so if you feel pain, you should discontinue a pose immediately.
Benefits and Balance
Yoga and meditation can become key aspects in a healthy lifestyle for seniors and their caregivers. There are mental and physical benefits galore, and you can ease into a regimen that is comfortable and healthy. Engage in yoga and meditation to improve your quality of life!
Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.
Thank you Harry for your article! Gail Pickens-Barger, Beginners Yoga, Seniors Yoga, and YogaKiddos teacher.