Web MD recently carried an article about the particular benefits of seniors practicing yoga – it was seen that seniors who had suffered a stroke could specifically benefit from the practice of yoga, by helping rebuild body balance and also prevent falls in the future.
The results of the study conducted by researchers at the occupational therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, were significant in that there was a 34% improvement in balance noted as a result of practicing yoga.
What the researchers also found interesting was the fact that the men also seemed to enjoy it.
Many of the study participants chose to carry on with their yoga even after the conclusion of the study.
The risk of falls and bone fracture rises with age, and can be significantly higher after a stroke due to improvement in balance.
Seniors can start by performing asanas while sitting on a chair and then progress to doing them off the floor as they become more able and limber.
So it can be said that yoga can alleviate at least some of the debilities that come with age by improving body balance and stability. Additionally yoga can have the following benefits for seniors as well –
- The improvement in the range of motion and hence limited mobility that can result from regular yoga practice is very significant for seniors, since seniors typically have their choice of activities curtailed by this.
- Chronic pain and conditions such as arthritis of the joints and muscles may find significant improvement with practice of yoga since mobility and range of limb motion can improve. A study conducted at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center found that senior participants needed fewer pain medications after starting yoga.
- High blood pressure can also be lowered with yoga particularly because of the relaxation techniques and breathing exercises that are incorporated into yoga.
- There are also psychological benefits that can come from going to any class or joining in a group activity such as a yoga class. Such enhanced social interaction can be very beneficial for seniors since it has been seen that seniors who have a rich social life and close relationships live longer and better quality lives.
- Sleep can be something else that suffers in the senior years and practitioners of yoga by seniors find that they get better and more restful sleep as a result of yoga.
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