How to Increase Your Strength, Balance, and Flexibility Using Yoga

As people age, they tend to get more ‘tottering’ and less sure-footed. Yoga is one of the best ways for people of any age and fitness level to improve their strength, balance and flexibility.

Seniors have a lot of trouble find ways to exercise that really work and target their trouble spots. Yoga is ideal for seniors because it is a whole body workout. It has an aerobic component and a strength training component, making it the perfect workout that meets the U. S. Surgeon General’s recommendations that all adults get 150 minutes of physical activity per week, plus at least 2 session of strength training.

Strength
Yoga uses your body weight to transform your physique, building long, lean muscle. Depending on the poses you do, you can work on particular trouble spots as well, such as developing a rock-solid core or thinning your thighs.

Balance
More muscle means better balance. You will be working out both sides of your body, rather than just favoring one, developing equal strength so you will be less likely to slip, trip and fall.

Flexibility
Yoga is most noted for developing flexibility, but you don’t have to twist yourself into a pretzel to get great benefit from yoga. Any movement will burn calories and maintain range of motion even in older people. The many poses in yoga offer a full body workout that banishes stiffness.

For those with arthritis, increased flexibility improves the chances of reducing pain and maintaining mobility. Greater strength, balance and flexibility mean greater independence until well into your senior years.

How to get started with a yoga practice safely
To gain all of these health benefits, there are a few basics to remember:

Always warm up
Stretch and flex to get ready for yoga in the same way that you would prepare for any other form of exercise, in order to avoid injury.

Keep your muscles warm
Be sure your workout area is a comfortable temperature, not too hot or too cold. Cold will cause tense muscles, which can lead to stiffness, loss of flexibility, and even injury. Put on a track suit if you feel chilled.

Don’t force yourself into poses
Yoga is not a competitive sport (with the exception of Bikram). The only person you have to compare yourself to is you, as you try to become your best self, someone fitter and healthier able to do more poses more easily.

Cool down at the end
This will also prevent injury and lengthen the muscles that have been worked out.

 

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