|Yoga benefits aging parents, other seniors
It's September – time to find your center, listen to your breath and set your intention as you celebrate National Yoga Month.
Are those terms familiar, or do they sound a bit strange? They're terms commonly used in yoga, and if they're new to you, don't let that put you off from considering the yoga experience. Yoga is a great form of exercise, especially for many aging parents and other seniors.
Why is yoga good for aging parents?
Aging parents, spouses and other seniors may find that getting enough exercise is challenging. Because of the gentle nature of yoga, it can be an especially good fit for those of us who are not very active in other forms of exercise. Yoga can be modified for all levels from beginner to advanced.
In addition, yoga involves three areas of exercise that are especially important for seniors: low impact cardiovascular work, resistance training and stretching. Since yoga also concentrates on proper body alignment, it’s ideal for people who may have some physical limitations.
Yoga can also benefit those of us working on balance. Most all movement in yoga centers on your core strength. The thought behind this is, if your muscles are strong and flexible you can move better as a whole, and if your muscles are strong you are not relying on your skeptical system so much to support your body.
People who have not maintained regular exercise routines are good candidates for yoga classes. A sedentary lifestyle encourages problems such as low back pain, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation, reduced joint flexibility, stress, arthritis and increased body fat. Regular yoga participation lessens these problems.
One caveat: people with advanced cases of dementia may not be ideally suited for yoga. Every person is different, of course, so if your aging parents have dementia, consult with both a doctor and a yoga instructor before enrolling them in a yoga program.
The Rohnert Park Senior Center hosts an exercise class Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:45 a.m.-noon, where the focus is low impact, flexibly, strength and balance.
This is a great place to maybe try out this type of movement class for older adults in our community.
Aging parents and others considering yoga should remember that the goal is to provide an enjoyable and effective form of physical activity. One thing you don't want to do is worry about results: your goal is not to be able to bend yourself into a pretzel, but to extend yourself to a degree that is appropriate and comfortable for you.
Julie Ann Anderson is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park; mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors and caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.