Anti Aging Benefits of Yoga

Assuming the Pose for Youth and Longevity

For centuries, people truly in tune with their mind/body connection have recognized the amazing health benefits of yoga.

Not only does it keep you physically healthy, it also helps you minimize stress and avoid internal disease by helping you stay mentally balanced.

As you probably already know, there are some age-related concerns that you need to consider any time that you start a new exercise program.

Throughout this two-part series, we’re going to discuss the amazing health benefits of yoga, then talk about some things that you need to consider to perform the poses safely.

Now, let’s talk about some of the health issues that yoga naturally helps you deal with or even avoid altogether.

Obesity

We’re starting here because obesity is one of the leading factors related to many age-related conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga for at least a half an hour per week gained about half of the “middle-age 10” that non-practicing peers did.

Depression

Because of the dual physical and mental approach to life that yoga teaches, you’re getting a double dose of natural antidepressants. The physical exercise temporarily increases your “happy chemicals” and improves blood flow throughout your body, including your brain.

The meditation clears your mind and boosts your “happy chemicals” for the long-term. Also, once you learn how to breathe and control your thoughts, negative ideas are easier to push away and replace with positive ones.

Stress

In much the same way that yoga helps you with depression, it also helps you reduce stress. Many diseases are linked via Western medical research to emotional stress and Eastern philosophies attribute many more dysfunctions to it. There’s no doubt that stress is horrible for both your body and your mind.

If you ask just about any doctor what the best way to relieve stress is, you’re going to hear “exercise”. The physical demands combined with the relaxation techniques and breathing exercises that are also integral components of yoga work together to reduce stress levels much better than either traditional exercise or meditation alone will do. You get the best of both worlds.

High Blood Pressure

Research at Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Mumbai, along with numerous other studies, shows that people who participate in yoga regularly exhibit a significant decrease in high blood pressure. No doubt, decreasing your weight, increasing your physical exercise, and dealing better with emotional stress all play a huge role in this “side effect”.

Chronic Pain Caused by Weak Muscles

In addition to building lean muscle mass, yoga stretches muscles and gently works joints as well. This combination helps reduce or eliminate chronic pain, especially in your lower back. You work your spine and strengthen the muscles that support your posture, which is a frequent cause of back pain.

Hand strength also improves when you do yoga. Studies have shown increased mobility and strength in not only healthy hands but also in the hands of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis after consistently doing yoga. These studies are being expanded upon to determine exactly what the effects of yoga on arthritis are. The results are promising.

Improved Sleep

One of the biggest problems that many of us develop as we get older is the ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or sleep well. The typical Western approach is to prescribe a sleep aid. Unfortunately, these have side effects such as day-after drowsiness and headache that simply aren’t worth the few hours’ rest that comes with it.

Enter yoga. The muscle stretching and workout that you get from just a half-hour yoga session is enough to help you rest better. Studies that followed adults that complained of poor sleep show that those who practice yoga regularly sleep better and longer than those who simply rely on sleep medications. Get out there and move it if you really want to get a good night’s rest.

Improved Balance

Another problem that plagues many of us as we get older is a decline in our balance which can lead to falls. Though there really isn’t one reason for this, one of the main causes is a simple lack of regular exercise to keep your balance sharp. Just like everything else, if you don’t regularly move your body in a variety of different ways, you lose muscle memory and the ability to maintain those positions.

Yoga helps with this by getting you moving and placing your body in positions that you don’t normally assume. In other words, it keeps your muscles working and used to being in different positions other than just sitting!

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the major health benefits of yoga, let’s move on and discuss some steps that you can take to begin a routine safely. Once you get going, you may find that your routine progresses beyond these steps but until you regain some of what you’ve lost, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Click here to move to part 2 of this series, Yoga Tips and Poses for Seniors.

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