When you think of yoga, you probably imagine having to stretch like a gymnast. Maybe you’re worried that you’re too old, unfit, or stiff to do yoga. But, the truth is, you’re never too old to improve your flexibility.
Although I am young(ish) I have a medical condition who’s symptoms parallel a lot of what older people go through. I get stiff in the mornings, I have pain in my joints, poor balance and I tend to forget some things… ok, a lot of things. Nana Ellie and I often commiserate over our individual issues. But, I’ve decided to do something about it.
I started a new exercise regime last week. No, I’m not jogging 17 miles every day. I don’t own a treadmill or an exercise bike. All I have is a soft mat and a nearby chair for potential toppling. I’ve started doing yoga… and I like it!
When I first started considering yoga I was afraid that I’d have to bend into a pretzel and sit on my head. That’s not going to happen, I’m not 16 anymore! I found that there are a few positions that look like they’ve been borrowed from the Kama Sutra, but most of them are really easy. When I started reading about them I thought they were a joke. That’s not going to do anything!
What I found out is that yoga is not an aerobic exercise. It doesn’t radically raise your heart rate… although I have broken a sweat. It’s all about core strength and balance. Take one of my favorite positions as an example. The “Half Moon Pose”. You slowly raise your arms over your head putting your palms together. Then bend your body to the side while facing forward. It sort of looks like what people do when they first wake up in the morning. Let me tell you, when my back is stiff and my hips hurt this pose feels REALLY good!
I also found out that yoga is often recommended to senior citizens as a no impact, easy to do activity. I’m not shocked. Stretching, breathing and moving your body in a slow, deliberate way increases blood flow all over your body, brain included (hooray to better memory). Most people don’t take full, deep breaths on a regular basis. Expanding your lungs and concentrating while you breathe is a really simple way to boost your energy and just make you feel good.
I actually went out and bought a Nintendo Wii with a “game” called Wii Fit Plus. It has a great, completely customizable, exercise program that includes a lot of yoga. It shows you exactly how to do the poses, tracks your motion (to make sure that you’re doing it correctly) and even keeps track of your weight and balance. I’ve added a lot of my favorite poses into a saved program and I occasionally stick in one of the more difficult ones (deleting it again if it’s too hard).
You can even chose between a male and female instructor, in case you are uncomfortable looking silly in front of someone you might date. What I like best is that I can do this at home, whenever I want… and I don’t have to do it in a room full of strangers who are staring at my lumpy sweat suit.
I am excited to report that my balance has already improved and even with the change in weather my joints don’t feel that bad! Next week when I see Nana I am bringing the game with me. I’ve already told her to dust off her keds, we’re doing yoga!
Check with your local Senior Center to find out what days their yoga classes are held.
- Fitness Focus: Increase Balance, mental focus, and improve posture with Wii Fit Plus (luv2savemo.wordpress.com)
- Yoga – At Home and Classes – a Balancing Act (joyofspa.com)
We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or if you know of a senior that could benefit from our vast array of home care services in Houston, please call us at 832 379-4700 or email us. We accept most long term care insurance as payment and have a full time staff supervising more than 100 quality-trained home care personnel covering the Houston, Texas area.