As seniors get older, their options for exercise become more and more limited. This is unfortunate, because if there was ever a time for them to make proactive attempts to get fit, it is in their senior years. After all, there are a host of ailments and diseases that come about because of inactivity or are at least made much worse by it. But how can a senior avoid the aches, pains, and general abuse that comes with impact sports and exercise? Here is one idea: Yoga.

Yoga for seniors is becoming a popular activity in elderly care, mostly because it can be an extremely beneficial exercise. The physical effects of yoga are well documented: the exercise helps individuals achieve greater flexibility, lubricate joints and tendons, improves respiratory health, and tone muscles. Likewise, the psychological effects are tremendous as well: yoga fosters a sense of calm wellbeing. People just tend to feel better after practicing yoga.

Seeing this, it’s obvious why seniors would want to join yoga classes. A typical senior gets weaker and tighter as they sit for long hours. This can result in muscle shortening. They can also develop osteoporosis, and their balance gets worse. This leads not only to greater deterioration of their bones and muscles, but it can lead to accidents as well. Yoga can help to counteract all of these problems. It can help to stretch a senior’s muscles, preventing that tightness and shortening. It can help maintain healthy bones, and best of all, it can help seniors maintain a sense of balance.

Granted, yoga is not a complete exercise program. It is not a cardio workout that can take the place of jogging. But it can be an extremely valuable addition to a senior’s exercise program.

Thankfully, assisted living programmes and Oxford care homes are starting to offer yoga programs all around Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties. Many yoga studios offer special classes especially for seniors. These classes may be called “gentle yoga,” or something similar. But don’t be dissuaded. These classes can still be immensely helpful for seniors who not only want to feel better about their body but who want to feel better about their life.

By Skyler West

Piper Skyler West: Piper, a sports medicine expert, shares advice on injury prevention, athletic performance, and sports health tips.