Hope your having a good day,
Recently a gentleman named Harry Cline, author of The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers, reached out to us asking write an article for the MGG Pilates and Fitness website that could appeal to seniors – AND their caregivers – on how to get started in yoga and meditation and the benefits of doing so.
The following blog post was written by him and I can personally guarantee you that it is full of beneficial tips for those of you that are in your senior years, are nearing them or know of somebody of an older age.
Be sure to check out his informative book – The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers – which offers tips and how-tos to help guide you through the health management tasks caregivers are most commonly responsible for performing.
You can also visit his website for further information about his professional background as well as the book – http://newcaregiver.org
Seniors can benefit from an exercise program that is low-impact enjoyable and targeted toward overall well-being. In addition, their caregivers also can enrich their lives and increase the effectiveness of their care by becoming involved in wellness-focused activities.
For both seniors and their caregivers, yoga provides a perfect blend of activity and mental serenity that helps power overall health. Here are some tips to incorporate yoga in anyone’s life,regardless of age, and how the practice can enrich lives.
Senior physical and mental stress
Older adults have particular physical and mental concerns. As we age, our bodies become frail, with joints becoming fragile and muscles beginning to wither. Bone health is also a concern as we enter our senior years. This combination can make exercise difficult for seniors. Mentally, seniors are susceptible to depression and isolation. Some older adults find their social circles shrink, and their lower activity levels can make life seem less fun than when they were younger. Seniors are not alone in their concerns, as their needs can be mirrored by the people that provide their care.
Not all seniors require constant care, but an increasing amount of family members are becoming involved in the care of a senior loved one. Even at low levels of involvement — such as remote monitoring of an aging-in-place senior, or an adult who sees their senior parent for a few hours everyday — caregiving can be overwhelming. A growing amount of family members, however, are involved in providing daily care for senior loved ones, and it can difficult and extremely overwhelming. If a caregiver neglects their own care, their mental and physical health can be at risk.
Physical benefits of yoga
Yoga can be the missing puzzle piece to provide healthy lifestyle changes for both seniors and their caregivers. Yoga is a workout, but its focus is less on the specific moves. People don’t usually count the calories they burn during a yoga session probably because a basic yoga class does not provide a high-intensity workout, but also because yoga isn’t about the gains of a single class. Yoga is a practice. It is a positive activity that spreads out into other areas of one’s life.
Yoga provides physical health benefits such as muscle strength, flexibility and balance, but, more importantly, it is a low-impact and enjoyable activity. Almost anyone can participate in yoga. Even those with mobility issues can benefit from chair-based yoga poses, and most yogis – yoga teachers – are fine with participants just lying on their mats if they cannot perform a pose. The low-impact nature of yoga makes it more sustainable as an activity. Yoga students are less vulnerable to burnout, because yoga feels good. It’s a social activity, and although it is an exercise on its own, it also supports other exercise routines. Those who do yoga find that they have better workouts.
Mindfulness from yoga and meditation
The benefits of yoga extend far beyond physical health. Yoga can help seniors and their caregivers relax and find mental peace. Depression and anxiety have been shown to be greatly reduced in those who practice yoga. It makes sense – yoga requires you to slow down and take inventory of your life. This mindfulness is well-settled as a method of battling depression and other mental health concerns. If you discover that meditation works for you, consider setting up a space in your home dedicated to the practice. You don’t need an entire room, either; all you need is a relaxing environment and some peace and quiet.
Yoga’s meditative qualities also help those who are in addiction recovery. For many people in recovery, having a good relationship with the physical self is just as important as the spiritual one, and yoga helps combine both of these life aspects. Since caregivers are at an increased risk of substance use disorders, yoga has an added benefit of steering people to positivity. Yoga provides physical and mental benefits for seniors and their caregivers, so much so that yoga in itself is considered a component and senior self-care.