September is recognized as Healthy Aging Month, and what better way to send off the warm summer months and welcome in the crisp Autumn air than with an outdoor fitness activity designed to promote balance and nature?
What activity could we be talking about? Outdoor yoga, of course!
If you were to ask Healthy Aging® Magazine’s editor-in-chief Carolyn Worthington, she would tell you that it’s never too late to find a new hobby, sport, or passion. So why not try your hand at one with proven physical and mental health benefits like outdoor yoga?
Benefits of Yoga
While a welcoming activity for individuals of any age, yoga boasts several important benefits seniors of any ability can appreciate. Whether you are looking for a new activity to help you stay active or a forgiving exercise routine to help you ease back into regular activity, yoga may be a great option.
Here are some of the most well-known benefits of yoga for seniors that may pique your interest.
Prevent Osteoporosis and Enhance Overall Flexibility, Balance, Strength, and Mobility
It’s true! Many yoga moves encourage muscle and bone strength. This not only helps prevent a decline in bone density that inevitably can lead to osteoporosis, but it can also enhance flexibility, balance, strength, posture, and mobility, not to mention combat the achy effects of arthritis.
Another major benefit of yoga for seniors is that with better balance, the risk of falling is reduced. Of course, if you or a loved one is a fall risk, it may be a good idea to support them with Folding Exercise Mats that can break their fall if they roll or trip getting out of bed.
Reduce Stress & Risk for Depression
Thanks to its gentle nature, yoga is one of the best stress-reducing exercise activities you can do. In fact, yoga is known to relieve hypertension-related stress factors. Aside from lowering blood pressure, yoga can help reduce anxiety, lower heart rate, and help participants breathe more easily. While yoga brings on a calming effect, it also delivers mood-boosting benefits strong enough to potentially help curb depression. This reduced risk for depression during yoga is attributed to several factors, like the combination of movements and breathing, combined with the social engagement offered by a class environment.
Reduce Aches & Pains
When it comes to aging, “move it or lose it” is an accurate sentiment. Yoga is a great way to keep your muscles engaged in daily activity without fear of severe injury or inability to participate. If you suffer from arthritis or osteoarthritis, yoga may be a great option to help alleviate your pain.
Improve Your Sleeping Habits
It’s no secret that as you age, getting a good night’s rest becomes more difficult. However, with a regular yoga routine to help reduce stress and calm your mind, you may just experience improved sleeping habits.
Okay, so maybe you’ve got a few pounds you could afford to lose. Yoga can help! With regular exercise and a healthy diet, don’t be surprised when your clothes start to feel looser, or your step starts to feel lighter.
Added Benefits of Practicing Yoga Outdoors
Now that we know how incredible yoga can be for our minds and bodies, let’s talk about how practicing yoga in an outdoor setting can enhance your experience.
Replenish Your Energy
A study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health reported that when people spend time outside, they experience increased feelings of vigor and vitality. Combined with calming movements and friends, this makes outdoor yoga the total package for a fun-filled fitness regimen you can fall in love with.
Increase Awareness of Your Surroundings
Sight, smell, touch. These are all senses that can be heightened during your outdoor yogi training, thanks to basic human survival instincts and all of that fresh air.
In fact, outdoor activity releases endorphins, meaning you will be extra happy, calm, and relaxed when you double up your yoga exercises in an outdoor setting and even increase the chance of finding a more meditative state.
All of these combined factors can certainly help boost your confidence in yourself and your surroundings, making it easier to get out there and stay active with a gentle exercise routine you can enjoy anywhere, anytime, with anyone.
Regardless of what you’ve failed to do for your health in the past, there is always a new day to seize. If you want to take back your health, yoga may just be the perfect first step on your journey towards a happier, healthier you. So, what are you waiting for, future-yogi master? Grab a Yoga Mat, maybe some supporting blocks, a bottle of water and start your journey to becoming a Yogi today.
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