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The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Seniors and Caregivers

By: Jackie Waters

The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Seniors and Caregivers

Yoga and meditation are great for people of all ages, including senior citizens and their caregivers. In fact, there are a variety of techniques that can be especially helpful to seniors, whether they are a beginner or an expert. Courtesy of Healthways Medical Group, here are some specific ways that yoga and meditation can benefit senior citizens and their caregivers.

Strengthens Bones

For those with osteoporosis or with low bone density, yoga can help strengthen bones through the following ways:

  • Helps to slow bone thinning
  • Reduces the overall risk of osteoporosis (especially with postmenopausal women)
  • Helps to stall or reverse symptoms of bone weakening
  • Prevents fractures through improved posture and agility

There is a variety of beginner, moderate and advanced techniques to strengthen bones through yoga, including:

  • Tree pose
  • Extended triangle pose
  • Warrior pose
  • Extended side angle pose
  • Locust pose
  • Bridge pose

Strengthened bones also equate to improved flexibility and posture, which may prevent damage if a fall or accident occurs.

Improves Memory

Memory and neurocognitive functions slowly decrease as we get older, but there are ways to stall these types of symptoms or effects through meditation. Here are some other ways that meditation can help improve memory:

  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels
    Increases cerebral blood flow
  • Improves the thickness of gray matter in the brain
    • Gray matter stores neurocognitive functions
  • Stimulates regions of the brain that associate with memory
    • Multiplies information storage mechanisms within the hippocampus and frontal brain lobe
  • Teaches focus
    • Meditation involves being present, attentive and focused in the moment
    • Aids in recalling details and important information
  • Relief from stiffness caused by immobility
    • Yoga Stretches are important as many seniors are spending longer hours in front of computer screens.

Aids in Digestion

Smooth digestion may become problematic for senior citizens as they age. Fortunately, certain yoga poses help with improving digestion and boost your gut health, which can result in a host of issues if things get out of balance. Below, The Art of Living notes some of the ways yoga specifically aids in digestion:

  • Stretches the stomach and intestines, which may help with constipation
  • Massages abdominal-related organs
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Regulates gastrointestinal issues

There are various poses that help with digestion, including:

  • Triangle pose
  • Camel pose
  • Forward-bending pose

Helps Senior Patients Struggling with Depression or Addiction Recovery

For many people struggling with addiction or depression, having a good relationship with the physical self is just as important as the spiritual one. This relationship has been studied through Eastern practices of yoga and meditation, which has helped to provide the following benefits for patients of all ages:

  • Self-acceptance
  • Focus and how to live in the moment
  • Cognitive-related therapy through meditation
  • Somatic-related therapy through yoga
  • Stress relief
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Increased self-confidence

Yoga’s benefits include emotional healing if you’re suffering from depression which Delta Dental notes can cause problems with oral health, nutrition, and overall quality of life. If you’re having a dental or nutritional issue, make sure you find a dentist or doctor to treat it immediately.

How to Get Started in Yoga and Meditation

You can easily get most of the exercise you need at home and indoors.There is no need to let inclement weather keep you from staying active. Learning the basics of yoga and meditation is easy thanks to a variety of online resources, health centers and fitness classes. Meditation can also be done at home or in a quiet setting, and can also be a way to relax and focus your mind through calming music or the soothing sounds of nature. If you’re going to start a home yoga and meditation practice, you’ll want to clear your home (and mind) of any clutter, as clutter can be distracting and cause anxiety and other negative emotions.

The benefits of yoga and meditation are paramount to not only the health aspect of life, but also to the mental wellness aspect. Over time, health and cognitive-related functions begin to deteriorate, and it’s important to incorporate a variety of mind and body exercises to help increase the longevity of these types of functions. Consider adding yoga and meditation to your daily routine or the routine of a senior loved one for a healthier and happier life.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Categories: Chun Chiropractic Blog

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