Most people think of yoga as simply a method to chill out and de-stress, and while it is really wonderful for that purpose, there are actually a lot more benefits of yoga.
In fact, there are some truly life-changing benefits of yoga for people over the age of 50 in particular.
That’s because many of the ailments and complaints that are common among fifty-something can be remedied or at least managed with regular yoga practice.
Keep reading to find out a few of the top benefits of practicing yoga in your fifties.
Yoga can improve sleep
Whether from regular daily stress and busy-ness, the side effects of peri-menopause or other health conditions, falling asleep and sleeping soundly can become more challenging after a certain age.
Practicing restorative yoga though is a great way to wind down and get for some good quality ZZZs.
Poses like forward fold or seated forward fold force you to slow down and focus inward which helps lower your heart rate and soothe your mind so that you can be ready to rest at the end of the day.
Restorative forward fold with bolster and blanket
Yoga can help improve blood pressure
Studies have shown thatthree facets of yoga in particular — poses, meditation and breathing — can lead to significant reductions in blood pressure.
This is mostly attributed to the focus on pranayama, controlled and intentional breathing in yoga, which can decrease nervous system activity, thus improving blood pressure.
Yoga can help improve your balance
A lot of yoga poses focus on slowly building strength over time via a series of controlled movements that build on each other, including many core and balance postures.
For example when learning tree pose, you may start with just one toe on the ground and work over time until you can bring the entire sole of your foot flush with the upper, inner thigh of your opposite leg without any external support.
Practicing tree pose in the water. Photo: Lorraine C. Ladish
Most people have to work at this, but those who do benefit from improved balance that benefits them in daily life.
For adults over 50, this is particularly important because it reduces risk of falls which are more dangerous as we age and our bones become weaker.
Photo of Lorraine C. Ladish – Phillippe Diederich
Yoga can relieve menopausal and chronic pain and discomfort
For various reasons, yoga can help relieve discomfort from hormonal changes (yes, including hot flashes) as well as from chronic pain. There are yoga poses to relieve menopause symptoms.
Certain yoga poses can provide immediate relief to a targeted area of the body, while others are excellent for blood flow as well as detoxing internal organs, all of which can have a serious impact on how well you feel.
Yoga exercises your brain
Most people know that as humans age, our mental acuity may be affected.
Many physicians recommend that older adults do puzzles, word games, board games and computer games regularly in order to exercise their brains and stay sharp.
However, studies have shown that just 30 minutes of yoga can also help improve brain function.
It’s just another tool to add to your arsenal of things to help you stay healthier and more youthful — inside and out — for longer.