Yoga and Aging

My husband was listening to a podcast recently in which an older man was speaking to a group of high school kids. He was telling them that he and his wife worked hard all of their lives and did a good job of accumulating wealth. However, they lost most of it due to health care costs as they aged. He shared with them that some of this could have been avoided. The kids wondered how. And he responded, “By staying healthy.” But how could they have done that? He said that he now knew if they had focused on eating inexpensive foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, they could have avoided many of the lifestyle diseases that they now had to endure. 


Most younger people want to stay healthy because of beauty goals or energy needs. However, many may not consider how their accumulated lifestyle choices will affect their health and pocketbooks in the future. 


In addition to eating a simple, plant-based diet, practicing yoga also supports aging in a healthy way. Here are some benefits of yoga for aging.


  1. Osteoporosis/Osteopenia - Aging causes a decrease in bone density. However, weight-bearing exercises like yoga can help to keep bones strong. Include warrior poses to strengthen bones.


  1. Arthritis - Arthritis causes pain in the joints. Regular yoga practice can help to reduce pain and give the joints more mobility.


  1. Back pain - Spinal stenosis squeezes the spinal cord and causes pain and numbness in different areas in the body. This can be alleviated with regular yoga practice. In general, poses that strengthen the core muscles help to support the spine.


  1. Menopause - Some studies have shown that restorative and gentle yoga practices help to balance the hormones and decrease hot flashes.


  1. Blood pressure - One in three Americans has high blood pressure. Studies show that regular yoga can help to reduce blood pressure as long as the practitioner avoids inverted poses and rapid up and down transitions.


Commit to eating more healthy plants like whole grains, legumes, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. A yoga practice schedule that works for you and your lifestyle could also be incorporated for healthy aging. Simple choices now may pay dividends in the long run.


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