If you are a frequent gym-goer, you already know all about the benefits of exercise. It gets you out of the house, breaks up your busy schedule, gives your mind a break from work and leaves both your mind and body feeling great.
But what about your grandma?
Now, you may be thinking, “Grandma shouldn’t be lifting weights,” and to that I say “Poppycock!”. Seniors may have different physical needs than youngsters, but that doesn’t mean they should be discouraged from going to the gym. This is where yoga comes in handy.
Yoga is one of many low-impact forms of exercise that can be great for both seniors and non-seniors. To see if it’s right for you and Grandma, try bringing her along for your next class.
Now, before you say, “That’s just not my grandma’s style,” consider this: the United States of Aging Survey reports that health-conscious seniors are more optimistic about aging than those who aren’t, and 60% of these optimistic seniors have one or more specific health-management goals for themselves.
So, give Grandma a call. Let her know you are thinking of her and her health and talk to her about all the benefits yoga has to offer her!
Yoga Improves Physical Health
Probably the most obvious argument to be made for yoga is the physical benefits it provides, especially for seniors. Everyone’s body is different, and yoga certainly isn’t a cure-all for any ailment Grandma may have — but it may well be worth trying.
In short, when yoga is practiced correctly, it can help to improve general and specific health conditions that often affect seniors. It can:
- Reduce back pain, neck pain and perhaps arthritis
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce insomnia
- Strengthen the heart and other muscles
- Lead to greater physical independence
- Improve overall fitness, flexibility and quality of life
Of course, it pays to know both the physical benefits and risks of yoga before bringing Grandma to class. As with any form of exercise and any age group, it is recommended that seniors talk over their options with their doctor before beginning yoga.
Yoga Shakes up a Senior’s Routine
In the United States, there seems to be an underlying belief that the golden years can get awfully boring. Whether or not this stereotype holds true with your grandma, you still have the power to influence her routine for the better.
You know how great it feels to get out of the house now and then — aside from just going to work and running errands, that is. Treat Grandma’s yoga outing as a special occasion.
After all, it is getting her out of the house, improving her health and allowing her to socialize with others. All of these things, added to the fact that yoga itself can relieve stress, anxiety and depression, can only improve Grandma’s mental and emotional well-being.
Yoga With You Means Quality Hangout Time
Despite all of the physical and mental benefits of yoga, probably the most influential factor for Grandma’s happiness is that going to class with you means quality hangout time.
Maybe you’re already close to your grandparents — and maybe you’re not. Either way, it is never a bad idea to cash in on quality Grandma time, and yoga is a great place for it.
If you were to take up a weekly movie night with Grandma, you’d be seeing her, sure. But you’d be limiting your actual interaction.
With yoga, on the other hand, you have time to actually talk to Grandma before, after and even during class. And, especially if one of both of you are beginners, there is a good chance you will share some laughs when you feel silly in new or challenging poses.
In addition, since yoga helps the mind and body to relax, you and Grandma may enjoy a laid back, post-yoga fruit smoothie after class.
Nothing would make Grandma happier.
Before You get Started
No matter what, it is important to know both the risks and benefits of yoga, or any form of exercise, before enrolling Grandma. Before taking her to class, have Grandma consult with her doctor, who should be familiar with her specific physical abilities and limitations.
The doctor may suggest a certain type of yoga — for example, Anusara is a therapeutic form of yoga often recommended for seniors with certain physical limitations. Whatever the case for Grandma, be sure to take any and all of the doctor’s advice into account.
Once approved by the doctor, make sure you also let your yoga instructor know about any medical conditions or pained joints Grandma may have. This, of course, is assuming your Grandma is not already in better shape than you are. If your yoga teacher is well-trained, they will be more than prepared to offer alternative poses as needed.
Just remember — yoga can be wildly beneficial in the areas of physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual health. Help your grandma to have the right kind of experience, and enjoy being a part of that experience yourself!