It’s natural to slow down as you become older. But leading a more tempered and leisurely daily life doesn’t mean you should necessarily skip out on movement and body exercises. In fact, for most people it becomes increasingly important to stay active as you age. Chair yoga for seniors can provide a safe, simple exercise choice if given your doctors approval. Once you’ve got their approval, follow along with some easy chair yoga stretches right from the comfort of home.
Potential Health Benefits From Regular Exercise For Seniors
There are many reasons to stay active in your older age. Regular exercise can help support your physical strength and overall health. That extra strength and resistance can also enhance your quality of life , allowing you to keep doing your favorite activities independently. Additional potential health benefits for active seniors can include supporting:
- Bones health
- Joint health
- Cardiovascular health
- Immune health
- Mental well-being1,2
Benefits Of Chair Yoga
Yoga is a great daily activity that can support mental and physical health. The stretching motions, even from a chair, can help you build up muscle strength and better mobility. In fact, any movement at all is better for you than sitting still all day.3
Other potential benefits of yoga may include:
- Increased flexibility that can make daily tasks easier to accomplish
- Circulation support which keeps muscle tissue healthy
- A reduction in muscle tension and discomfort
- Enhanced coordination and balance4
How Much Exercise Do Older People Need?
While it is totally dependent on your doctor’s recommendations, it’s generally recommended that mature adults get 150-minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. Even seniors with limited mobility should still try to be as active as their situation allows.5
Chair yoga can be a great option. The gentle movements and low impact make it ideal for anyone with limited mobility or beginning fitness after a period of inactivity.
Note: Always speak to your doctor or physical therapist before beginning any new fitness routine.
Easy Chair Yoga For Seniors
Chair yoga for senior people is a generally safe and productive form of exercise for seniors. Get started with the simple and effective chair yoga poses below.
The overhead stretch is a great yoga pose for easing tension in the back and shoulders.
- From a seated position, lift your arms above your head while keeping your shoulders straight.
- Lock your hands together, if possible. Otherwise, hold your hands and arms above your head with a straight back and neck.
- Hold this position for 10-15 seconds then relax and return to the original position. Repeat 5-10 more times.6
Rotating your neck on a regular basis can help maintain a normal range of motion. This neck stretch can loosen muscles all along your neck and spine.
- Sit up straight and tall in a chair. Breath in, and move your neck and ear toward your right shoulder.
- Hold your head in this bent position, and exhale. As you inhale, return your head to the center starting position.
- Exhale again in the center. On the inhale, move your head to the left side. Repeat on both sides 10 times.7
Seated Side Stretch
A deep side stretch can help open up your body to support flexibility and strengthen your arms. Strong arms can make many daily activities – like reaching into the cabinets and washing your hair – easier to perform.
- In a comfortable, seated position, place your feet flat on the ground and open your chest up high.
- Inhale and lift your left arm above your head to make an arc.
- Slowly lean toward the right to stretch the length of your left side. Plant your right arm firmly on the chair to prevent falls.
- Maintain steady breathing with a soft gaze straight ahead for 3-6 deep breaths. You should feel a sense of lengthening along your whole left side.
- On an exhale, sweep your left arm back to your side and pause. Repeat on the right side. Try to do 3-5 stretches on each side.8
Seated Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose is a great way to release tension and support strength in the hips and lower back. Maintaining hip strength can help support your coordination, which is important for anyone with balance concerns.9,10
- Begin in a seated position. Slowly lift your right foot and place it over your left knee.
- Use your arms to cradle your right knee and foot; right hand holding your knee and left hand holding your foot.
- Sit up tall, and slowly lower your upper body down toward your bent leg. You should feel the stretch in your right hip and glute.
- Hold this position for a couple of breaths, and then slowly exhale to lift your body up to the starting position. Repeat for the left leg.11
The seated twist engages the muscles and joints in your upper body to support flexibility along the spine, shoulders, and hips.12
- In the seated position, reach your right hand over your left leg and hold on to your thigh.
- Slowly twist to your left, turning your head and shoulders to look behind you. Grab hold of the chair with your left hand.
- Inhale, and try to extend yourself upward. You can pull against your thigh and push against the seat to deepen the stretch.
- Exhale, and slowly return to center. Repeat on the other side. Try to complete 5-8 stretches on each side.13
Seated Cat-Cow Pose
This seated yoga position can help release tension along the length of your spine. It also uses the abdominal muscles to give your core muscles a bit of exercise as well.14
- Sit up straight, and begin the stretch by exhaling and tilting your hips back.
- Drop back toward your tailbone and round out your back so that your chin tucks in toward your chest.
- Inhale and lift your chest and belly up and out, slowly. Extend your spine, and set your gaze slightly above you on the wall or ceiling to lengthen the spine.
- Exhale, and repeat for 8-10 full stretches.15
Yoga For Seniors: Ask Your Doctor Today
Regular exercise can help contribute to a healthy and enjoyable life for people of any age. As a senior, exercise’s potential physical benefits may translate to more independence and freedom to pursue your favorite activities.
Chair yoga for senior people provides stretching and muscle strengthening from a safe, seated position. This makes it a great option for anyone, including those with limited mobility. Try out the chair yoga for seniors exercises above to enjoy all the wonderful health benefits associated with yoga. But, before you begin, speak to a medical professional to decide on the fitness plan that’s right for you.
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