Yoga is an incredibly popular form of exercise, and many people of all ages have incorporated meditation into their daily routine to help them focus and reduce the stresses caused by daily life. While yoga and meditation can be beneficial for everybody from teenagers to adults, they are also ideal activities for senior citizens for a variety of reasons.

If you’ve never done yoga or thought about meditation, it might seem a little bit strange to you. However, once you get past that and simply give these activities a try, you may find that they boost both your physical and mental health.

Pain Relief

Many seniors suffer from chronic pain because of things like arthritis and joint problems. These joint problems are common with age, but yoga may be a way to reduce the pain you feel.

According to a study at Harbor-UCLA Medical center, participants who did yoga for four weeks reported that they needed less pain medication to manage their chronic pain. While yoga is ideal for individuals with problems like arthritis, those with fibromyalgia, back pain, and neck and shoulder pain can also benefit.

Yoga Improves Flexibility and Stability

As you get older your flexibility tends to decrease and your stability, which is related to common muscle mass loss, lessens, making you more prone to accidents and injuries related to everyday tasks. Even simple tasks like walking down the stairs or reaching for something in a high cabinet or picking something off the floor can become problematic.

To remedy that, doing yoga is a great way to improve flexibility slowly. Yoga doesn’t have to put a lot of strain on your muscles and joints, and yoga classes and poses can be very gentle – gentle enough even for people with health problems.

Yoga and Meditation Improve Focus

Older adults often worry about keeping their minds sharp. While activities that require you to focus and use your mind like doing crossword puzzles or even math can be helpful, yoga and meditation also work to keep your mind sharp.

That’s because yoga and meditation relieve stress and keep you energized in both body and mind.

Yoga and Meditation Can Improve Sleep

Aging doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a hard time sleeping, but many seniors find that they don’t sleep through the night or as soundly as they once did. Doing yoga and meditating on a regular basis can make you feel more relaxed, which will help you fall and stay asleep at the same time each day.

Regular exercise, even in the form of yoga, has also been shown to regulate sleep schedules, which is a problem many retired seniors face.

Yoga Poses for Seniors

When it comes to yoga for seniors, gentle types of yoga and basic positions are often best. Many seniors decide to take yoga classes, which can be helpful when you first start out, but if you try doing yoga on your own, use these poses.

  • Plank
  • Cat
  • Cobra
  • Tabletop
  • Warrior
  • Triangle
  • Seated twist
  • Downward dog

As you progress, you may find that intermediate and even advanced poses are possible and safe for you.

Yoga and meditation are beneficial for seniors of all fitness levels, and you don’t already have to be in great shape to start doing yoga. However, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start any exercise routine – even something as gentle as basic yoga.

After just a few weeks of doing yoga and meditating you may start to notice you have more energy, feel better and stronger, and even sleep more soundly at night. 30 to 60 minutes of yoga and meditation each day could be all it takes.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in Southern California, whose topics often cover health issues. Due to her passion for helping senior citizens live healthy lives, she writes for the Presidio Home Care blog often. Follow her on Twitter today!