05 Mar The Aging Yogi
The aging yogi
I know, I know — age is just a number and all that but who really wants to physically feel old? Aches and pains are no fun for anyone.
Although getting older can grant you wisdom, it does impact you physically. This is because flexibility and muscle tone naturally decrease, changing the way you move.
Understandably, this can throw even the fittest of fit people off balance. Regular yoga practise is one of the best things you can do for your health as you age. It gives you mental and physical balance, and stops those aches and pains settling in.
Other forms of exercise (running, I’m looking at you) can put strain on the body, causing long term problems that only get worse as we get older.
The underlying power of yoga is through the way it maintains or builds muscle mass and bone strength. Muscle loss through aging has a fancy name — sarcopenia — and starts in your 30s, even if you’re physically active.
You’ve likely heard of osteoporosis which occurs when bone density decreases, resulting in weak bones which fracture more easily. Yoga can help avoid this by creating stronger muscles, which can then support the bones better.
The best thing about yoga is it doesn’t matter when you start. If you’re 70 and have never tried yoga now is the best time to start. Can’t touch your toes? Neither can many 20-year-olds. You don’t need to turn yourself into a human pretzel, or even get down on the floor, to get the full effect of a regular yoga practise.
Some more health issues yoga can deal with include:
- Mental stress and anxiety
- Heart health
- Menopause (especially hot flushes).
The key takeaway is just keep moving. You don’t need to run marathons or pump iron to be fit and healthy. And enjoy getting older — it’s finally time to focus on yourself and do what you want to do (like lots of yoga!).