The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each year, millions of older people, age 65 and older, fall. One out of five falls causes a serious injury, including a broken hip or a traumatic brain injury. Seniors may slip and fall for any number of reasons from poor eyesight or due to medications that may make one unsteady on his or her feet.
However, one of the biggest reasons that an older individual is more prone to falling is simply due to the natural process of aging and losing strength and balance. While one may not be able to reverse the damages of poor eyesight or stop taking an important heart medication, many seniors can regain strength and balance by practicing yoga. As a result, by practicing yoga on a regular basis, an older individual may decrease his or her chances of having a slip and fall accident. If you’re a senior and are interested in practicing yoga to improve your strength and balance, here are some good poses to explore in the most scenic country on earth:
Before you start
There are many advantages to practicing yoga. First off, it’s an exercise that is suitable for individuals of all ages. Secondly, it can be practiced by people of many abilities. For instance, if you are recovering from an accident that injured your back, yoga is a gentle form of exercise and there are modifications you can do to make yoga more comfortable and safe. Finally, yoga can be practiced anywhere.
While many experts will encourage practicing at least a few times a week (for at least 20 minutes at a time) under the guidance of a professional yoga instructor, once you understand the basics and know how to do the poses properly, you can practice yoga in your home and even in the backyard.
Some basic poses
If you’ve never tried yoga, you may be a little overwhelmed at first, but focus on what the instructor is saying and don’t worry about anyone else in the class. If you’re unsure of the pose, ask for assistance or see if any corrections need to be made. Additionally, if you’re not steady on your feet, ask if there are modifications that can be made comfortably and safely from a seated position. Remember, strength and balance may not come right away. With regular yoga practice, you may notice a significant improvement in your overall well being from improved strength, balance, and even better sleep (all can contribute to a slip and fall if you’re in poor condition).
- Tree pose: When was the last time you attempted to or was able to stand on one leg? The tree pose does just that and improves your balance overtime. It strengthens the ankle, thigh,knee, calf, and vertebral column. Another benefit includes improving memory and concentration.
- Mountain pose: In order to be steady on your feet, you must have build strength in your standing position. The mountain pose is the basis for poses and it’s beneficial to posture and balance. This pose is done before the tree pose and once you master the mountain pose you will feel more grounded and have more stability.
- Warrior: When your legs are flexible, grounded, and strong, you have better balance. The warrior pose strengthens the legs, opens the hips, and stretches the arms and legs. Not only will you have better concentration, circulation, and respiration, you will develop better balance and a sense of feeling grounded.
As with all yoga poses, either beginning or advanced, make sure you are performing them correctly in order to feel and see the benefits, as well as reducing your risk of injury.