The health benefits of traditional yoga are well known throughout the United States. Millions of Americans regularly attend yoga classes, improving both their physical and mental well being. People of all ages can practice yoga: however, many people fear that they are not flexible or strong enough to go to a traditional yoga class.
Chair yoga is a great alternative to traditional yoga, providing seniors with an easy way to get more active even if they’re less mobile than they used to be. There are many chair yoga classes structured for seniors from age 60 to even 90 that are more accessible to people who can’t get down on the floor. These classes also simplify difficult movements while still offering tremendous health benefits.
Chair yoga allows seniors to move and exercise their entire bodies, helping to prevent falls by strengthening the body just as in regular yoga. Seniors who practice chair yoga regularly see benefits like improved circulation and flexibility. Sometimes, chair yoga allows seniors to build up the strength, flexibility, and stamina necessary to practice traditional yoga. Chair yoga is a very gentle way to move around and get active, yet also helps people build muscles and helps diabetics maintain their blood sugar levels.
Plus, you can practice chair yoga anywhere, from the privacy of your own home to your desk at the office. There are classes and tapes that make chair yoga an activity everybody can do—plus, you can even find videos on Youtube if you want to check out the exercises without the commitment of a class.
While chair yoga is undoubtedly a great activity for seniors, it is also a beneficial exercise for people of all ages. People with conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other movement-limiting conditions have also reaped the benefits of chair yoga. For MS patients, chair yoga helps battle muscle fatigue as well as depression. Chair yoga also relieves the symptoms of anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, carpal tunnel, hypertension, and arthritis.
For people who work primarily in an office setting, chair yoga can be a simple way to get active at your desk. (Little known fact: the Health Plan One office break room has a guide to chair yoga on the refrigerator!) There are many chair yoga movements that you can do while seated, providing you with stress relief. Plus, you can stretch out the muscles and joints in your back, neck, and throughout your body, which can all get stiff while spending extended periods of time at a desk.
No matter what your age, physical activity is a key aspect of leading a healthy lifestyle. Whether you have limited mobility or spend hours daily at a desk, chair yoga can help add activity into your daily routine. Plus, chair yoga is great for stress relief. If you find that you really love chair yoga, try out chair tai chi or chair pilates to mix up your activities a little bit. All three of these exercises allow you to move around while staying seated, injecting movement and activity into sedentary lifestyles.