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Health Issues in the 50+ Crowd That Can Be Alleviated Through Yoga

Health Issues in the 50+ Crowd That Can Be Alleviated Through Yoga
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When yoga first came to the West, it was quickly adopted by younger Americans in the midst of their stressful careers. As it’s become a staple of mental and physical health, it’s starting to be utilized by people of all ages. It’s fast becoming a health trend for people over 50 who want to improve their well-being and prevent old-age chronic illnesses.

Yoga is being seen as a great way to prevent aches and keeping flexibility. It also helps your mental state. There are currently over 14 million people over 50 that have started doing yoga as part of their health program. This is due to the benefits that have been proven for the middle-aged population. Here are some of the ways yoga is helping.

Expanding the Mind To Show You that Things are Possible

As people age, they are more prone to falling into a mindset that tells them they’re getting too old to do physical activities. Yoga can be practiced in a gentle way that slowly develops flexibility, strength and mental strength. As you learn to control your breath, do some simple meditation, and do poses that challenge you, you’ll begin to expand your mind of false beliefs. You may start with the simplest practice but you can work your way up. This will show you that anything is possible and you can use that knowledge in all parts of your life.

Eases Stress and Anxiety

For those around the age of 50, there are certain mood disorders that can take over your life. Hormonal changes take place that can cause chronic anxiety. It’s been shown that women over 50 are suffering from chronic anxiety. Financial worries, menopause, and ill health are contributing to the fear women have. It’s possible they can suffer from panic attacks and heart palpitations. For men, they will also suffer from anxiety. Mid-life crisis can cause one to question what they’ve done so far in life. These serious questions can cause an upheaval of emotions.

Yoga has proven to greatly relieve anxiety symptoms that can otherwise take over someone’s life. Mindfulness, which is a part of yoga, can be done in various comfortable positions. Through yogic breathing, you can relax the nervous system. Studies have shown that deep breathing can prevent the release of cortisol which is now being deemed America’s #1 health risk. There are also gentle poses that release tension stored in the body. Anxiety and stress tend to manifest in the hips so when you do some basic poses to stretch these areas out, you let go of stress.

Lowers Blood Pressure and Promotes Heart Health

There are many poses in yoga that allow you to give your heart a break. When you get your heart over your head, it’s easier for the heart to pump blood through. Headstands and handstands are the extreme version of this for experienced yogis. Most of us will opt for Legs Up on the Wall or Downward Dog to achieve the same effect.

You lower your blood pressure by committing to poses that are designed to keep the body relaxed. There are many simple poses that allow you to relax. Even Child’s Pose sends messages to your brain that you are safe and secure. Yoga increases antioxidants in the body as well as lowers levels of the cortisol hormone.

Alleviates Pain of All Kinds

Bodily inflammation is often being seen as the cause of various forms of arthritis. Not to mention, it can be a cause of development in diabetes and cancer. Studies have found that yoga has reduced three of the proteins that build up in the blood by up to 15%. These proteins are the cause of inflammation. Arthritis can be extremely painful but various studies have shown that yoga can alleviate much of the pain, no matter what type you have.

For those osteoarthritis, a 90-minute class modified for knee arthritis reported a significant reduction in arthritis pain. With rheumatoid arthritis, a study recently showed that it could reduce the pain of the disease. Women practicing yoga twice a week reported to be in less pain, experienced less muscle and mind fatigue, and could move around more easily. It also helped them feel better in general, including their mood.

For those with back pain, yoga is a gentle way to increase mobility for those with chronic lower back pain.

Some tips for newbies starting on their yoga journey;

If you do suffer from a lot of pain, you may want to start with chair yoga. It’s a more supported form of yoga that allows you to gain the benefits without the pressure on joints. A study from Florida Atlantic University designed alternative methods of treating osteoarthritis without medication. One of those options is chair yoga. They found it to be a benefit to those with arthritis in the hips, knees, or ankles.

  • Choose a class in your area that specializes in beginner’s classes or classes that support your specific needs. This might include arthritic pain or chronic back pain.
  • Go with some slow paced yoga like Iyengar yoga which focuses on alignment and promotes the use of props to allow for gentler stretches.
  • Hot yoga that is gentle might be helpful for those with arthritis.
  • If you work at your own pace when it comes to yoga, you’ll find that it can be a helpful way to aid you in physical and mental ailments. You don’t have to attempt to keep up with others. You can rest when you want. The beauty of yoga is that it’s non-competitive. When you honor yourself and your body, yoga can help keep you young in your mind, body, and soul.


Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali)

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