No one likes getting older, and as you age, it comes with its fair share of struggles. From achy muscles to mood swings, seniors and their caregivers are having a rough go of it on a daily basis. That’s where yoga and meditation can come in.
Yoga and meditation can provide both seniors and their caregivers with various benefits that they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. It can make your life easier, and the life of the person caring for you. Read on to see a few benefits of these century-old practices and how they can change your perspective on life.
Strengthens the Core
Seniors often struggle with balance due to getting older. One big benefit of yoga and meditation is that it strengthens the muscles in your abdomen and back, which helps you regain balance. If you happen to trip, you’re more likely to regain your balance. Your caregiver could also benefit from yoga and meditation because they’re juggling a lot of different things at once. Being a caregiver is not an easy job, but yoga can help you strengthen your core and make what would be difficult tasks just a little bit easier.
Allows for Deeper Breathing and Relaxation
Did you know that engaging in regular physical activity, even yoga, can improve mental health? This is important for both you and your caregiver. With yoga and meditation comes increased relaxation. This is because these two activities allow you and your caregiver to practice mindfulness, which is the art of staying present in the moment. If you or your caregiver spend your days worrying, yoga and meditation can help you lead a more fulfilling life.
Improves Blood circulation
It can be hard for seniors to find low-impact exercises that don’t put strain on your muscles and joints. If you’re not into pool aerobics, try yoga and meditation. It can get your blood flowing without overexerting you. There is no pressure when it comes to yoga, even in classes. Because yoga is a community activity (meaning everyone in the room is there for the same reason, to practice mindfulness), everyone supports one another. So, if you start to feel tired after a few poses, feel free to sit or lie down. No one would judge you; they would simply applaud you for trying something new.
Provides Social Interaction
Are you struggling to spend time with others? Yoga and meditation can help, especially if you attend a yoga class that’s targeted toward seniors. Sign up for a session and get there a little earlier. Try to meet a few people before class starts, and then catch up with them afterward. You can talk about your experience together and how you enjoyed the class. Seeing yoga as a social activity will help you stay motivated to exercise, as well as help you make new friends.
You Can Do It Anywhere
One of the biggest benefits of yoga and meditation is that you can practice it anywhere. You don’t have to be in a yoga studio -- you can do it right at home, which can help if you’re on a budget and don’t have disposable income to attend classes. Designate an area of your home as a meditation space. Make sure it’s free of clutter and quiet there. Maybe light a few candles and lay out your mat. Your dog can join in on the fun too, or at least watch your curiously and provide plenty of wet kisses.
Try and let all the thoughts out of your head and practice mindfulness. You’ll start to realize that you don’t need a yoga teacher to talk to you for you to clear your mind. You can do it with your caregiver at home.
Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.