Flexibility, balance and endurance aren’t exactly synonymous with getting older. As we age, our muscles tend to lose elasticity, our joints become stiffer, and our hearts struggle to keep up with the same level of physical activity we were used to in our younger years. Rather than giving up on exercise after a certain age, an increasing number of adults have begun turning to yoga as their workout routine of choice. Not only is it a gentle and relaxing way to stay healthy and active, but there are a number of hidden anti aging benefits of yoga to keep you looking and feeling younger for years to come.
It Regulates the Sleep Cycle
Getting a restful night’s sleep is a luxury at any age, but sleeping through the night tends to happen less frequently the older we get. Changes to the sleep cycle are a natural part of the aging process, but conditions such as anxiety, menopause and side effects from certain medications can cause restlessness and insomnia during regular sleeping hours. A lack of sleep not only leaves you feeling groggy the next day, but can also slow the collagen production your skin needs to maintain its youthful elasticity.
Yoga’s ability to relax the body, regulate the heart rate and improve one’s mood acts as a reset button for an irregular circadian rhythm. The key to improving sleep habits through yoga is to focus your attention on your breathing to open airways and clear a cluttered mind before drifting off to sleep. Prioritize gentle poses you can do laying down to stretch any pain points that could be keeping you up at night. To take advantage of one of the additional anti aging benefits of yoga, use this time to kickstart your nightly skin care routine. The majority of skin reparation happens while you are sleeping, so boost your collagen production by improving your blood flow with slight inversions such as Child’s Pose before getting some rest.
It Helps With Arthritis
There are many arthritic, autoimmune or musculoskeletal conditions that can develop as one ages, such as Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, Lupus and Fibromyalgia. Regardless of the cause or diagnosis, arthritis sufferers are plagued with daily pains and stiffness caused by inflammation in the joints. This can make common exercises such as jogging and lifting weights challenging for those with arthritis in the hands, knees, and hips.
Yoga is beneficial for those with arthritis because it entails a number of low-impact and no-impact poses that help improve joint flexibility. Yoga is generally a slower practice, which allows arthritis sufferers to ease into each movement without adding a sudden jolt of pressure to inflamed joints. With regular practice, gentle yoga poses can familiarize joints with new movements that will help to reduce pain and lessen inflammation for a much more comfortable workout.
It Improves Balance
Balance tends to decline naturally as we age, and even the healthiest adults struggle to maintain the same steady balance they had when they were younger. However, those suffering from poor circulation, vision problems and nerve disorders are at a higher risk for developing the kind of dizzying loss of balance that could lead to a concussion, broken bones or motor difficulties.
While yoga cannot cure the underlying medical causes that could contribute to a loss of balance, it can help to strengthen the physical and mental muscles needed to stay centered. Balance works similarly to the phrase “use it or lose it,” and yoga helps to refamiliarize both the body and the brain with a plentitude of poses that require a solid center of gravity. Integrate balance-focused poses such as Mountain Pose, Tree Pose and Warrior II into your regular yoga routine in order to see a scientifically proven boost in your balance over time.
It Lowers Blood Pressure
More than 85 million adults suffer from high blood pressure in the United States, with research suggesting the risk levels increase as one ages. The common nature of high blood pressure should not be ignored, however, as it can contribute to heart problems, kidney disease and even strokes if not monitored. Luckily, one of the easiest preventative measures one can take prior to developing dangerous blood pressure levels is to set aside time to de-stress throughout the day.
One of the primary anti aging benefits of yoga is the soothing effect it has on the mind and body – and believe it or not, this can actually contribute to lowering blood pressure. A recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania observing the relationship between yoga and blood pressure found that participants who practiced yoga 2 to 3 times a week for 24 weeks experienced lower blood pressure levels across the board. Yoga’s focus on breathing techniques combined with gentle, restorative movements decreases anxiety and improves circulation – both of which help to keep blood pressure levels under control.
Making the Most of the Anti Aging Benefits of Yoga
Taking advantage of the anti aging benefits of yoga is a great way to shift your lifestyle towards a healthier, happier you. However, it is only one of many adjustments one can make to maintain a more youthful mind, body and spirit for years to come. Schedule an appointment with a functional medicine doctor who can work with you to create a customized anti aging regimen that will keep you feeling younger for longer.
Dr. Lorraine Maita is a recognized and award-winning holistic, functional, and anti-aging physician and author. She transforms people’s lives by getting to the root cause of illness using the best of science and nature. Her approach is personalized, precision medicine where you are treated as the unique individual you are. If you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier, happier life, schedule your visit today!