Yoga for Aging Joints
Wisdom and knowledge are not the only effects of aging that we experience. As we age, our bodies endure several physiological changes. Muscles lose mass, diminishing strength and flexibility. The cartilage protecting our joints is rubbed away and the calcium and other minerals in our bones are lost. This results in less flexible and brittle joints. With weaker joints, fractures become much more likely. Osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases become especially common which decreases mobility and overall health.
With this information, it can be easy to resist and fear the inevitable signs of aging. But, there is good news. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found that practicing Yoga increased the mood AND physical health among sedentary adults with joint problems. When practiced three times per week, Yoga improved the pain and energy levels of these individuals.
It doesn’t end there.
Yoga can also help with pain management, building core strength and flexibility, improving circulation, enhancing balance, lowering blood pressure, and increasing relaxation. This helps with conditions such as Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, Disc Issues, Back Pain, Nerve Pain, Tendonitis, Muscular Pain/Stiffness, Hormonal changes, High Blood Pressure, COPD, Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema, Insomnia, Stress, Depression, Anxiety, and Chronic Pain/Illness.
The body will change as we age. It is inevitable, but it does not have to be predictable. You can change the course of your life by focusing on your health and taking preventative measures to better your life. Yoga can make your body stronger and it can help your joints.
How Yoga Helps Your Joints
Yoga will help you through the aging process by building the muscles surrounding your joints. The stronger these muscles are the more support they will provide, making the body more stable and less prone to injury. To protect the knee joint, poses such as a supported Lunge or Warrior I are excellent because they build the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, which are major stabilizers of the knee.
Yoga also helps stretching the muscles in the body, keeping them limber and your joints lubricated. When muscles are consistently and appropriately stretched, they are more flexible and have a healthier range of motion. This can eliminate joint stiffness and associated pain while improving mobility. You will be able to move easier and more effectively. Seated Twist is an excellent pose for hips, spine, and shoulders. It helps maintain and improve alignment in the spine and open the hips, pelvis, and lower backWith conditions such as Arthritis, Disc Issues, and other degenerative disorders that are common with aging, one of the major symptoms is pain, discomfort and immobility within the joints. Yoga exercises the joints in a low impact, gentle way which increases circulation throughout the body. Synovial fluid is the fluid that surrounds the joints in the body that along with cartilage, facilitates movement. It also delivers nutrients, oxygen, and natural pain killers to the joint. Since Yoga increases circulation in the body, it helps circulate the synovial fluid to the joints, promoting pain-free, smooth movement.
What Kind of Yoga Is Good For Aging Joints
It is important to note that not every type of Yoga will be beneficial to aging joints. Some styles of Yoga can be more intense than others, so it is important to make sure you find the right fit for your body. Gentle, beginner classes are ideal for those suffering from joint problems. Specifically, Senior Yoga or Chair Yoga classes are designed with the aging body in mind.
These classes will focus on movements that will improve joint health without high-intensity, weight bearing exercises. This is crucial because not all movement is appropriate for the body as it ages, especially when suffering from various health conditions. It is always a good idea to consult your doctor before trying any new type of exercise. More importantly, talk to your Yoga instructor before class. Let them know your concerns and any injuries you have that might prevent certain types of movement.
It's never too late to try something new and Yoga might be just what your body needs