Friday, November 8, 2013

Staying Young: Yoga and Its Effects on Aging

With yoga, you can grow younger every year.

I mean, have you guys seen the world’s oldest yoga teacher (above)? Or Dharma Mittra (below)?

They glow. And it's because they have been dedicated to their practice for years. Today I bring you an awesome guest post by health writer Tara Heath about the anti-aging benefits of yoga. Haven’t you heard you should do inversions for fewer wrinkles? Well, that’s only the beginning! Read on…

Photo via Pinterest.

Aging is something that nobody can prevent – even as much as everyone in the world would like to. However, there are some things you can do in your day-to-day life to help slow the process of aging and stay healthy. The most obvious of those being simple things like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep each night.

Yoga, despite its popularity and generally accepted health benefits, isn't something people always think of when considering ways to slow the clock on aging. Surprisingly, it turns out that it may actually be a beneficial weapon in the fight against time. 

Even if you’re not in your senior years quite yet, or aging isn't the first thing on your mind, taking steps to stay healthy and feel young can benefit everybody, and starting early is always better than starting late. 

Image courtesy of Flickr .

Increased Flexibility 

Men and women are born with the same amount of flexibility, but as they age, that flexibility decreases. While the decline typically occurs faster in men than women, adults over the age of 35 are generally much less flexible than they were in their 20s.

Yoga, which puts the body in a variety of unique positions, helps improve flexibility in a way that isn't overly uncomfortable or painful. Over time, doing the poses can make it easier for you to do daily tasks. This can help you tremendously as you age, as many injuries for adults and seniors come from doing everyday activities. 

Image courtesy of Flickr .

Improved Joint Strength 

Like flexibility, joint strength tends to diminish with age. Yoga is beneficial for building or restoring some of that joint strength, however, as many types of yoga incorporate poses that require you to support your body weight. In that way, yoga is much like strength training, which also helps improve joint strength.

Of course, the positions you use that require you to support your body weight also aid in building muscle. More muscle mass also helps reduce injuries and keep your body weight down.

Better Sleep 

Aging adults tend to have more sleep problems than younger ones. Not getting enough sleep can result in serious health problems and more rapid aging.

Doing yoga regularly can help you improve your quality of sleep since the asana practice combines both exercise and relaxation techniques – two things we know are essential or a well-regulated sleep schedule. 

If you have trouble sleeping at night and it’s causing problems in your daily life or making you feel run-down, taking a few yoga classes could go a long ways toward curing your problem.

Photo via Pinterest.

It’s impossible to stop the aging process completely, but that doesn't mean that you can’t slow it down a bit. Although eating right is what you hear about most when the topic of aging comes up, exercise and relaxation are both a close second.

Luckily those are two things that yoga can provide for you, making it an almost ideal anti-aging activity. 

Photo via Pinterest.

Tara Heath is a freelance writer in Southern California. She enjoys practicing yoga regularly, finding that it is very beneficial in helping her to relax and unwind after a long day. As a health writer, she contributes to the Presidio Home Care blog

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