Change Your Life with Yoga and Meditation (No Matter What Age You Are)
As comedian George Burns once said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” We now know that getting older doesn’t necessarily have to come with aches, pains, and chronic diseases. Unlike many of our grandparents, some of us have already traded in our stressful and sedentary lives for healthy lifestyles that include yoga and meditation. Not on board with this yet? Read on to learn how the practices of yoga and meditation can dramatically change your life and how you can get started.
The anti-aging benefits of yoga are legendary, from greater flexibility to greater muscle mass. According to research performed by Dr. Vincent Giampapa, M.D., a prominent anti-aging researcher and past-president of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine, “Regular deep meditation dramatically affects production of three important hormones related to increased longevity, stress, and enhanced well-being: cortisol, DHEA, and melatonin.” Needless to say, when you combine the practices of yoga and meditation in your life, you will enjoy a sense of peace and calm, along with greater focus, memory retention, and overall better health.
Practicing yoga daily can also improve your gut health. To fully understand the importance of this, you need to know that your gut is the HQ for your body, helping you to digest your food, regulate your weight, balance your immune system, and much more. Unfortunately, everything from aging to chronic stress and medications can wreak havoc with the inner workings of your gut environment. So what does yoga have to do with this? Researchers have found that the physical exercise of yoga boosts a healthy change within your gut microbiome. Also, because practicing yoga reduces stress, this further supports the abundance of good bacteria in your gut. No wonder yoga makes you feel so good!
Studies have even shown that yoga is beneficial for your dental health. It turns out there is a strong link between tooth decay and periodontal disease and mood conditions like depression, stress, and anxiety. Anxiety and tension also lead to jaw and pain issues. Because yoga is such a proven stress buster, it has been shown to improve dental health. Practicing yoga can positively affect oral health, but if you have any chronic issues with tooth or jaw pain, you should have them treated by a dentist. You can use an online locator to find a dentist in your area.
So What’s the First Step?
You’ll need a yoga mat and comfortable clothing. Stretchy pants are a must, and if you’re worried that a loose-fitting top will hinder your session, choose body-hugging ones instead. People typically practice yoga and meditation barefoot, but you can wear yoga socks with grips on the bottoms if you’d prefer. An Apple Watch or other wearable can be great for monitoring your body’s reaction throughout your yoga session and tracking your overall progress. Just be sure you have a watch band that is comfortable enough to wear while doing yoga.
Next, search online for a nearby facility that offers senior-friendly yoga classes, such as a senior center, health club, or gym. Seniors enrolled in a Humana Medicare Advantage plan (or one from another provider) may already have access to thousands of gyms around the nation through the SilverSneakers program. If you’d rather practice in the comfort of your own home, look into taking online classes. With these options, you can practice yoga tailored to your level and ability. For example, some classes offer chair yoga for those who have mobility issues.
You can easily practice meditation on your own. Just sit in a quiet and comfortable place, and place a timer next to you. You can use the timer on your phone, or download an app for this purpose. Calm your mind by focusing on each inhale and exhale. When you start to think about other things, gently bring your attention back to your breath. Try meditating for five minutes a day, then slowly work up to 20 minutes daily to achieve amazing health benefits.
Practicing yoga and meditation is simple and rewarding. Just look at the benefits they provide, from increasing cognitive skills to improving dental health. When you add yoga and meditation to your routine, you’re on the road to greater strength, flexibility, and overall well-being.