Want to Feel Younger Than Your Years? Try Yoga!

Yoga isn’t just for 20-somethings—it’s a fun and great way to stay in shape for people of all ages and activity levels. In fact, studies and experts agree that it’s one of the best exercises older adults can practice because it improves:

  • Posture, helping with issues like scoliosis, osteoporosis and other chronic back conditions
  • Respiratory function, helping you catch your breath more quickly and improving conditions like asthma and emphysema
  • Balance, reducing fall risks and, subsequently, broken bones by strengthening your core and center of gravity
  • Agility, allowing you to be more mobile and helping with the joint aches caused by arthritis and other conditions
  • Muscle strength, making it easier to perform activities like gardening, cleaning and playing with grandchildren

And while yoga has a bit of a luxury vibe to it, it’s actually easy to find inexpensive options. Several locations in Michigan offer affordable places to practice yoga, You might notice there are a few different styles of yoga. Hatha, which focuses on breathing and can have meditative elements is a slower-paced practice. Iyengar is also a good style for beginners as it focuses on alignment and precision of movement. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network members even receive exclusive discounts at yoga studios like Yoga Medics, Yoga Shelter and Yen Yoga and Fitness just by showing their BCBSM membership IDs.

If you just aren’t comfortable practicing yoga publicly, here are a couple easy moves to do at home:

  • Chair Pose: Stand with feet together and sit back while bending your knees, as if you were to sit in a chair. Raise your arms straight above your head and hold in the “seated” position for 15 to 20 seconds at a time. Hold for longer or repeat a few times if you feel strong.
  • Downward Facing Dog: This is a good pose for stretching your hamstrings. Lie on your stomach with palms flat on the floor by your shoulders. Push up and raise hips towards the ceiling while pressing head between your straight arms (you’ll form a triangle position with your body). Press heels towards the floor (you can bend your knees if the stretch is too much) and hold for up to 30 seconds at a time.
  • Warrior Pose: Stand with legs spread wider than hip-width apart. Twist your torso and hips towards your right side and bend the right knee. Keeping your torso upright, raise your arms outstretched to shoulder height making a T-position. Hold the pose for up to 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

To learn more about local yoga classes and new techniques that might be right for you, keep reading:

Photo credit: Lucy Kalantari

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