May 18, 2021

It's Time to Get Moving: How Online Yoga Can Help Seniors

Active Lifestyle
Classes
Fitness
Wellness

Starting a fitness routine is a great way to support healthy aging, and yoga is a perfect practice to try. 



Online yoga in particular can be a great way for seniors to get moving because it mitigates the risk of both in-person activities and overly ambitious workout routines. 


Lots of life has gone virtual these days, from telewellness to digitalized geriatric medicine, to online group activities. And online exercising for older adults is no different! 


The Benefits of Online Exercise for Seniors 

We know exercising has benefits. For as long as researchers have been studying the effects of exercise, it’s been clear that regular activity supports heart and lung health, improved bodily functions, and enhanced longevity. 


In particular, working out as we age has various benefits, including: 


  • Improving muscle and bone strength
  • Boosting mood
  • Reducing stress 
  • Maintaining brain function
  • Lowering risk for heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity

And moving this online is extra helpful. This is due to: 


  • Increased accessibility: This is in more ways than one. Online classes allow for increased accessibility for seniors because anyone with an internet connection and a device can join. You don't need to have the ability to drive a car, have someone else transport you, and there are options for various levels of ability and experience. If you need to stick to his seated workout, you can try exercises like chair yoga or seated tap dancing. 
  • It's affordable: Online exercising has a lot of free options. For example, there are almost endless exercise options on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Lots of exercise platforms also offer free trials or sample classes for free that everyone should take advantage of! Here’s a great place to get started: try our free trial for the whole month of June for unlimited classes! 
  • Lots of options: While we're focusing on online yoga in this article, there are almost endless types of exercises that seniors can find online. Some examples are Tai Chi, dancing or Zumba, strength exercises, and pilates. 
  • Continuity: Whether or not we need to be socially distant, online fitness is possible. Because you can access online workout classes from the safety of your home, you don't have to worry about the risk of in-person activities, which is helpful for those who might be uncomfortable interacting with large groups. 
  • Expanded social circle: Virtual fitness and other virtual classes allow for you to meet with individuals from almost anywhere. At Televeda, we have older adults joining our online yoga classes from the west coast to the East coast. You no longer have to miss your friend that lives across the country: just have them join you at your virtual yoga class! Or, meet some new friends
  • Flexibility: There is almost always an online exercise class available at any hour of the day so you can fit easily into your schedule. You don’t have to rush to miss a class, and can do a workout whenever it fits best into your day. 


The Benefits of Online Yoga for Seniors 

Working on our eagle's pose during Televeda Chair Yoga.

Yoga specifically has very important benefits and is a great activity for seniors to try out, especially online! 

1. Yoga Can Increase Strength


Regularly including strengthening exercises in your workout routine is essential to staying strong and vital during older adulthood. 


The loss of muscle mass and strength as age increases, but by performing resistance exercises using our body weight, we can safely maintain and build muscle mass as we get older.


And no heavy weights needed! Yoga requires you to use your muscles to flow you through a series of movements. 


Strength-training with yoga has the ability to combat weakness and frailty, and their consequences like falls and increased chance for disability, and just as importantly can provide independence and vitality with age. 

 

Strength and resistance training has a variety of benefits for older adults, including: 

  • Reducing the rate at which you lose muscle as you age (sarcopenia)
  • Reducing symptoms of health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia
  • Lowering inflammation and pain
  • Improving your glucose control and making it easier to manage your weight 
  • Improving balance and therefore reducing fall risk 
  • Help prevent osteoporosis and frailty by stimulating muscle and bone growth 
  • Build muscle strength and muscle mass 
  • Preserve bone density
  • Reduce signs and symptoms of numerous chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes
  • Improving sleep and reducing depression. 

 

2. Yoga Can Improve Flexibility 


A good stretching program is important to incorporate into older adults’ daily routines to help maintain flexibility.


Flexibility is the ability of the muscles and tendons to lengthen and stretch in response to movement, which allows a joint to move through its entire range of motion. 


Flexibility is a very important (and sometimes forgotten) aspect to one’s health, especially as we get older. Increased flexibility allows for a larger range of motion in the joints, improves posture, reduces chance of injury, and can also improve balance and coordination. 


Better balance has benefits on its own, including developing stability and therefore preventing falls. 


Yoga improves flexibility and balance, and both flexibility and balance improve one another. 


3. Yoga Supports Peace of Mind


Physical benefits aren’t the only benefits of yoga. Yoga is a practice that has psychological benefits by supporting mental health, emotional health, and a sense of peace.


Yoga uses breathing practices, setting intentions, and meditation to settle your mind and provide a sense of tranquillity throughout and after your workout.


By reducing the stress response--which includes the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone)--yoga can enhance resilience and improves mind-body awareness, which “can help people adjust their behaviors based on the feelings they're experiencing in their bodies.” 


Recent studies have found that yoga can help strengthen social attachments, reduce stress, and relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Some have even seen some success in using yoga and yoga-based treatments to help with post-traumatic stress disorder.


Plus,  online yoga classes can bring you a sense of community. While you are working and moving together, You are connected to the other individuals that are practicing as you are.


Where to Take Online Yoga Classes as an Older Adult

One of our wonderful yoga instructors at Televeda! 


We discussed a bit above, but here are again some options for you to find online yoga classes you can add to your exercise routine


  1. Televeda: We offer chair yoga, gentle/stretch yoga, yoga for athletes, and regular yoga. Check out all the events here, or get started with your free trial. 
  2. Youtube: Yoga with Adrienne has specific yoga videos for seniors. 
  3. Online fitness platforms, like the Her Network


If you want to do some searching yourself, try Googling any of these phrases: 

  1. Online yoga for seniors
  2. Chair yoga for seniors
  3. Yoga for beginners 
  4. Yoga videos for older adults
  5. Virtual yoga classes
  6. The best yoga for seniors
  7. Free online yoga classes


No matter where you take your virtual yoga class, make sure you enjoy yourself! This is for your health and happiness, and that’s always the priority. And note: always consult your doctor before trying a new type of exercise to make sure it’s right for you. 


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