Today, I am excited to bring you a guest article from Sheila Olson. Sheila has been a personal trainer for five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions. She created www.FitSheila.com to spread the word about her fitness philosophy.
Fitness is often viewed in rather narrow terms. Many believe fitness is about achieving aesthetic appeal, such as a flat belly or toned arms. Others still look at exercise is merely a way to increase muscle mass and strength. In reality, real fitness is a lifestyle choice that has an effect on the whole person. Unfortunately, seniors often forgo potentially life-extending exercise due to reasons such as mobility and finances.
The good news is that many exercise programs are especially great for seniors. Yoga tops the list, which also includes aquatic exercises, walking, and using resistance bands. Even better, joining a fitness class doesn’t have to cost anything. If you are a senior with a Medicare Advantage plan, you may already be paying for this valuable service if you have access to Silver Sneakers.
A quick introduction
If you are new to yoga, you may be wondering exactly what it is. Your mind may immediately conjure up visions of ancient yogis tucked away in a temple, or of young trendsetters gathering on the beach to pose effortlessly in the sunset. And yoga can be either one of these things, but it’s so much more. It is a form of exercise that involves the mind just as much as the body. YogaJournal.com further dispels the notion that yoga is a religion, or that it is something you have to practice constantly to benefit from.
There are many different types of yoga, but mostly you should know that each involves mindful movement to strengthen the body, clear the mind, and improve flexibility. And seniors and others with mobility limitations, or who are intimidated by the process, can begin with yoga by practicing modified asanas, or poses. You can even avoid getting up and down off the floor through chair yoga.
Gathering the gear
The cost of yoga is partly dependent upon the gear you use. Fortunately, most yoga gear is inexpensive. To get started, you’ll need a yoga mat, a bag in which to carry it, a few fitness bricks, and a towel. Business Insider’s list of the best yoga bricks illustrates how you can easily find gear for around $10. Clothing that does not restrict your movement is also necessary. A sweat-wicking top (and bra if you are a woman) along with pants that won’t move as you bend are essential. However, if you don’t have the money to invest, there’s no reason that you can’t get started with a pair of sweatpants and a tank top.
Benefits of yoga
The primary benefits of yoga are balance improvement, bone strengthening, and weight loss and management. Further, some senior health experts assert that doing yoga can help control blood pressure and reduce stress. Since yoga is considered a low-impact activity, it won’t typically aggravate arthritis and can improve muscle and joint function.
Finding a class
Yoga has been around for centuries and ostensibly has practitioners in every city in the US. Find a fitness center that meets your needs and then check to see if they offer the classes you want. There are likely yoga classes already on the schedule. Once you find a time that works for you, schedule a visit to check it out. You don’t have to participate at first, but an early introduction can give you an idea of what to expect. Look for a class geared specifically toward seniors if you think you’d be more comfortable mixing and mingling with your contemporaries. Don’t be afraid to talk to the instructor about ways you can modify your movements in class.
You don’t have to be a health fanatic to enjoy the benefits of exercise. And yoga is an excellent fitness routine for the young, the young at heart, and anyone who wants to prioritize themselves.
About Fitness for Health:
To learn how Fitness for Health can help you improve your mind-body connection utilizing state-of-the-art fitness technology, visit www.FitnessForHealth.org or call 301-231-7138.