yoga teacherBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Until a certain age in life, words like dignity, quality of life, and independence seem to be more suitable for descriptions, or reasons, why independent nations had revolutionary wars, than for senior independence. However, for seniors, these words reflect the need to stay the course of independence.

In some cases, our bodies go on existing, while our physical and mental health is slipping away. We need something that will maintain our health, aside from another prescription, with side effects.

Walking offers many good benefits, but some of us have more wear and tear on the knees, hips, and back, than we would like. We gave up running years ago, and walking is fine, but has to be kept in moderation. We should still walk when, or if, it is possible, but you have to listen to your body and walk accordingly.

Yoga training in a chair offers a safe, low-impact health maintenance system, with cross training benefits that will change your life for the best. Flexibility, mobility, bone density, and strength can all be enhanced with the practice of Yoga in chairs.

With flexibility comes “new found” mobility, and this contributes to independence. Many Chair Yoga students start a walking program, or use an exercise bike, elliptical trainer, or tread mill, for enhanced cardiovascular work – shortly after seeing the results of improved flexibility and mobility.

Fall prevention is also covered in most Chair Yoga classes. Most of us realize the potential consequences of falling down, with bones that are not as pliable as they used to be. We all know how devastating a broken hip can be. Therefore, balancing exercises are covered, and students are reminded to work on balancing at home.

At home, the walls, and your kitchen counter, can also be used for sturdy props when working on balancing exercises. You should also be aware that some prescriptions will affect your balance. This is one more good reason to talk to your doctor, or pharmacist, about the side effects of any prescription.

You can also research any prescription’s side effects on the Internet, by going to a search engine and entering the name of the product in your search. This will take you to the manufacturer’s site, and at the bottom, you will see the possible side effects of that particular prescription.

Getting back to flexibility, mobility, and balance – you can make the most of your life by visiting a local senior center or Yoga studio to inquire about Chair Yoga classes. Some classes are also a mix of disciplines, and may be labeled as stretch, wellness, or stretch and tone classes.

If possible, try a class to see if it fits your needs. You will start feeling the results in a week or two and make the most of your life, right now. No matter how much time we have left, we all want to remain independent and keep our dignity intact.


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