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active senior living communities January 19, 2018

Yoga for seniors: Discovering the physical, mental and emotional benefits

By: Country Meadows | Community, Wellness

More and more seniors are practicing yoga for its low-impact movements, which help improve their flexibility, mobility, strength and balance, as well as their mental and emotional health.

Those benefits have led to the creation of instructional yoga programs at active senior living communities, led by professional instructors. Yoga is a great choice for retirees at senior communities because it can be done at any age and with no specialized equipment.

Yoga requires no prior exercise or fitness experience, and several beginner poses are perfect for seniors who are just starting to learn yoga. Even seniors who have limited mobility, arthritis or other health complications may be able to practice modified yoga. Chair yoga is an excellent option for seniors who are challenged by standing.

“We make yoga assessable to all mobility levels to offer residents and community members the opportunity to gain from the many health benefits,” says Kim Eichinger, Executive Director of Fitness at Country Meadows. “What I see as a real value is the focus and body awareness that come from practicing the postures and the breath work. Having a greater awareness of the body and a calmer mind contribute to an improved sense of well-being and a reduced risk of falls.”

All 11 Country Meadows retirement homes offer yoga classes for seniors.

At our retirement communities in Pennsylvania and Maryland, each campus has a qualified fitness director who plans exercise programs to increase fitness, endurance and strength. Our fitness staff leads residents in traditional movement exercises (also chair exercise and hand exercise); fitness, conditioning and strengthening exercises using machines; and other activities including walking, Wii bowling and yoga.

Some retirees favor yoga for its meditative benefits, as it allows them to slow down, focus their thoughts, relieve stress and calm themselves. In addition, yoga is excellent for improving balance, as are stretching, pilates and tai chi, which are also practiced at some of our communities.

One of our retirement communities even participates in goat yoga. What? Yep.

Seniors at Country Meadows of Forks in Easton who like animals and want an alternative yoga experience  have tried goat yoga. That’s right—goat yoga, and the image you may have in your mind is correct. Dwarf Nigerian goats wander through the yoga class, interacting with yoga participants. As silly as it might sound, goat yoga is a growing trend across the country. But why?

Brenda Kennedy, Director of Fitness and Community Life at Forks in Easton, says, “Studies have found that connecting with nature, animals and movement improves cognitive skills. Goats and yoga seem to be the perfect pairing!”

Also, the presence of the goats brings a light, joyful energy to the experience, making it even more relaxing. Yoga participant Florence Komisar, age 93, says, “It was lovely and I love the goats. They are very gentle and very sweet.” You can see our residents and goats in action in this video.

Want to remain physically active? Country Meadows helps seniors do just that

At Country Meadows Retirement Communities, we recognize that physical activity helps keep seniors healthy and independent. That’s why all our campuses have fitness centers as well as organized exercise and fitness classes.

If you’re considering a move to a senior retirement home near you and want to remain physically active, we invite you to contact us to learn more about Country Meadows. We can give you a tour of any of our senior communities and introduce you to the broad range of services we can offer you or your loved one.

Country Meadows has 10 locations in Pennsylvania, including retirement homes in Lancaster, York (South and West) and Pittsburgh (South Hills) and a retirement community in Frederick, Maryland.

Tour any of our senior independent living communities as well as our assisted living or personal care homes. We also offer memory support for older persons in need of dementia care and restorative care for those with chronic conditions or recovering from surgery or illness. Whatever your needs, we provide a comfortable community life that engages the body, mind and spirit.

Country Meadows

1 thought on “Yoga for seniors: Discovering the physical, mental and emotional benefits”

  1. Bryne Boyer says:

    There is no age limit, one can start yoga when 70 or 80 years old and no damage will occur if the movements originate from the spine. Many seniors may have lost contact with their bodies and re-establishing this connection is the goal. The body should respond immediately to the request of the mind. The smaller the gap between the two, the more the efficient the action. In medical terms this is called “reflex.”

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