The practice of Yoga is an excellent way to improve overall health in older adults. Yoga safely stretches and loosens muscles, reduces anxiety, helps to lower blood pressure, protects joints, and builds strength and balance.
Chair Yoga is especially beneficial as it reduces strain on joints and allows those with mobility concerns the opportunity to participate.
Yoga routines are easily adaptable according to your older adult’s abilities. Some older adults/seniors may tire easily or have difficulty with mobility, therefore customizing the Yoga routine is vital to ensure their safety and well-being. Anywhere from 5-minute to 30-minute routines are easily accessible on YouTube, but here are some beginner movements that you can try.
Please note: None of these movements should hurt. If any discomfort occurs, stop the movement and return to regular breathing. Older adults/seniors should be following the movements of another adult in order to show proper form and technique.
Please consult with a physician before performing any exercise or pose or starting any exercise program.
Chair Yoga Routine for Seniors
1. Seated Mountain Pose.
Begin with simple breathing exercises. Sit up tall in your chair, with hands in prayer pose (optional), and begin inhaling and exhaling in slow controlled manner. Repeat 5 times
2. Chair Neck Roll #1.
This movement Is used to stretch the front and back of your neck. While seated, slowly drop chin to chest, breathing in and out with each movement. Return chin back to neutral starting position. Next, slowly raise your chin so that the head gently falls back and return to neutral position. Repeat 3 times for each.
3. Chair Neck Roll #2.
This movement is used to stretch the sides of your neck. While seated, slowly lean right ear to right shoulder, breathing in and out with each movement. Return to neutral starting position. Next, gently lean left ear to left shoulder and return to neutral. Repeat 3 times on each side.
4. Chair Neck Roll #3.
This movement continues stretching neck muscles. While seated, gently turn your head to the right, looking over your shoulder, while inhaling and exhaling. Return to center. Next, gently turn your head to the left, overlooking your left shoulder. Return to center and repeat 2 more times on each side.
5. Chair Arm Circles.
This movement stretches upper arms and shoulders. While seated, bring hands up and place on each shoulder. Breathing deeply, slowly move arms up and down and around in small circles. Repeat 3 times
6. Seated Side Stretch.
This movement stretches muscles in the arms and shoulder, chest, upper back, and neck. While seated, raise right arm straight above you and gently lean upper body to the left. Return to neutral position bringing the arm back down. Next, bring left arm straight above you and gently lean upper body to the right. Return to neutral and repeat 3 times on each side.
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