Keeping Steady: How Yoga Can Help Maintain Your Balance As You Age
The positive effects of yoga are endless. Increased strength and flexibility, improved blood flow and heart health, and stress relief are just a few benefits you’ll experience. Another positive effect is maintaining balance as you age. Yoga improves balance and one's overall health which reduces the risk of injury as you age.
Why is Balance and Coordination Important?
Losing balance with age is something many adults experience and is often something considered a normal part of the aging process. Aging affects balance due to reduced muscle mass and loss of musculoskeletal function. It is also impacted by common elderly diseases like diabetes or heart disease and the loss of sensory elements like sight and hearing. These issues can cause dizziness and lead to balance deterioration.
Balance and coordination are crucial for strengthening your posture, reflexes, and neurological connections. Imbalance can cause injuries by increasing the likelihood of falls that can lead to broken bones, lacerations, or bruises. Maintaining strength, flexibility, and balance can reduce the possibility of falls and help you age gracefully.
How Can You Improve Your Balance and Extend Your Life?
Balance is crucial to health at every age. A recent study suggested that the ability to stand on one leg later in life is linked to a longer lifespan. After assessing the results of the 1,702 participants aged 51 to 75, researchers found that an inability to balance on one leg correlated with an 84% higher risk of death, regardless of other health factors such as age, sex, BMI, and pre-existing health conditions.
Balance comes from building connections between your mind and body, driven by two components of your central nervous system: the vestibular system and proprioception. Many exercises activate these two systems, including bodyweight exercises, strength training, and yoga poses, which can help improve balance and mobility. Yoga is gentle on the body and can be done with modifications that can accommodate any level of flexibility or experience.
Balancing poses such as Mountain Pose, Downward Facing Dog, Cobbler’s Pose, Sphinx, and Tree Pose can all help with an increase in balance by increasing core strength and joint flexibility. However, building up strength and coordination takes practice to maintain balancing poses safely. The Root Board Workshop page offers numerous simple ways to prepare your body for balancing poses, such as mindfully activating your feet, warming up your leg muscles and hip joints, and using tools like yoga blocks for stability.
Can Yoga Slow the Aging Process?
Recent research has shown that yoga may even slow the effects of the aging process. Breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga poses have demonstrated positive changes in the levels of specific biomarkers typical in aging, essentially showing that yoga can reverse aging.
There is also evidence that women practicing yoga for at least eight years had enhanced functional brain connectivity compared with those who didn’t practice, ensuring they are aging gracefully.
How to Practice Yoga at Home
At-home yoga is one of the best ways to continue exercising as you age. You can practice in the convenience of your own home with minimal equipment, at your own pace, and when it works for your schedule.
A yoga mat is an inexpensive way to ensure a good grip for your hands and feet to reduce slipping and fall risks. A yoga board, like The Root Board, provides a stable surface if you are practicing on an uneven surface, like carpet and tile.
Help Improve Balance with Yoga and The Root Board
A yoga platform from the Root Board is an excellent way to assist in practicing standing poses to improve balance in all yogis. With help from The Root Board, you can experience the benefits of yoga for balance and all the positive benefits that come along with it. The Root Board was created with love and a passion for the yoga community, with a belief in the path to peace, health, and longevity that yoga facilitates. Use Root Board’s yoga boards to create a better at-home yoga experience and improve balance.