Yoga and soft martial arts
Getting older does not have to mean that your days of fitness and vitality are over. Fortunately, many seniors today realise this fact and are taking steps to ensure that their golden years are meaningful and healthful. In this regard, many of them are turning to Yoga and the soft martial arts such as tai chi and sun do to provide them with the strength, flexibility and overall sense of well being they deserve.
Yoga is a type of exercise rooted in Eastern philosophy that emphasises mind/body coordination through deep breathing, movements and sound. In the western world, Yoga has taken on extreme significance among the elderly, who are looking for ways to keep their minds and bodies fit and active. The weight-bearing postures of Yoga target all muscle groups, helping to dissolve fat, improve muscle and bone mass and retain calcium in the bones. This is extremely important for older people whose bones are often weak and fragile.
Yoga stretches improve flexibility necessary for everyday functioning and for preventing falls. Deep breathing expands the lungs, improving respiration, circulation and energy. Yoga stresses proper posture which contributes to improved balance and confidence to engage in walking and other pleasurable activities without the risk of falls. Yoga's mind/body approach stimulates the intellect, improving concentration, attention and memory.
Tai chi also has its roots in Eastern philosophy and helps improve strength, flexibility and balance through well coordinated movements. Some people who are frail, have serious joint problems or osteoporosis may not be able to perform some yoga poses, but they can do tai chi which is more gentle and puts less stress on the joints. Tai chi helps reduce stress level, increase energy and vitality. It is a low-impact form of exercise that can be enjoyed by everyone.
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