Reaping the Rewards of the Senior Workout

An old saying in the yoga tradition says that you're as youthful as your spine is supple and flexible. The exercises in this workout increase the strength and suppleness of your spine. It feels great to have a limber spine that's free to move in all directions, but a spine that moves with ease is important for safety reasons, too. For example, you'll be able to sit on the floor and get up without assistance, and you'll feel more youthful so you can do the physical activities that you really love.

The exercises in this workout also increase bone density. An excessive loss of bone density in the process of aging leaves your bones weakened and susceptible to fracturing and breaking. However, we have good news: Bone is living tissue, so it's in a constant state of regeneration. In a yoga-with-weights workout, your muscles have to work against the weights you carry, which puts stress on your bones and therefore increases bone density. You increase blood circulation to your muscles as well, which also builds bone density and muscle strength. You focus on keeping your body strong and upright, and you do exercises that are very gentle on your joints and connective tissues.

Along with building up your bone and muscle, the exercises in this chapter improve your coordination. Maintaining good coordination reduces your risk of falling and allows you to be more confident and sure of yourself.

People of all ages feel the natural urge to skip a workout now and then. In the case of seniors, however, the body needs more rest and repose on certain days, so you need to pay attention to those needs. But as much as you can, try to stay on track and do these exercises every other day. By consistently practicing these yoga-with-weights exercises, by paying attention to your breathing, and by following the meditation practices we describe in this book (see Chapter 6), you discover more physical freedom in your daily movements and in your life. You gain the confidence to be able to move with ease. When you begin to practice the exercises, you'll notice a greater level of mobility and strength. And the exercises help you maintain the strength and mobility that you already have, giving you healthy support for years to come.

Never force yourself or push too hard as you do this workout; use your experience to recognize when you should rest or press forward. The goal is to challenge yourself to do the exercises with a little more intensity and concentration each time you do them.

Yoga Fire

Yoga Fire

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