As we get older, appearance and healthy habits become less of a concern for many women. While aging is perfectly natural, there’s no reason to neglect self-care. One of the best things you can do is to adopt a regular yoga practice. Here’s why, even if you’re in your 40s, you should start a regular yoga practice:
It keeps you fit and flexible
Yoga helps keep off the weight and improves energy levels. Since it is a highly physical practice, yoga helps improve strength and flexibility. Yoga teacher to the stars Shona Vertue says that an effective yoga practice consists of a mix of strengthening poses and mobility training. One of her clients is David Beckham who is prone to developing muscle strain due to playing sports. Women, who are not particularly active, also have a high likelihood of feeling stiff in their muscles and joints, which doing yoga religiously can undo.
It’s good for the heart
Yoga is not just about the oms and the meditation. Some variations, such as Vinyasa, double as an aerobic workout and yoga has shown great promise in improving cardiovascular health as it can boost circulation and improve heart rate. It can also regulate blood pressure which can prevent or mitigate several heart conditions.
It’s good for the bones
Let’s face it: bone health is a concern among aging women. Although most skeletal problems might not show up in your 40s, it’s better to prevent them early. Columbia University physiatrist Dr. Loren M. Fishman conducted a study on yoga’s benefits in individuals with osteoporosis. He found that after practicing yoga routinely, eleven of his subjects showed an improvement in bone density in the spine compared to participants who did not. Dr. Fishman explained that yoga increases the production of osteocytes, or bone-making cells, which help with gaining significant bone mass, not just along the spine but also in the hips and the limbs.
It helps you stay injury-free
Because of declining bone health or general inactivity, elderly people are more vulnerable to injury. Adults who are just starting to get into exercise might experience various bodily pains other than the run-of-the-mill muscle soreness. Former elite runner Kelly Holmes revealed that even professionals like her have to deal with similar issues. After retiring from competition, the 48-year-old British middle-distance athlete is now focusing on covering longer runs but it is affecting her lower back and putting too much pressure on her lower extremities. To counter this, Holmes, whom Coral notes as one of the most iconic British sportswomen of the century, practices yoga to relieve tension and avoid further damage to her body. Yoga also helps her maintain proper alignment and develop body awareness, something that Holmes has exhibited time and time again.
It sharpens the mind
Since we’ve already mentioned the physical benefits, let’s not forget that meditation is an important element of yoga. As you stand, sit, or lie down on your mat, you are asked to focus on your breath alone and empty the distractions from your mind. This is a handy skill which can help you in the real world to stay calm in a sea of stress and high-pressure situations. It is also one reason many accomplished professional women have credited their success to yoga.
Yoga is a wonderful practice to incorporate into your lifestyle. It keeps you grounded and helps you realize the important things in life such as taking care of your mind and body. If you want to know where to begin, check out our previous post on yoga poses (asana) and their benefits. Remember that it’s never too late to practice yoga because it’s never too late to begin looking out for your wellness!
Aubrey Carmine is a yoga teacher and physical therapist. She started practicing in her teens after being diagnosed with scoliosis. She was then classically trained in India and has been sharing her knowledge in the US for the past decade.