Being women over 40 does not mean to be pessimistic, resigned, and sick. You still have to exercise. Maintaining a regular yoga practice can provide physical and mental health benefits. Besides, you can maintain balance and build strength through low-impact movements that flow. Try these yoga poses for women over 40.
Advanced age is not a reason to abandon your exercise routine. For the elderly with limited ability to move, moderate exercise such as yoga is very beneficial for the health of the body and can refresh the soul and mind. Also, you can perform yoga anywhere without the need for special equipment.
Be sure to practice yoga with a competent instructor. It is to reduce the risk of injury. Invite friends or family members to be more excited.
The type of yoga that is appropriate for women over 40
Generally, women over 40 can do yoga safely. But, there are a few things to note. You should really understand your body conditions and needs.
For example, if you suffer from arthritis, limited mobility or other health conditions. There are modifications for every yoga poses. It is to accommodate the physical needs of each individual.
The type of yoga that fits you depends on several things. It depends on fitness level, as well as physical ability. Are you about to exercise for the first time (after so long)? Or have you lost muscle shape and flexibility? If your answer is yes, then you may want to practice Hatha yoga.
Yoga is an exercise that combines breathing, body poses, and meditation. Yoga has various types of movements that you can do. There are so many schools of yoga that exist in the world. They have different styles and different benefits for the human body, soul, and mind.
There are many yoga styles. In the beginning, there was only Hatha, Raja yoga. But after it developed, there were Ashtanga Vinyasa, Kundalini, Iyengar, and Power Yoga. The type of movement also varies, according to the style of yoga that you pursue.
Yoga for body and mind fitness
Out of the many yoga styles available, which one is the most suitable for beginners?
Hatha yoga and Iyengar yoga are good for beginners. This type of yoga will introduce all the basic postures and movements to you. You can also adjust the tempo according to your needs and abilities.
Hatha yoga has more mindful, calmer movements, longer breathing. The Hatha word comes from Ha, and Tha, day and night. So it is for balancing. All the exercises are not focused on one thing, but really to get harmony throughout the body.
After you master Hatha yoga well, then you can proceed to other yoga classes that are more specific. The duration of your ability to learn yoga also varies. Some are fast, but some are slow. It all depends on the level of flexibility of the body and mind of each person. Are you ready to try your first yoga class?
If you can not find a special yoga class for older women, you can choose a beginner class. Besides Hatha, Iyengar yoga is also good for women over 40 to the emphasis on posture through the use of props. Another option is Viniyoga and Kripalu yoga.
Also, there are yoga movements adapted to the physical condition. This type of yoga is not forcing the body to perform certain poses.
For example in yoga that uses a bench (chair yoga). The participants do all poses with the support of the chair. It is making the poses suitable for the elderly with limited mobility. There is also a water yoga which makes the body feel light and can move more easily.
The benefits of yoga for women over 40
If done regularly, these are some of the benefits of yoga:
1. release tension with abdominal breathing
Abdominal breathing is a basic yoga breath that all beginners should start with. This technique gets you to breathe deeply to create an abdominal movement.
How to do:
Lie on your back with one or both hands on your abdomen. Breath slowly and deeply, drawing air into the lowest part of your lungs. Once you can do this breath lying down, you can give it a try while sitting or standing. Try this technique anytime you want to calm down.
2. promote flexibility
To increase flexibility in yoga practice, breathing exercises are very necessary. Breathing deeply and slowly will make the body relax. So it will be easier to do positions that need flexibility. Synchronizing the breath in and out will make it easier to reach flexibility.
You may want to try Yin Yoga, which maintains the position for a longer period, which is 5-20 minutes. This static posture provides more flexibility. Muscle tension will be released by itself. Yin yoga exercises are beneficial to get flexibility.
A diet containing “alkaline” foods increases muscle flexibility. Eat more green vegetables, herbal tea, nuts, seeds, and ginger.
3. improve balance
Yoga movements are quite unique and rarely found in other types of exercise. Unique movements in yoga can help train your body balance.
4. lower the need for diabetes medications by as much as 40%
Practicing yoga sitting for 10 minutes can have a good effect on
- the stability of blood glucose levels,
- heart rate, and
- diastolic blood pressure.
This study looks specifically at how the benefits of yoga for diabetes. This is only a small scope of research. It shows that doing yoga can increase the effectiveness of your diabetes medical treatment.
5. increase your immunity by raising levels of disease-fighting antioxidants in your body
Fahri Saatcioglu is a researcher of the University of Oslo, He said, “In previous studies, Yoga can relax the body and create new proteins or RNA. The other advantage is increasing the body’s immune system “.
In further research, the Norwegian researchers took two steps. It is to compare the effectiveness of Yoga in enhancing the body’s immune system. The first experiment involving 10 participants at the research center in Germany.
The participants doing yoga for 2 hours a day in 2 consecutive days. Participants switched to doing an hour of walking then listening to classical jazz.
The researchers analyzed the cells of the participants with a focus on their immune system. The nature walk and music-driven relaxation changed the expression of 38 genes. The genes were in the circulating immune cells. In comparison, the yoga produced changes in 111.
Based on the results of the study, both exercises are indeed good for the body especially in enhancing the immune system. But, if you want a higher level of immunity it is better to do yoga on a routine basis.
6. reduce depression
Yoga is an effective exercise to calm the body, soul, and mind. Yoga unites them holistically. Thus, you are more introspective to your surroundings. Yoga is also believed to be effective for controlling depression.
A study conducted in the Netherlands. It found that yoga exercises are beneficial to reduce symptoms of chronic depression.
Yoga is also known to make you happy. Practicing yoga releases all negative energy. It is diverting bad perceptions that you cannot control. A soothing yoga motion will improve a confused mind and change one’s mood to be more positive.
7. improve PTSD symptoms
Post-traumatic stress disorder, aka PTSD, occurs when a person has severe trauma. It is related to his past. It can trigger severe stress, depression, and other mental disorders.
PTSD symptoms can recur when a person confronts a certain trigger. For example when he remembers his past.
You can control PTSD symptoms by doing yoga exercises. Yoga makes the mind calmer. It brings out one’s potential and makes people brave against trauma.
A study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress. It found that yoga improved the lives of women with PTSD. They took 12 sessions covering asanas and breathing techniques. This therapy can help you learn how to control and calm yourself when under great pressure. Regular yoga exercises can also cure drug or alcohol addiction.
8. back pain relief
People with back pain who did two 90-minute sessions of yoga a week for 24 weeks experienced a 56% reduction in pain. They also had less depression than patients who receive standard care, such as pain medication.
The researchers followed up six months after the study. 68% of the people in the yoga group were still practicing yoga. They practiced for an average of three days a week. That’s an indicator that they found yoga to be helpful.
9. Increase confidence by improving the posture
Ideal posture is when
- your back is really straight,
- chest open,
- chin facing up,
- shoulders relaxed and straight, and
- stomach flat
Basically, you are in the correct body position when your body is in a straight line.
With regular yoga practice, your body will be stretched and strengthened. So, your spine will straighten up, your shoulders erect, belly slim, and chest open. You will feel the change.
10. Less arthritis pain
Yoga helps ease the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis. The symptoms can make it difficult to be active. Yoga offers a gentle form of exercise. It helps improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around painful joints. Practicing yoga helps elderly people with arthritis expand their range of motion.
Various yoga practices are able to improve self-confidence. So that the elderly will be free from anxiety disorders and depression.
11. Improve executive functioning of the brain and emotional resilience
There was a 2017 publication in the medical journal “International Psychogeriatrics“. It was research on the older adult participants (over 55 years). They were suffering from mild cognitive impairment.
They were then divided into two groups. They spent 24 weeks practicing to either Kundalini yoga or memory enhancement training. As a result, both groups showed memory improvement.
But, only the group that did Kundalini yoga showed an increase in the executive functions of the brain. Only the Kundalini yoga group showed significant improvement in depressive symptoms and resilience at week 12. Singing in Kundalini also strengthen the verbal and visual abilities of the older participant.
12. Decrease the risk of falls
To get optimal benefits, you need to implement the following guidelines:
The health condition of women over 40 is different from those of younger. You need to do some preparations before you undergo a routine exercise. It is to reduce the risk of injury or other health problems associated with limited gestures.
- Consider your health problem. Older people usually have problems with bones, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or arthritis. Begin yoga with a light movement devoted to the older to form the basis of precise positioning.
- Everyone can do yoga, but it would be better if you have experienced yoga instructors. A yoga instructor can help you do yoga based on the condition of your health.
- Get to know your body’s ability and do not do excessive yoga movement. Avoid movements that increase the risk of a sprain or even injury.
Variety of movements and poses of yoga for the women over 40
Yoga for older women is generally simpler. You can do it while sitting or lying down. Here are some examples:
1. Mountain Pose
Improve executive functioning of the brain and emotional resilience
Stand with your feet touching the entire surface of the base. Hold your stomach in while keeping your shoulders and backs to remain relaxed. Inhale as much as 5-8 times, then breathe out through your nose.
2. Tree Pose
Stand up straight, then lift one of your legs toward the inner thigh. Keep the same height as the knee. Raise both your hands in a folded position, and breathe as much as 5-8 times.
You can use tools such as chairs when not able to stand for long periods. This pose is great to train balance and concentration.
3. Triangle Pose
This yoga movement is useful for maintaining the flexibility of your waist. Stand with your feet wide and feet facing forward.
Tilt your body to the left with your left hand to touch the underside of the knee. Raise your right hand up straight to the top. Repeat on the right-hand side of the body.
4. Butterfly/Cobbler Pose
The butterfly yoga pose is beneficial for flexing thighs and knees muscle. It also improves your digestive system. Sit with an upright body position, then unite your feet while you open your knees to the side. Put your hands on both legs. Hold this position for a few seconds.
5. Bird dog
Begin by resting on both of your knees. Raise and straighten your right arm forward while straightening your left leg behind. Hold your stomach inward.
Do it for a few seconds, then repeat with your left hand and straighten your right leg. Repeat this pose for 5 times. This position is useful for strengthening the abdominal muscles and back muscles.
6. Downward facing dog
This is the best yoga pose to maintain the flexibility and strength of joints. Start by resting on your hands and knees while straightening your toes forward. Then, lift your waist and back up until your body forms a triangle. Hold for 5-8 breaths, then lower your body slowly. Repeat 2 times.
After doing a series of yoga poses for the older-women, end with relaxation while lying down. Inhale-exhale slowly and allow your muscles to relax again. Do the whole movement in the right way so that your body can get the benefit.
If you do this yoga pose routinely, it will provide a myriad of health benefits for you. You can enjoy your old age without having to experience muscle pain and stiffness.
Exercising yoga is basically breathing and stretching the body. By practicing yoga, you can train yourselves to always be calm and happy in whatever your age.
Do not let old age gnaw your passion for exercise. Try to stay active, one of which is with yoga. It has a lot of benefits for your health.
So, are you ready to practice yoga?
11 Car Yoga Exercises for a Restorative Road Trip
A road trip can recharge your soul, but all those sedentary hours in a car can wear on your body, especially if you’re the driver. Fortunately, there’s a way to treat your body and be more mindful to help reduce the feelings of stagnation that come with being on the road — car yoga.
You may want to learn more about how to do the car yoga here.