When you hear the word “fitness,” you probably think of lifting weights and cardio workouts, but fitness can also extend to the mind and spirit as well. Those are the often-neglected areas where we can and should build mental and emotional strength. This is where restorative yoga provides benefits.

Restorative yoga involves five or six easy-to-hold poses, supported by cushions, props, blankets and pillows. Each gentle stretch is held without strain or pain for 10-20 seconds. Participants may want to go into a darkened room, with music playing in the background, so they can be relaxed, rested, and focus on the rhythm of their breathing.

The idea is to eliminate the thoughts and anxieties of daily life and concentrate in the present moment. Muscles will relax deeply as the mind and body slow down.

It sounds easy, but try to sit quietly in a comfortable chair, clear your mind and focus only on how you draw in your next breath. Then let it out for just a few moments while keeping all other thoughts at bay. You’ll find it takes practice and patience.

What are the Benefits?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we could all use some help switching off the negative news that surrounds us. Yoga can help because it benefits the parasympathetic nervous system, which works to restore calm after we are stressed. Yoga allows us to rest and repair ourselves mentally and physically.

It is a well-established fact that stress, aside from the emotional distress it causes, has detrimental effects on the body that include:

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension
  • Low energy
  • Aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections

Long-term stress can result in depression and anxiety, reduce focus, and negatively impact judgement and the ability to organize and concentrate on tasks. It may also contribute to serious health issues like cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, and gastrointestinal problems, as well as the worsening of many other physical challenges.

To Learn More About Restorative Yoga

There are video previews of online restorative yoga classes at Yoga Download to give you an idea of the poses and equipment used in this form of yoga.

Even though restorative yoga is an extremely gentle form of yoga, seniors or family members should consult with the senior’s physician before taking classes or experimenting with poses.

Mind Plus Body

Of course, the other aspect of fitness is physical health. Rehabilitation and therapy services for senior adults enable them to deal with the effects of aging, recover from injuries and surgeries, and restore physical function and self-reliance.

At Bethesda, a team of professionals, which includes physical, occupational, and speech therapists, and other health and social services professionals can help with flexibility, increased strength, reduced pain, build endurance, improved speech, and enhanced confidence.

At Bethesda communities, therapy is available for the physical challenges that senior adults often face. They include:

  • Fall prevention and recovery
  • Improvement in strength, balance and walking ability
  • Exercise and therapy to slow bone density loss
  • Rehab after surgery
  • Cardiac rehab

To learn more about additional recovery services, visit our Rehab & Therapy page, or contact us today.