Example Health & Wellness Content Marketing:
Yoga Blog Article
5 Benefits of Seated Yoga for Seniors in Assisted Living
Yoga, an ancient spiritual practice commonly associated with youthful hippies, has become a leading choice of exercise among the elderly.
In fact, research has found that seniors who reside in assisted living facilities reap multiple health benefits from attending a beginner’s class in chair yoga.
Seniors recuperating from joint replacement; osteoarthritis sufferers; the elderly in independent living: research shows all these populations reap significant health benefits from the practice of seated yoga.
The benefits begin with an increased sense of mastery in balance. They extend far out to issues such as depression mitigation.
Seated Yoga: Definition
Chair yoga, a form of gentle Hatha yoga, allows students who face mobility challenges to do yoga poses, also known as asanas, while seated in a wheelchair or arm chair.
This form of yoga incorporates gentle breathing exercises, known as pranayamas. Pranayamas are designed to help practitioners better move “chi” or energy throughout their bodies.
Chair yoga is yoga that has been modified so that practitioners do not need to lie down on a mat or kneel on a floor cushion.
Chair yoga, also known as seated yoga, assumes students have a limited range of motion or impaired muscle strength. Sitting allows seniors to practice postures without putting undue stress on their wrists, knees and hips.
Is Seated Yoga Safe for Seniors?
Many research studies have shown that chair yoga is a safe and highly effective exercise for seniors.
The one caveat: Not all traditional poses as practiced in standing yoga are suitable for seated yoga. Beginner’s courses should be taught by a certified instructor. (Certified instructors are trained to assist seniors in selecting the poses best suited to the flexibility and range of motion of aging joints and muscles.)
A New Jersey research study of sitting yoga published in 2012 in the International Journal of Yoga followed sixteen elderly residents — women and men with an average age of 88 — who resided in assisted living.
That study, as well as others cited below, uncovered five clear benefits of seated yoga.
Chair Yoga Improves Balance
The New Jersey participants volunteered to attend structured chair yoga classes twice a week for eight weeks.
They hoped to increase their balance and muscle strength while simultaneously reducing their risk and fear of falling.
The poses taught were highly effective at reducing anxieties about falling while also reducing falls and increasing feelings of self-efficacy among the high-risk population studied.
(About half of all seniors over the age of 80 fall annually due to muscle strength issues. Yoga is an excellent fall prevention exercise for everyone as they age.)
Chair Yoga Increases Mobility
The New Jersey assisted living study was designed to see if mobility could be significantly improved in the elderly through yoga.
The study centered on asanas (postures) that benefit the musculoskeletal system. The sitting poses taught were offered in modified form based on gentle hatha yoga poses.
The study found that not only did an 8-week chair yoga regime increase muscle strength and balance among seniors, it reduced participant’s fear of falling.
Moreover, practicing yoga for 8 weeks twice a week also decreased the participants reliance on mobility devices.
Yoga Combats Depression
The New Jersey study also found that seniors who participated in twice weekly chair yoga sessions experienced greater feelings of well-being and efficacy.
A similar mood-lifting effect was found in an Ohio study of one-hundred thirty-five healthy men and women (ages 65-85) who underwent yoga training for seniors. The group practiced traditional standing poses for a six month period.
Future research on chair yoga will likely focus on its specific mood-altering effects.
Mastering a new skill, like yoga, often leads to an increased sense of efficacy.
The socialization aspect of attending a class often lifts mood. Indeed, one of the great benefits of attending a yoga session is the opportunity to meet new friends.
Yoga Benefits and Increases Muscle Strength
The New Jersey study, which studied seniors in assisted living deemed at “high-risk” for falls, found that an 8-week course of chair yoga taught by a certified instructor led to significantly improved muscle strength.
Improvements in muscle strength correlate highly with a decreased risk of falling or losing one’s balance.
Chair Yoga Helps Arthritis Pain
A Florida Atlantic University research study recently found that seated yoga significantly decreases pain from osteoarthritis. It also increases joint flexibility.
The Florida seniors, 131 older adults with osteoarthritis, attended 45-minute seated yoga sessions twice a week for 8 weeks.
The study found that participants who suffered from arthritis in their lower extremities — knee, hip, ankle or foot — all benefited from chair yoga exercises.
Many studies of traditional standing yoga have shown that the practice of yoga can also help seniors achieve the following:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower A1C (for diabetes)
- Increased breathing and respiratory function
- Better sleep
Who Can Take Beginning Yoga?
Beginners are welcome. Participants don’t need to have any previous experience with yoga to begin learning chair yoga.
Nor do you need any special equipment, yoga pants, cushions, incense sticks or mats.
You can attend chair yoga class as you are.
When attending your first session wear loose fitting street clothes. Comfortable garments that do not restrict your range of movement are great.
T-shirts, capri pants, sweat pants, shorts and sneakers abound in most senior yoga classes.
Take a deep breath.
Let’s get started.
Know someone who might benefit from this article or a beginning class in chair yoga? Help them. Share this article!
Carol Bokan, Ph.D., founder of Wise Women VT, is a nationally certified counselor, Kripalu Certified Yoga Teacher, and Certified Lakshmi-Voelker Chair Yoga Instructor. She teaches gentle yoga workshops and conducts wise aging workshops for women in Burlington, Vermont, and the Ft. Myers, FL area.
Health & Wellness Content Marketing:
Yoga Blog Article
CLIENT TYPE >
Start-up Yoga business specializing in on-site yoga delivery at senior centers, retirement communities, senior centers.
CONTENT WRITING CHALLENGE >
Wise Women VT, a yoga start-up, had a limited marketing budget. They needed an anchor piece of educational content to help promote brand trust.
Their clients, largely seniors in care villages or assisted living, wanted to know if yoga was safe for them. They also wanted to be sold on the benefits of yoga given their age and mobility issues.
It’s Only Natural interviewed Dr. Bokan, then researched and drafted the anchor blog article on the left, on the “5 Benefits of Seated Yoga for Seniors.”
The article served as a core client education article. It also helped market the new on-site service to activity directors at residential facilities.
Published online, the blog article gave SEO heft to the company’s new series of senior wellness classes.
WRITING CHALLENGE >
Create an engaging “health benefits” article to help humanize and promote a new chair yoga on-site service for elderly clients and activity directors at retirement communities in Vermont and Florida.
Make yoga, a “hippie” activity, attractive to an age 70-100 demographic with mobility challenges by outlining its research-backed health benefits.
Medical background research, statistics and findings from seven government studies and peer reviewed medical and health journals. National news trends and commentaries quoted from 5-star press agencies such as The Washington Post and the New York Times.
> HEALTH WRITING:
Translation of medical findings into a consumer “health benefits” and “aging wisely” article designed to help promote a new on-site seated yoga service for activity directors and their elderly clients.
SEO Strategy, research, high authority out-bound links, and on-page tagging of text and images. This article was created to compliment and extend the main “healthy aging”website’s organic search results for a new service offering seated yoga within the geo-targeted regions of Vermont and Florida.
Ten out-bound links to high authority external data and trends articles helped lend credibility and organic SEO heft to the overall site for the new yoga service.