Chair Yoga Health Benefits – Low-Impact Yoga for Back Pain Relief

woman-sitting-on-chair-doing-yoga

When you thing about yoga, you probably imagine fit people who can bend into all sorts of shapes that you can’t possibly picture yourself doing. You’d be surprised to learn that there are many ways of embracing the yoga revolution, and chair yoga is probably the easiest of them.

With chair yoga, not only do you get to practice yoga at home or at the office, but the best thing about it is that you don’t have to get up from your chair to do it. Ideal for those who are stranded at the office for hours on end, chair yoga is also an excellent solution for those with disabilities and elderly people.

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Kara DeFrias/Flickr

Benefits of Practicing Chair Yoga

Many people see chair yoga as an age-specific practice, but the truth is that anyone with back problems would benefit from chair yoga sequences. Individuals who spend most their time tied to a desk, traveling by car, or in meetings are bound to experience back pain at one point, and this kind of low-impact yoga is an excellent option for those who haven’t tried any other form of yoga before. Below are five of the most important benefits of chair yoga:

Improves Flexibility

Individuals with mobility issues may often have trouble with tasks that require a certain grade of flexibility, such as picking things up or tying their shoe laces. Chair yoga can be of help in this situation, as it improves flexibility in a short period of time.

Improves Body Strength

By practicing chair or wheelchair yoga regularly, elderly individuals will be able to remain independent for a longer time, as they will be able to continue to complete their daily activities and hobbies. A strong body is also important for the elderly as they are more prone to falls, and being strong can help them sustain injuries better and recover quicker.

Reduces Stress

Many people who live with chronic pain have to cope with feelings of isolation and they may experience a lot of daily stress. Chair yoga can help them become more relaxed and calmer, which in turn leads to an overall feeling of happiness. Moreover, chair yoga for the elderly contributes to improving mental clarity in seniors.

Enhances Proprioception

The skill of knowing where your body is in space, proprioception allows you to coordinate your movements accurately. This is particularly important for the elderly, as it allows them to coordinate their bodies better and have better control of the movements, which prevents falls

Offers Opportunities to Socialize

Like all other kinds of yoga, seated yoga is an excellent way to make new friends, as joining classes gives those with low mobility issues a venue to meet new people. Moreover, practicing chair yoga with an instructor can be beneficial in other ways, as they can help you choose appropriate exercises for your condition.

Chair Yoga Relieves Osteoarthritis Pain

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, chair yoga is actually effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain. The most common for of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects more than 26 million people in the United States and is more common in seniors, with more than 33 percent of those over 65 years old being affected.

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Vincent Gallegos/Flickr

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease and its main symptoms include stiffness, swelling, and pain. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but research indicates that exercise is effective for reducing pain. As seniors often have difficulty remaining active after the age of 65, when muscle strength and balance decline, chair yoga is an excellent alternative to dull-body physical activity.

The study conducted by a team of researches led by Juyoung Park, Ph.D., and Dr. Ruth McCaffrey, showed that from 131 elderly individuals who took part in chair yoga reported a significant reduction in pain during the program and 3 months after the program ended.

Chair Yoga Reduces Insomnia and Constipation

Individuals who practice chair yoga report that they sleep better at night after just one to three months of weekly classes, regardless of age. Moreover, seniors who experience constipation benefit from chair yoga sequences tremendously, as they notice that they have more regular bowel movements without any kind of medication.

Whether you experience back pain or other health issues, chair yoga can provide you much-needed relief. Often available in senior centers and adult day care centers, a seated yoga routine can also improve your breathing and help you feel more relaxed. You can also practice it at home, and learn poses and sequences from YouTube videos or printable chair yoga routines.

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