When it comes to overall wellness, few workouts offer the diverse benefits that regular yoga can have. It provides a gentle but effective challenge for muscles and helps reduce stress, making it an ideal addition to anyone’s routine. Plus, it’s become so popular that yoga studios and classes are popping up everywhere.
At Splendido, an all-inclusive community for those age 55 and better in Oro Valley, residents have long enjoyed a variety of yoga classes. Their current class meets weekly and has a devoted following—as does a class offered to employees. “It’s my first time ever taking yoga, and I love the opportunity to do something right here with my coworkers,” says Splendido Lead Concierge Michele Maurer.
Yoga for Every Body
In addition to the weekly traditional yoga class, Splendido also offers residents chair yoga—which offers the same benefits as yoga. “Our class is doable and not too strenuous,” says resident Therese Jezioro. “We have people in their 90s who do chair yoga; it’s something anyone can do.”
Therese has practiced yoga before, and recently returned after a break. “I like that it helps regulate your breathing, and it really helps your balance,” she says. “I’ve already noticed a difference in my flexibility, and that’s after just four or five classes.”
Resident Jacque Montrose has been taking the classes available at Splendido for years. “Most people in the class are concerned about their balance, but my main interest is agility,” she says. “I have a little dog and sometimes he stops dead in front of me, and I need to stop or swerve quickly.”
What the Research Shows
What makes yoga so good for you? When practiced regularly, the unique combination of yoga’s physical exercise and meditative practice seem to unlock a wealth of benefits to the body, brain, and mood. Below are just six of the major outcomes that yoga can lead to, each backed up by multiple scientific studies:
Healthier brain: A UCLA study of people with mild cognitive impairment showed that those who practiced yoga for 12 weeks significantly improved many cognitive skills, including ability to focus and multitask.
Less joint pain: Regular yoga practice has been proven to reduce the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis, as well as improve joint flexibility and strength. In a recent study, participants reported needing less pain medication after just four weeks of yoga classes.
Stronger bones: Yoga is a weight-bearing activity, and multiple studies have shown that it can help slow bone thinning, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Lower blood pressure: Many, many studies have shown this to be true. In one recent example, people who practiced yoga for 11 weeks reduced their systolic blood pressure (the top number) by a whopping 33 points.
Better sleep: Researchers compared an herbal sleep remedy to yoga, and concluded that yoga had the best effect on improving sleep duration and the speed at which participants fell asleep. Sleep specialists believe that yoga works because it addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of insomnia.
More positive mood: The same study mentioned above—bolstered by other research—showed those who practiced yoga improved their mood. It reduces stress and improves your sense of well-being.
Jacque adds one more benefit: “I enjoy the sociability of the class,” she says. “We have a lot of fun.”