Are you looking for some simple ways to help you feel better overall? Yoga and meditation are activities virtually anyone can participate in, regardless of age, strength, or flexibility. Here are the whys and hows for seniors and caregivers, and especially for those fighting diabetes.
The ancient practices of yoga and meditation can be beneficial to your well-being. Livestrong points out yoga appears to improve both the quality and duration of sleep, lower stress levels, and reduce chronic aches and pains. Those who participate in yoga can enhance their flexibility, strength, and range of motion while also lowering blood pressure levels. Meditation also is a healthful pursuit; some studies indicate that regular meditation can help lower your risk for heart disease, boost immunity, improve your perspective, and reduce stress and anxiety. You might even be able to reverse some of the effects of aging in the brain.
The Culprit Cortisol
Cortisol is a hormone our bodies release in stressful situations. While it’s part of our natural defense and kicks in for “fight or flight,” releasing cortisol continually due to chronic stress is bad for us. For instance, high cortisol levels can increase the amount of blood sugar in our bodies. People with diabetes don’t produce insulin properly, which makes blood sugar levels tough to control. By engaging in yoga and meditation, you can reduce stress levels and make a positive impact on managing the disease. Yoga can also be a terrific strength-building exercise program, which is also a plus for diabetics. As EndocrineWeb explains, having more muscle means using more blood sugar continually and more effectively managing blood sugar levels.
An Appropriate Area
One of the great things about yoga and meditation is that you don’t need to go to a spa or have an elaborate gym to participate. You can easily create a meditation space in your home with a few simple steps. Choose a quiet area free of distractions and that ideally offers a calming window view of nature. Also, select lighting you find soothing — your space should be settling and relaxing to you. Some people prefer bright light in an open space, while others like coziness and candlelight. Set up a place to sit on a mat, pillow, or rug, and clear the area of clutter.
Reciprocal in Nature
There are many misunderstandings about yoga and meditation. While there are peaceful and spiritual components in participating, you don’t need to change your personal beliefs to engage either practice. Yoga and meditation are linked activities, with yoga helping you relax and settle your mind and body so you can focus on meditation. At the same time, you can perform yoga poses without meditation, and you can meditate from nearly any location without specific poses, making it a handy tool for stressful events.
Yoga for Beginners
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re new to yoga. With any new exercise program, it’s wise to check in with your doctor before you start. Also, yoga shouldn’t hurt, so think in terms of feeling a stretch in your muscles, but recognize that pain indicates you are going too far. There are a number of poses that are very senior-friendly, and if you have mobility issues, consider a chair yoga program.
How Meditation Works
Meditation can be intimidating, but anybody can do it. When you’re new to meditation, your best strategy is to find one technique you are comfortable with and practice it daily. Meditation requires you to focus on the sensations you are feeling, and you can do so sitting, standing, or lying down. If your mind wanders, it’s okay — just remind yourself to relax and focus.
Getting into yoga and meditation can mean big benefits to those with diabetes. If you’re a senior or caregiver, finding ways to relieve stress and improve your health can mean feeling happier and healthier. Through yoga and meditation, you can enjoy a better overall quality of life.
Kevin Wells of seniordiabetic.com
Article by Kevin Wells, Guest Writer for The Dalai Nala
On an added note - If you want to try an amazing yoga studio located in Milford, NH; I highly recommend Forever Yoga. A great time to check it out is during Small Business Saturday - you can get some amazing package deals during this time.
-Laurie A Gouley